A couple of weeks ago I planted out my tomato plants into containers on
a south facing patio. Now I've noticed one of the plants is wilting. It
seems to recover if moved into shade. It's ok for water.
Anyone an idea what could cause this. I've read about virus's causing
wilting, but usually its describing the symptoms at a later stage in
the plants growth. The plant is only about 30cm tall, and I've used
fresh compost from the garden center, although the cheapest 'compost' I
How wide is the pot at the top, and how tall is it? Is there a dish under
the pot? If YES, is it the kind that's attached with little plastic tabs? If
YES, can you see whether there's standing water in it? Is the soil damp,
moist, or soaked?
It's actually not a pot but a wooden container holding 3 plants, 3ft x
1.5ft approx with a good 15" soil. So there's no dish needed, there are
holes enough. I have other plants in far smaller clay pots and they're
fine. Infact at the moment they are all fine except this one plant. In
previous years I've had the wilting problem with certain plants but
later when the plants have fruit, and it was blossom end rot that was
the problem. Could it be the same virus, but at such an early stage?
This isn't a decisive answer, but I've never had young tomato plants wilt,
and sometimes, when mine are still in six packs or tiny pots before being
moved to their final destinations, they've been horribly abused (forget to
water for a day, etc). They still seem bulletproof. That's why my first
reaction was to question whether yours might be waterlogged.
Other than wilting, any other discolorations or telltale signs of trouble?
No other than wilting it's fine. It really seems to be the sun that's
causing the wilting, since since the sun shade's been over it today
it's recovered. Strange that just the one plant of the three in the
container should wilt. It's meant to be hot the next few days (32C) so
I'll observe for wilting. I thought tomatoes can withstand full sun. Or
do they do better with it filtered? Maybe they have to get hardened to
Being such small plants I'm sure it's not a watering problem. I'm
suspecting this blossom rot virus since I've had it before. Didn't
think it started as soon after planting out as that though. Only other
thing could be that something's eating the roots, though as I say it
was fresh compost.
Hey....you just gave yourself a clue. :-) Did you grow these from seed
yourself, or if they came from a garden center, were they on display
someplace OTHER THAN right in the sun, like in a greenhouse where you might
not have noticed that there was shading material on the glass? If so, then
they might not be hardened off - ready for wind, sun, etc, and need to be
As far as blossom end rot, I am not aware of that affecting the root system
of tomatoes. It affects the fruit.
I grew them from seed. Had them indoors for a while till they grew too
big and then put them in a cold frame. They had to put up with several
cold nights till 2 weeks ago (down to 2 or 3C), though I did cover them
with some fleece. I could see from the leaves that they had suffered
slightly from the cold, but now they all seem to be growing well. Maybe
it's the sudden temperature swing within the last weeks that's causing
the stress, and one of the plants is a wimp.
With the plants that had blossom end rot, I'm sure they were wilting
too. I seem to remember that the growing tips of a few of them just
shriveled up. Maybe they had blossom end rot and some other virus in
Well, without doing some reading (which you can do), I have idea whether the
organism that causes blossom end rot can cause symptoms even when there are
no blossoms. Just cover all your bases. Do a soil test, maybe shade that
plant for another week, slap it around a little if you think it's just being
I'm not sure that blossom end rot is a function of a tomato virus. My own
experience is that it is a symptom of unequal watering - too wet alternating
with too dry. Some people have also said that it's a symptom of inadequate
calcium uptake - and recommend adding some form of calcium to the soil. In
any case, I don't think it's related to whatever's causing your small plant
to wilt. The wilting problem sounds more like inadequate root system to
take in enough water to keep up with the transpiration needed in the extreme
heat you are experiencing. Even some well-established plants have trouble in
the heat of the day. I have some foxglove that wilt every day during the
midday hours when they are in direct sun. The rest of the day they are in
partial to heavy shade and they perk up immediately.
I got the same problem with a few of my plants. I have them in 8-10 " pots.
It is supposed to be raining a lot today. Should I have taken them in?
Also, is a cage necessary for cherry tomatoes? My plants are about 20" tall
now but no flowers or anything. Should I worry? Someone told me its because
I need to pollinate them with another plant?
Assuming you're not talking thunderstorms, which might break the young
stems, leave them out. Just make sure they DO NOT have dishes/trays under
them. The water needs to drain out.
Yes, you need cages, unless you are absolutely positive you bought some sort
of dwarf variety. Stakes sometimes work, but most self-respecting tomato
plants become elephants, and need more support than they'll get from a
stake. By Saturday or Sunday, I'll post pictures of some cages that are very
easy to make. The ones you buy in the store are almost useless, although
better than nothing.
By the way, your pots are too small. Many varieties of cherry tomatoes grow
just as large as any other tomato plant. The weight of the vegetation will
make the whole thing top heavy. You want pots that are at least 16-18" tall,
and equally wide. The root system is one reason, and the other is that if
you're away from home during the day, or longer, larger pots will stay moist
Right now, go out, buy bigger pots, lots of nice potting soil, and repot
them TODAY. Sooner than you think, the plants will be monsters, and harder
That's silly. The "somebody" is silly, too. The plants will have flowers
soon. Tell your "somebody" friend to go pollinate with a lizard or
I agree most look too small for my hands or too little support for the
plant. These is the only cages I ever bought and they are great. They
are too expensive but they last. This is my third year with them and
they show no signs of problems. They aren't rusting. I did find them
cheaper somewhere else last year and bought another set. I may buy a
third set this year.
I have no problem letting tomatoes plants grow wild in these cages.
Last years biggest plant was about 12' high. Stacked cages are strong,
although I always anchor them before windy september storms come. I
also used this to support spaghetti squash(grown vertically-not a
problem), cucumbers, & green beans.
I used two towers of these, one with a grape tomato the other
cucumbers and later green beans. The cucumbers only filled the first
cage. The green beans grew up the side of the cucumber cage then wound
round the top cage. The tomato filled both cages. I strung cheap
bamboo between the two and built support for shorter beans.
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound
3rd year gardener
If you have a very wet season you might want to do that, or fierce
winds--since it si young still. But protecting plants too much form
wind and elements makes them weak. That's why indoor seedlings have to
be hardened before set outside.
I've never done tomatoes is less than 12x12x12" pots. I think Tomatoes
will grow to whatever size root zone your provide. SO the smaller pot
will limit the size /crop. Also the smaller the pot the more it needs
watering and the hotter the root zone becomes. All tomatoes need
stakes or cages. You can make them or buy them. Staked tomatoes
usually need more pinching of the additional vines. With a good cage
you just let the plant do its thing and train the vine into the cage.
Only towards end of season do I pinch out the extras to focus
attention on the remaining fruits.
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound
3rd year gardener
In article south email@example.com says...
Menards has/(had) those 20 gallon plastic utility tubs for sale for $3
each. Just drill holes in the bottom and you have a planter. They
aren't the best looking planters (don't put them in front of your house
:-) but if you can hide them they're big enough to grow full size tomato
Pictures of the tomato cages have been posted at this link:
The only step I didn't complete was cutting holes to reach into the cage.
Make holes at various levels, including near the ground so you can pick up
fallen fruit. And, when you cut the holes, tie some bright colored ribbon
near each one or it'll be tough to spot the openings in all the vegetation.
I've never had any kind of animal damage using these cages, and I have at
least a million lawn rats living around my house. Hint: When you install the
cages, rotate them hard against the soil until they dig their way down an
inch or two. Or, use your trowel to dig a bit of a trench. Then, when you
fasten the cage to the posts, be sure to make the wire ties very snug.
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