Do Tomato Flowers Die Before Fruiting?

When a gardener is planting a new crop of tomatoes, they’re usually confident that the bulk of the harvest will grow the way it’s supposed to. However, depending on factors outside the gardener’s control, this may not always happen, and some plants may not make it. So, do tomato flowers die before fruiting?

Tomato flowers can die before fruiting. This phenomenon, known as “blossom drop,” can happen for several reasons, most of which are natural, and may leave tomato plants with very little fruit.

This article will delve deeper into the possible reasons that tomato plant flowers are dying before they can yield any fruit. It’ll also provide some tips that can be utilized to minimize the possibility of blossom drop occurring, and how to ensure a harvest will yield as much fruit as it possibly can.

Tomato Varieties Most Likely To Die Before Fruiting

Dozens of different tomato types can be grown in a garden. Upon first glance, it may be challenging to decipher which ones are more likely to experience blossom drop than others.

Although flowers withering and dying could potentially happen to any tomato plant, some will be less affected by the outside influences that cause blossom drop than others. 

For the most part, the newer, hybrid versions of tomatoes will be able to withstand more than heirloom tomatoes. Many hybrid varieties were developed to handle the elements better, so their flowers are more likely to fruit despite extreme conditions.

Because heirloom tomatoes haven’t been modified like hybrid cultivars, they won’t have the added ability to hold up against outside factors. Unfortunately, this makes them more susceptible to their flowers dying before fruiting.

What Causes Blossom Drop?

Several external factors could potentially cause tomato flowers to die before production, and it’s more common than you might realize. So, what causes blossom drop?

Blossom drop occurs due to fluctuating temperatures, infestations or diseases, overfertilization, or an overabundance of fruit. Although the causes of blossom drop ranges from environmental problems to artificial ones, several aspects have the potential to make blossom drop occur.

Let’s go over each of these causes below.

High Temperatures

The most likely culprit for tomatoes to lose their flowers prematurely is the weather being too warm for too long. A few different problems can arise for tomato flowers should the outdoor temperature become overly hot. 

Although it’s beneficial for tomato plants to get a lot of sunshine their flowers are more likely to die if they’re exposed to too much continuous heat. If the outside temperature stays above 85℉ (29.4℃) for too many consecutive days, blossom drop can occur, which means that the plants won’t produce nearly as much fruit.

This type of weather may also affect the insects that help pollinate the tomato plants. Bees, butterflies, and other bugs are less likely to be out and flying around when it’s too hot outside.

In some climates, high temperatures can also bring humidity, which causes different problems for the pollen inside tomato plants. If the air becomes too hot and wet, the pollen in the tomato flowers can take on a sticky consistency.

The problem with sticky pollen is that it’s more difficult for the plant to release into the air. If the flowers can’t release the pollen, they’re more likely to drop without ever growing fruit. Therefore, hot weather can cause massive problems for tomato plant flowers dying early. 

Low Temperatures

On the other side of the spectrum, if the temperature drops considerably, staying on the cooler side for days at a time, it will cause tomato flowers to die.

This is particularly an issue during the nighttime when the swaun isn’t shining. Additionally, there’s a higher possibility of flowers dying if tomatoes are planted too early or late in the season.

The longer the weather is too cold or hot, the more serious the blossom drop problem can become. The plant will continue to lose flowers without yielding any fruit until the temperatures are balanced again.

Infestations and Diseases

Just like any other plant grown in a garden, tomato plants can be subject to the adverse effects of natural infestation and disease outbreaks. These disasters can cause tomato flowers to die before they’re finished growing.

Every once in a while, an area may experience a pest infestation that majorly harms the fruit and vegetables growing there. If this is the case in an area with tomato plants, the plant could likely be affected enough that the flowers die before they’re finished growing.

Blossom drop is also likely to occur if disease spreads throughout a garden. Funguses, mold, and other bacterial blights can quickly take over a tomato plant and kill off any flowers attempting to grow.

Too Much Fertilization

Sometimes tomato flowers die off before fruiting due to human error rather than natural causes. The main reason for this happening, in this case, is the overfertilization of the tomato plants. 

This can be a problem if the fertilizer used to feed the plants is nitrogen-based. Because it’s not made of natural ingredients, too much of it could overpower the flowers and cause them to drop early. 

Choosing a fertilizer made of natural ingredients, like manure, can help with this issue. Even if a bit too much is added to the plants, it won’t harm them the way a synthetic fertilizer like nitrogen could.

An Overabundance of Fruit

There’s one possible positive reason that tomato flowers may die before producing fruit, and that’s when the plant is doing so well that it’s growing too much and can’t handle all of the tomatoes it’s producing. 

Each plant only has so much energy to use every day to yield fruit, and if it tries to use too much, it won’t be sustainable. Therefore, some of the flowers may fall off to save energy for the tomatoes that are farther along in the growing process.

The good news is that this will typically only last a short period at the beginning of the harvest. Once that initial growth spurt has subsided, the plant should be able to even out its energy usage, and it’ll begin growing tomatoes out of all the flowers it produces. 

Tips To Help Prevent Blossom Drop

Although there’s no one foolproof method of preventing blossom drop, there are a few tips to try that may help keep tomato flowers from dying before they produce any fruit. These tips include the following:

  • Choose tomato varieties that are best suited for the climate they’ll be grown in. Early-maturing tomatoes will be the best option for a generally cooler area, and heat-set tomatoes are a good choice for a warmer area. Heat-tolerant tomatoes will be ideal for an area that consistently has hot weather day and night. 
  • If they’re not being grown in a hotter climate, don’t plant tomatoes too early in the spring. This will help avoid the nighttime temperatures that can go below 55℉ (12.78℃). 
  • If the tomatoes will be grown in a hotter climate, place a piece of filtering fabric over the plants during the hottest part of the afternoon. They’ll still grow just fine with a bit of shade, and doing this can prevent blossom drop and help increase the size of the tomatoes and the yield of the harvest. 
  • Keep the patch of earth where the tomato plants grow freshly weeded and mulched. This will help the soil stay moist, which will benefit the plants
  • If there’s a lack of insects or wind in the area where the plants are being grown, gently shake the tomato flowers. This helps to get the pollen moving by helping spread the seeds.
  • Be sure to keep the tomato plants regularly watered. Watering deeply to get the lowest roots will significantly decrease the possibility of the flowers dying, as shallow watering can stress and weaken the plants. 

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, many of the possible factors that cause tomato flowers to die before fruiting are weather and other natural causes that cannot necessarily be prevented. 

However, following the tips provided may help lessen the blow and keep more tomato plants producing strong and healthy fruit. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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