Tomato Plants Growing Very Slowly (Cause And Solution)

Tomato is a popular plant for growing in gardens or pots. Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, produce many fruits and become an indispensable spice in the meals of many families.

However, one of the most searched questions in recent times is whether tomato plants grow very slowly or do not see any growth.

In fact, there are many different causes of poor tomato plant growth such as improper watering, too little or too much, extreme temperatures, poor soil quality and sometimes even tomato varieties that you choose.

So, to find out the real cause of tomato plants growing very slowly as well as the notes in caring for tomato plants, you can refer to the detailed information in the article below.

4 Popular Causes Of Tomato Plants Growing Very Slowly

Tomato plants growing very slowly (Cause and Solution)

As you know, there are many causes of poor tomato plant growth, but there are still some basic and major causes that many gardeners have without knowing. Let me list out the four most common reasons why your tomato plants are not growing well.

1. Improper Watering

Improper watering, too little or too much water will cause your tomato plants to grow poorly at any stage. In particular, in hot and dry areas, many gardeners will tend to water more frequently and cause heavy clay soils that are difficult to drain, causing waterlogged tomato plants.

Most of us know that tomato plants need a lot of water to grow. Their roots can go as deep as 2 feet or more, so they can get water from deep in the ground.

So if you water too much, it will keep the soil moist for too long, leaving no room for air leading to the tomato plant roots being unable to exchange oxygen.

Over time, the roots will be at risk of waterlogging and rot, leading to the destruction of the entire root system of the tomato plant, causing it to slow down and die.

Besides, watering too little for tomato plants will also make them not receive enough water and lead to stunted growth. The water shortage of tomato plants can be overcome in time if you detect some of the following signs:

  • Leaves show signs of wilting, drooping, and not being fertile: This situation will be restored quickly if water is added in time.
  • Yellow leaves: If tomato plants lack water for a long time, yellow leaves will appear because the plants do not absorb enough nutrients from the soil.
  • Dry soil: This condition can happen on a day when the temperature is too high, causing the soil to lose water quickly, causing moisture to also be lost, and causing the tomato plants to wilt slightly.

Therefore, for tomato plants to grow quickly, you need to have a suitable watering regime in each period and season to avoid too much or too little water at a time.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Check the weather forecast for rain in the coming days. If it rains often, you should stop watering and open the soil to drain quickly. If it’s dry, you should water it regularly and control the moisture in the soil.
  • You should water deeply and infrequently rather than watering daily with small amounts. This will stimulate the tomato plant to develop stronger and wider roots. From there, tomato plants will be stronger and have better tolerance to drought.
  • You should water early in the morning so the sunlight will dry the leaves during the day
  • Water the lower part of the tomato plant, avoid letting the leaves get too wet leading to mold disease
  • Instead of using a sprinkler, you should control the amount of water for each plant with tools like a dipper or bucket. Alternatively, you can use a drip irrigation system to ensure that the tomato plants are watered slowly.

Read more: Can I Plant Tomato Seeds Directly In The Ground?

2. Poorly Drained Soil And Insufficient Nutrients

Slow growing tomato plants are also associated with many soil problems such as poor drainage, soil quality, pH or nutrients in the soil. With each problem, you need to have a plan to overcome it soon so that the tomato plants have favorable conditions to develop.

Poorly drained soil: Most clay soils will drain less well than sandy and loamy soils. If the soil is poorly drained, you can mix in some compost or old manure.

Compost will help add some organic matter to the soil and help loosen the soil for better drainage. In addition, compost helps restore some nutrients in the soil and helps plants absorb better.

Alternatively, you can use a shovel, stick, hard object or aerator to plow the soil to create air for the tomato plants to breathe.

One of the other reasons why your tomato plants are slow to grow is due to poor quality soil, not enough nutrients to provide them. If the pH level in the soil is too high or too low, it will also prevent the tomato plants from absorbing nutrients.

The ideal environment for healthy tomato plants is a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. If the pH level in the soil is too low, it means the soil is acidic, so you should add lime calcium carbonate to neutralize the acidity.

If the pH is too high, which means the soil is alkaline, you can add sulfur to neutralize the alkalinity in the soil.

One of the problems many tomato growers face is the presence of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen will stimulate the plant to produce more leaves and reduce the ability to flower and bear fruit.

In addition, if a certain nutrient is too much in the soil, it will also prevent tomato plants from absorbing other nutrients, leading to growth retardation.

If there is too much calcium in the soil, it will be difficult for tomato plants to absorb magnesium and vice versa. So you can add lime to increase calcium and magnesium sulfate to increase magnesium in the soil.

Read more: What To Plant With Tomatoes To Keep Bugs Away

3. Extreme Temperatures

One of the reasons why tomato plants are slow to grow is due to extreme weather conditions. Tomato plants do not tolerate cold well, when the temperature drops below 55 degrees F (13 degrees C), they will have a hard time producing energy to continue growing.

Therefore, the best way to protect tomato plants in the cold season is to keep them warm by covering them with cloth to prevent snow or by covering them with a thin layer of straw.

In addition, you also need to determine the right time to plant the tomato plant or plant it in a pot during the cold period so that it can be moved into a warmer area. Then when the temperature is right, you can plant them in the ground so that the plants grow more smoothly.

In addition, if the temperature reaches 86 degrees F, which is more than 30 degrees C, tomato plants will also have difficulty in flowering and fruiting.

To solve this situation, you can cover the sun with a cloth, a canopy or cover with a thin layer of soil to prevent the evaporation of water under the impact of strong sunlight.

If the weather is too hot, you should make sure to water the plant regularly to replenish the amount of water that quickly evaporates, causing the plant to lack water, leading to wilting and yellowing leaves.

4. The Growth Rate Depends On The Tomato Variety

Tomato plants growing very slowly

If you don’t have any problems with watering, soil quality, or temperature, it’s a good idea to check your tomato cultivar for growth time and size at maturity.

Most tomato plants will stop growing by the time they reach 5 feet. However, there are some varieties of tomato plants that will not grow when they are only 1 to 2 feet tall. So if you find your tomato plants growing slower than usual, check the information about the seeds and their size.

Also, you can check the maturity time of tomato plants. Some tomato varieties take as little as 50 days to mature and flower, but other varieties can take up to 90 days. You should pay attention to look for this information when buying seeds for proper care.


Slow-growing tomato plants can be caused by many different factors such as too much water or too little water, not draining soil causing root rot, too cold or too hot temperature to stop the plant growth or also may depend on the tomato cultivar.

Tomato plants are not too difficult to grow, you just need to note some of the information in this article to be able to take the best care of the plants and enjoy the ripe tomatoes in your garden.

In addition, if you want to learn more about how to care for as well as more detailed information about tomato plants, do not forget to refer to the articles in the tomato plant category.

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