Do Tomato Plants Need a Lot of Water: The answer might surprise you!

Do Tomato Plants Need a Lot of Water
Do Tomato Plants Need a Lot of Water

Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetable plants grown in home gardens all over the world. They not only add a fresh and juicy flavor to your meals but are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

But the question is, do tomato plants need a lot of water to thrive? Generally, tomato plants grow well in well-drained places that receive full sun most of the day, with a slightly acidic soil pH between 6.2 to 6.8 (Source: University of New Hampshire) And typically, excess nitrogen can result in plants with leafy, vigorous foliage with small fruit production.

While it is essential to provide enough water to keep your tomato plants hydrated, watering them excessively can lead to root rot, which can stunt or even kill your plants. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about properly watering tomato plants so you can grow healthy and juicy tomatoes that everyone will love. I wrote a whole article if you wonder how to germinate tomatoes quickly.

Tomato Plants Growth Characteristics

The table below contains the major characteristics of tomato plants’ growth.

Genus name Solanum lycopersicum
Common name– Tomato
– Tomatoes
– Love Apple
– Pomme d’Amour
Plant type– Herbaceous Perennial
– Vegetable
– Warm Season Vegetable
Mature size Height: 1 to 10 feet (0.3 to 3 meters)
Width: 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.22 meters)
Growth RateRapid
Soil DrainageTomato plants thrive in well-drained sites that receive full sun most of the day.
Sun exposure Tomato grows well in full sun with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
Best soil texture for tomato– Clay
– Sand
– High Organic Matter
– Loam (Silt)
Tomato Plant Flower Colour Gold/Yellow
Flower Bloom Time– Fall
– Summer
Maintenance requirements – Medium
– High
Soil pHTomato plants grow well in slightly acidic (pH between 6.2 to 6.8)
Temperature requirements Tomato plants prefer temperatures between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 to 23.89 degrees Celsius)
Diseases and pests– Stink bugs
– Colorado potato beetle
– Cutworms
– Slugs
– Tomato hornworms
– Red spider mites
– Tobacco hornworms
– Aphids
– Tomato fruit worms
– Cabbage looper
– Flea beetles
– Whiteflies
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone2 to 11
Region Of OriginPeru
Table Displays Tomatoes Plant’s Characteristics (Source: NC State University)

How Much Water Do Tomato Plants Need?

While it may be tempting to drown your tomato plants in water, the truth is they don’t require as much as you may think. In general, tomato plants need 1 to 1.5 inches (2.54 to 3.81 cm) of water per week. But keep in mind that this can vary depending on the weather conditions, the size of the plants, and the soil they’re growing in.

To tell if your plants are getting enough water, stick your finger a few inches deep into the soil around the base of your plants. If it feels dry, it’s time to give them a good drink.

When to Water Tomato Plants?

It is best to water your tomato plants early in the morning or late in the afternoon to prevent evaporation (Source: Michigan State University). In addition, it is recommended to avoid watering your plants during the hottest part of the day when the sun is shining down the strongest, which will help to prevent the leaves from getting sunburnt or burnt due to the heat.

Remember that the amount of water that tomato plants need primarily depends on the soil type and weather conditions. As a general rule, tomato plants require consistent moisture levels throughout their growth cycle, meaning watering them deeply once a week in moderate weather conditions.

  • In hot weather, the watering frequency should be increased to twice a week.
  • And in cool weather, once in two weeks.
  • But during the fruit development stage, tomato plants need higher moisture levels, so be sure to water them more often.

However, if you notice your plants wilting during the day, don’t hesitate to give them some water to prevent damage.

Signs of Watering Problems

It’s essential to remain observant when growing tomatoes and examine your plants regularly.

  • Signs of overwatered tomato plants include yellow leaves, soft and mushy roots, and a lack of fruit. In addition, overwatering can cause the tomato plants to wilt, yellow leaves, or stunted growth.
  • Underwatered tomato plant leaves will look dry, brown, or droopy. On the other hand, under-watering can cause the tomato plant to have brown, dry spots on the leaves or curl up.
  • Kind in mind that both overwatering and under-watering can lead to reduced yield or even plant death.

It is always better to monitor your tomato plants’ water needs and adjust accordingly, and if you notice any overwatering or underwatering symptoms, I encourage you to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

How Should You Water Your Tomato Plants?

During the first week of growing tomato plants, they generally need water daily, and gradually reduce watering after the first week; slowly adjust your plants to 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week (Source: University of Georgia). Watering tomato plants daily will prevent them from developing a solid root system, leading to root rot and other soilborne diseases.

In addition, when watering your tomato plants, try to avoid getting water on the leaves and instead focus on watering the soil around the base of the plant. Watering the leaves can lead to the spread of diseases, and the leaves aren’t able to absorb water in the same way that the roots can.

In addition, expert gardeners from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recommend using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to water your plants. This allows the water to seep into the soil and be absorbed by the roots, ensuring the plants receive the necessary hydration.

For an extra boost, consider adding some Epsom salt to your watering routine. A tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water can help to improve the plant’s absorption of water and nutrients.

Soil Type

Tomatoes grow best in well-draining soil that holds moisture for long periods. Generally, the ideal soil for tomato plants is loamy soil. It has an equal proportion of sand, silt, and clay, allowing for good water retention and drainage.

  • Sandy soil, with larger soil particles, drains water quickly, which can lead to water loss.
  • Clay has smaller particles that hold water, but the soil can become waterlogged, causing root rot or other diseases.


Mulching is an excellent way to conserve moisture in the soil because it helps to reduce water evaporation from the soil and restricts weed growth, which can absorb the precious water nutrients that the tomato plants require.

Gardening experts from Washington State University suggest mulching tomato beds after summer heat arrives to prevent weeds, retain moisture, and reduce disease.

Moreover, adding mulch around the base of your tomato plants can help to retain moisture and keep the soil cool, ensuring your plants receive more water.

I recommend you use 2-3 inches of straw, leaves, or grass clippings over the soil around the base of the tomato plant. This will retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Proper Drainage

One of the biggest mistakes that gardeners make is overwatering tomato plants, which can lead to root rot and water lodging, which hinders proper oxygenation of the soil and stunt growth.

It is essential to make sure that tomato plants receive proper drainage by adding organic matter, including compost, which improves soil structure and helps retain moisture.

Also, keep in mind that container-grown tomato plants require adequate drainage to prevent water stagnation in the containers. Make sure your containers have drainage holes.

Do Tomato Plants Need a Lot of Water

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Wrapping Up

Tomato plants need a consistent supply of moisture to thrive. Watering frequency, soil type, mulching, proper drainage, and monitoring for signs of over or under-watering are all key factors to keep in mind.

While tomato plants do need to be watered, it’s important to find the right balance to prevent overwatering or underwatering.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your tomato plants are receiving the right amount of water at the right time and avoid the dangers of root rot and other diseases related to water.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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