What Do Under-watered Tomato Plants Look Like?

What Do Under-watered Tomato Plants Look Like?

As much as overwatering your tomato plant is problematic, underwatering tomato plants affect your tomato plant’s appearance and fruit harvest. I’m sure you can agree with me that taking care of tomato plants can be quite difficult. The obvious common problems are under watering or overwatering of tomato plants. 

In fact, there is nothing worse than seeing your garden suffering from too much or too little watering. Rightly so, solutions to tomato root rot is measured watering.

Learning how to water tomato plants in the approved manner throughout each stage of their life might have been one of the hardest challenges you took up as a gardener. But before you try to solve the problem, you have to understand the symptoms. 

What do under-watered tomato plants look like?

If a tomato plant is suffering from under watering, it generally shows wilted, brown-spotted leaves. Also, the leaves are very dry. All these signs point to the fact that the tomato plants are dehydrated, hence they might need systematic rehydration in order to save them. 

On the other hand, when the tomato plant has been overwatered, it shows signs of rotting as well as mold on the stem and the roots. In order to save this plant, you will need to gently remove it from the ground and ensure that its roots are somewhat dried before you repot the plant.  

There is so much more information that will let you know of the other methods you can follow to take care of your plants. This post will help you identify the various symptoms of underwatering and overwatering and how to handle a plant that has been affected by either of these issues. Let’s get into it.

Symptoms of an under watered Tomato Plant

Under watering is one of the most common mistakes that most gardeners seem to make, especially when it comes to tomato plants. 

This problem can easily lead to plants’ premature death, even regardless of whether they are grown in containers or in the ground. 

Tomato plants certainly grow in climatic zones that normally present very high temperatures, at least during the summer season. 

And in very harsh conditions, we may sometimes misjudge the amount of water that is required by our plants, which will lead to the drying up of the soil. As such, this problem should never be taken lightly.  

However, many cultivators tend to overlook the impact that underwatering can have on the well-being of the plants. While rehydrating a wilting tomato plant is easy, it is essential to identify the symptoms of such a condition in order to give your plants the right amount of treatment.

Below are some of the symptoms that will help you to identify if you are under watering your plants. 

Slower growth

When you plant your tomato seedlings, you are usually very anxious to see them grow, mature and start producing fruits. But, when the tomato plants are being under watered, the plants’ growth will be very slow, and you will be able to notice this delayed development.

Like many trees, tomato plants absorb their nutrients and water from the ground, which is through the roots. These elements are the primary sources of minerals and essential compounds that tomatoes will need for a strong development. 

Depending on the variety of the tomato (and there are many) the average length of tomato roots is somewhere around 20 cm (or 8 in). With this median length of the roots, tomatoes are able to draw a lot of nutrients from the soil to the rest of the plants.

After the required nutrients that are available in this area have all been absorbed out of the soil and processed by the plants, these plants won’t able to get any more nutrients from there. 

In the end, this lack of compounds will possibly cause the tomato plants to stop growing. As such, you always have to make water available to further the growth of your tomatoes.

Dry, discolored, and curling leaves 

The leaves are one of the first things that show symptoms of a wide range of conditions that your tomato plant may be going through, including under watering. 

As we all know, the leaves producing energy through a process known as photosynthesis. One of the important elements that make this process possible is water. As such, the lack of water and nutrients can inhibit the photosynthesis process, which will prevent the plant from absorbing energy.

When the plants are not receiving enough water, you will notice the leaves turning into a brown or a yellowish color. Most times, this change of color starts from the bottom of the plant and spreads upwards to cover the rest of the plants, eventually affecting all the leaves. 

On top of that, most leaves even start curling, which is a vital symptom that your plant is not getting enough water. 

Fail to flower

Failing to flower is another big issue that is linked to under watering of tomato plants. Because your plant isn’t supplied with water that will enable it to produce, the plants’ flowers might fall off. In most cases, the tomato plants may not produce flowers at all, and this can go on for an entire season.

Eventually, the lack of flowers will result in reduced productivity of the plant. Generally, if your tomato plants are unable to produce blossoms, you should expect a limited harvest, especially in the summer months. 

That said, this condition can cause you to see a late harvest, usually towards the end of summer.

Dry Soil

Dry soil is one of the most common and obvious symptoms that points to the lacking of adequate watering. 

While the soil’s upper surface isn’t always entirely moist, the potting mix should feel wet at touch. 

The moisture should be at least two to five centimeters below the top layer of soil. If your plants are in container, you can see that the soil is detached from the pot’s surface and seems to have dried up. Add water if the pot feels too dry.

How can you save an under-watered Tomato Plant?

As we have covered, we know that hydrating tomato plants properly and regularly is vital to avoid the under watering conditions. 

However, we are humans and we tend to forget at times, even the most important stuff. While under watering can have a lot of adverse effect, it does have a good side, and that is: you have the chance to save the plants. 

That’s right. If you forgot to water your tomatoes during the hottest summer months, there are solutions that can help you restore your plants. Sounds interesting? Let’s take a look at that. 

First of all, you should always ensure that you avoid compensating for the lack of sufficient moisture by pouring a large amount of water into the soil. 

The thing is: the ground might be so dry to shrink away from the surfaces of the pot, particularly if you are growing your plants in container. 

What happens here is that, instead of sinking into the ground, the water will simply flow away because, again, the ground is just way too dry to allow water to penetrate through it.

How to save an under watered potted tomato plant

Rehydrating a tomato plant in a container is much more direct and much easier than treating an underwater one that has been planted in your garden. First off, create holes into the soil. 

Here you can either use a fork or a small spade. All the same, try as much as you can to stay away from hurting the roots when you creating the holes. 

Then, dip the whole container in water (preferably lukewarm) and wait until the soil is not producing air bubbles at the surface. After this, you can then drain the vase and clip away spoiled and unhealthy leaves or branches. 

How to save an under watered in-ground tomato plant

Unlike a potted plant, saving an outdoor tomato planted in your garden might not be very easy. Here’s how you do it. 

Start by considering whether the plant is worth saving or if it has suffered the under watering “condition” for too long or a lesser time. 

If your plants aren’t showing dehydration signs, provide shelter and shade, preferably away from direct sunlight. 

Then, you have to water the plants thoroughly and regularly to reinstate the essential nutrients the tomato plants require. 

Things such as plastic sheets and mulches go a really long way to maintaining a stable level of moisture, which is why they are called moisture regulators.

Last words

In summary, under watered tomatoes will often show signs such as Dry, discolored leaves, failure to flower and dry soil. Plants that are experiencing a low supply of water will also have a very stunted growth. 

Still, under watering issues have solutions that can help you keep your plant alive without much of a struggle.

Recent Posts

link to Mulching


Mulching is an ecologically tested and proven way to reduce soil erosion in your backyard while also improving soil fertility by using a standard mower and another mulching blade to cut grass at...