Have you been caring for your tomato plants only to find that they appear a little wilted and unhealthy? Maybe the leaves are yellowing. If so, you may have accidentally overwatered your tomato plants.
There’s no need to panic though, as this is a common problem every new gardener will face in their gardening journey. Luckily, there’s always a way that you can save your tomato plants and help prevent this from happening again in the future.
The most common signs of overwatered tomato plants may include the yellowing of leaves, as well as cracked fruit and bumps on the lower leaves. If you notice these problems with your tomato plants and continue to overwater them. Other problems may occur like root rot, which if not treated will eventually kill off your tomato plant completely.
Symptoms of Overwatered Tomato Plants
If you haven’t noticed the problems mentioned above, but still believe you may have overwatered your tomato plants. take a look below at some other symptoms that normally occur with the overwatering of tomato plants.
1. Yellowing of The Leaves
Yellowing leaves are the most common sign of overwatering. A new gardener’s first reaction is to reach for the hose and continue watering, unaware that overwatering is more than likely the cause of the yellow leaves.
Yellowing leaves usually occur because the tomato plant cannot get enough oxygen, this can be caused by either overwatering or slow draining soils, Such as heavy clay, which can hold water and suffocate the plant’s roots.
2. Your Tomato Plant Is Wilting And Feels Wet
Tomato plants will quickly show signs if they are suffering from overwatering. The first sign will usually be to do with the look of your plants. Mainly through the wilting of the leaves, which is the earliest sign.
If you notice wilting leaves, as well as the soil, feeling overly wet on the touch. This is a clear sign that you will need to stop watering your plant the right way.
If you know what your plant usually looks like, you will be able to immediately tell there’s something wrong and that you may overwater your plant.
3. Signs of Rotten Roots And Foul Odors
Rotten roots are one of the more serious conditions of over watering. If your plants sit in water for a long period of time, their roots absorb an excessive amount of moisture, far more than the plant can process. The water will turn stagnate and will prevent the roots from growing. Making them weaker and more susceptible to pathogens.
Unlike wilting leaves. Rotten roots are much harder to identify as we can’t see them. This means they may go untreated longer allowing for more damage to the roots to occur.
To help give you an advantage in identifying damaged roots, there are a few telltale signs we can use to help identify this condition. A few are…
- Nasty odor coming from your plants
- Both young and old leaves falling off unexpectantly
- Fleshy stems
4. Leaf Roll
Leaf roll, although it may seem like one of the more stranger symptoms of overwatering. It’s actually the least harmful.
As overwatered plants grow and begin to produce fruit the leaves curl upward and inward. This normally occurs overnight and can leave the new gardeners in shock as to what has happened to their plant during the night.
Luckily, this doesn’t mean the death of your harvest, and your tomato plants should still provide you with fresh tomatoes later in the growing season.
5. Excess Foliage
Excessive watering can actually cause your tomato plant to produce lots of lush, leafy growth. Whilst this may sound like a good thing the added growth won’t result in more tomatoes. It will actually leave you with even fewer.
So if your plants seem to have an overabundance of leaves but no fruit then overwatering may be the reason.
Can Tomato Plants Recover From Overwatering?
The good news is that yes, tomato plants can make a full recovery from overwatering. However, urgent action may be required depending on how much damage has been caused to your plant. The longer the plants stay in heavily watered soil the less likely they will recover.
4 Ways to Help Treat Overwatered Tomato Plants?
Prevention is always better than cure, and tomato plants are not the exception. Below we have listed some action steps you can take to help treat your overwatered plants and bring them back to life.
1. Eliminate any Stagnating Water
Eliminating stagnant water is the simplest method of getting started in treating your tomato plants. Whether your plant is indoors or outdoors it should be the first thing you do.
If your plant is an indoor potted plant, the first thing you need to do is to remove any excess water that may be sitting in the drip tray underneath the plant.
Alternatively, if your plant is located outside. Turn off the hose or and irrigation system you may have.
2. Let it dry
This step can be useful for whether you have potted plants or outdoor plants. Carefully remove the plants from the soil and lay on some newspaper. Exposing the roots to the fresh air can be a good way to help excess moisture evaporate from the roots. Once dry then you can replant with fresh compost
3. Dig up your plant and remove it from the soil
This can be done to both potted and in-ground tomato plants. If you are growing your tomato plants in pots this will be a more straightforward process.
To start gently remove the plant from the pot and pull away as much of the wet soil from around the roots, making sure not to pull away or damage any roots.
Next, you will want toreplant the plant using some fresh soil. To help prevent further overwatering. Try and make sure you plant in a pot that fits the roots and has drainage holes in the bottom. Then gently fill the gaps around the plant with fresh compost.
If overwatering is caused by heavy rain due to your plant being outside. Then you may want tocompletely replant your tomato plant. Make sure to remove any wet soil in and around the roots.
Alternatively, if your plant is outside and getting regular sunshine, you could consider covering the soil area or even the entire plant with a plastic sheet. Once the rain stops remove the sheet to allow the sun to evaporate the moisture from the soil.
4. Treat the roots
To treat the roots, start by removing and wet soil from around the roots. Continue to cut off any unhealthy and damaged roots.
One important thing to remember is to use a separate clean or new pair of clippers. This is essential and will help ensure you prevent cross-contaminationof the disease from the roots to other plants.
You may also try adding crushed eggshells to your tomato plant which is known to help ad nutrients to your plants – Read more about that here
The last thing you want is to treat your tomato plants and then have your other plants become unhealthy.
How long does it take for a tomato plant to recover from overwatering?
There is no exact time period for when your tomato plant will be fully healed, This can also vary depending on how the damage has been caused to your plant.
However, if you follow the above steps you should start seeing find your plant looking much healthier within no more than 30 days.
Although overwatering tomato plants is a common issue in the gardening world, many people are still unaware of the signs, which left untreated will ultimately leave them losing their tomato plants completely.
Having a complete understanding of how to spot signs of overwatering early and how to treat your plants is crucial and having this skill in your gardening arsenal.
It can make all the difference to the health of your plants in the future, Hopefully, this post answered all the questions you may have had. Happy gardening.
Q: How often should I water my tomato plants?
A: You should water your plants at least once a week, but more is better. When you water your plants, don’t just pour a little bit of water on the leaves. Water the entire plant, including the soil.
Q: How do you water tomato plants?
A: You don’t need to water them every day, but they do love their water. Give them a drink whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. This will keep the soil from getting too dry. Tomatoes like their soil to be somewhat moist, not soggy.