Light Requirements For Tomatoes - How Much Sun Do Tomato Plants Need

Ripened Red Tomato Plant
(Image credit: fotokostic)

Growing tomatoes and sunshine go hand in hand. Without enough sun, a tomato plant can't produce fruit. You may be wondering; how much sun do tomato plants need and does my garden get enough sun for tomatoes? These are important questions to answer if you'll be growing this popular garden vegetable. Let's look at the answers to how much sun do tomato plants need.

Light Requirements for Tomatoes to Grow

The simple answer to questions on light requirements for tomatoes is that you need a minimum of six hours to produce fruit, but eight or more hours of sun will produce the best results in terms of how many tomatoes you get. The reason that light for a tomato plant is so important is that tomato plants convert sunlight into energy. Tomato plants need energy to make their fruit. Therefore, the more sunshine they get, the more energy they have and the more fruit they can produce.

Light Requirements for Tomatoes to Ripen

So now that you know the light requirements for tomatoes to grow, you may be wondering how much sun do tomato plants need in order to ripen their fruit. Ah-ha! This is a trick question. Growing tomatoes and sun is necessary, but the fruit themselves do not need sunlight to ripen. Tomato fruits actually ripen fastest in the absence of sunlight. Tomatoes ripen because of heat and ethylene gas, not because of sunlight. So, remember, the answer to the question how much sun do tomato plants need is simple. They need as much as you can give them. If you make sure that there is enough light for a tomato plant, the tomato plant will make sure there are enough tasty tomatoes for you.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.