Watering Tomato Plants - How Much Water Do Tomato Plants Need

Tomato Plant Being Watered
tomato watering
(Image credit: Liudmyla Liudmyla)

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetables grown in the home garden. One of the reasons is that they are relatively easy to grow. That does not mean, however, that they grow without care. One of the most crucial parts of their care is knowing how much water do tomato plants need. Let's take a look at how to properly water tomatoes.

Tips for Watering Tomato Plants

Water slowly, water deeply - The number one rule of watering tomatoes is to make sure that you go slow and easy. Never rush watering tomato plants. Use a drip hose or other forms of drip irrigation to deliver water to your tomato plants slowly. Water regularly - How often should you water tomato plants? There is no hard and fast rule to this. It depends on how hot it is and if the plant is actively growing. A good rule of thumb is to supply water once every two or three days at the height of summer. Remember that water supplied by Mother Nature counts towards watering tomato plants in the garden. Once the weather cools and fruit has set, scale back watering to once a week. Water at the roots - When watering tomatoes, it is normally recommended that you water straight to the roots rather than from above, as this can cause disease and pests to attack the plants. Watering tomato plants from above also encourages premature evaporation and unnecessarily wastes water. Mulch - Using mulch helps to keep water where the plants need it. Use mulch to slow down evaporation.

How Much Water Do Tomato Plants Need?

There's no one set amount for this. There are dozens of factors that can influence how much water a tomato plant needs at any given time. These factors can include age of plant, size of plant, type of soil, current temperatures, and humidity, state of fruit, and amount of fruit as well as weekly rainfall. A general baseline is considered to be 2 inches (5 cm.) of water a week for a plant in the ground (more often for container plants). Due to all of the factors above, this amount may be too much or too little for your tomato plant. Instead, it would be wise to depend on a water gauge or an indicator plant to tell when you need to water your tomatoes. Impatiens make a good indicator plant to put near your tomatoes since impatiens wilt immediately when they have too little water, thus indicating that the tomatoes also need water.

Improper watering can lead to the following issues:

Now that you know how often should you water tomato plants and how much water tomato plants need, you can water tomatoes in your garden with confidence and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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.