Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by Matt Gardener
Tomatoes are one of the most common vegetables grown in homes and nurseries. Tomatoes are this common because they are relatively quite easy to grow and be cared for. Tomato plants basically require an adequate amount of direct sunlight and enough water.
But exactly how often should you water your tomato plants?
Ideally, tomato plants should be watered at different intervals and with different amounts of water, depending on the growth stage of the tomato plant.
Tomato plants at different stages require different amounts of water, and this is what this article is about to break down to you. So, keep reading until the end.
Table of Contents
How Often Should You Water Your Tomato Plants?
Tomato plants need a lot of water to grow and produce supple tomato fruits. However, you must ensure that while supplying your tomato plants with water, you must not flood the plant with water; the key is to maintain a moist soil for the tomato plants.
You should water your tomato plant as often as the plant needs water. This means that you can water your tomato plant as often as two times per day or even once a day. This depends on the growth stage and rate of transpiration in the tomato plant.
The soil texture also determines how often you should water your tomato plant. In regions with dry soils and high temperatures, the tomato plant will need more amount of water because the soil quickly dries up the available water.
While in regions with soft soils and low temperatures, the tomato plants will need a lesser amount of water because the soil retains water for a long period of time. For such soils in such regions, you should water the tomato plant once a day to avoid flooding the plant.
Another important factor to consider while considering how often you should water your tomato plant is the variety of tomato plant you are growing. The different varieties of a tomato grow under different conditions. Some require more amount of water than others.
The best way to find out the growth needs of the specific variety you are growing is to check with your local gardening club. They would also help you find out the best variety of tomato plants for your garden.
On a general note, tomato plants need about 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week. This figure translates to mean that 12 inches by 12 inches square foot of soil would need approximately 0.62 gallons (2.27 liters) to 0.94 gallons (3.56 liters) of water per week.
In times of increased temperatures, the tomato plants would require more amount of water. Take note of that and take note also of the region where you are growing the tomato plants.
Read Also: Plants That Cannot Grow With Tomatoes
How Often To Water Tomatoes with Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation is a system of watering tomato plants and other plants at a very slow pace of about two to twenty hours per hour.
In this system, water is usually is supplied to the plant from a small diameter system that is either buried under the soil or above the soil.
The purpose of this system is to save water, send water directly to the root system of the plant, and minimize evaporation to the least level possible. Nutrients are also supplied to plants using this drip irrigation method.
The drip irrigation system basically consists of a network of pipes, valves, emitters, and tubing. When properly installed and maintained, this system is an efficient means of irrigating plants.
When it comes to tomato plants, how often should you water tomatoes with drip irrigation? Because deep irrigation targets the roots of tomato plants and other plants, the rate of using it to supply water to plants would vary from the rate of using other tools like watering cans and hoses.
Your tomato plant should be watered once a day using drip irrigation. The irrigation time should last for about forty – five minutes. You observe if this time is appropriate for your tomatoes, if it is not, you can adjust by scaling up or scaling down the watering time.
That is because drip irrigation supplies water to the root slowly and deeply, and the aim is not to flood the supporting soil but to keep the soil moist. You are watering the tomato plants once a day is optimum for tomato plants using drip irrigation.
Drip irrigation is also the best method of watering tomato plants because one of the important tips for watering tomato plants includes watering the plant slowly and deeply.
As you already know, drip irrigation offers such excellent service of slow and deep water supply. A deep but slow supply of water allows the tomato plant to develop strong roots that run deep into the soil.
A deep root system is essential for tomato growth and development. Tomato plants with shallow root system damage easily and stresses a lot during dry spells. Therefore, by watering the plants slowly and deeply, you are preparing the tomato roots for tougher days ahead.
How Often To Water Tomatoes in Pots
Tomatoes in pots are in a contained space, and their roots can only reach as far below as the container goes. However, they (tomatoes in pots) deserve as much water as their counterparts that are grown in the soil.
As a matter of fact, tomatoes in pots require more water than tomatoes grown in the soil; this is because the container creates more heat are, which leads to an increased rate of evaporation.
How often to water tomatoes in pots depends on a number of factors such as the size of the pot, location of the pot, weather condition in the region the tomato is being grown, the growth stage of the tomato plant, and also the variety of tomato being grown in the pot.
A bush type variety of tomato that is being grown in a 5-gallon pot will need more amount of daily water, and may require to receive water two times in a day during summer months, and when it is producing tomato fruits.
How do you determine how often to water tomatoes in pots? The best way to determine the frequency of watering your tomato plants is by sticking any of your fingers but your thumb into the potting soil for as deep as 2 inches.
Upon insertion, if the soil feels dry, this is a clear indication that the soil and the plant need water. Also, if the tomatoes’ leaves droop, this also signifies the need for water.
Another way of confirming when to water your tomato plant is by using a soil moisture meter. This method is quite accurate as the meter measures the accurate level of water in the pot.
You use the meter by thrusting it into the soil, the dial on the meter shows the moisture level of the soil. With this, you know whether to water the plant or not.
How much water do tomato plants in a pot need, you may wonder? A tomato plant in a large pot would need about a gallon of water in a day. However, the size of the pot, the growth stage of the plant, and the daytime temperature of the region will determine further how much water the tomato needs.
A general rule of thumb for tomatoes in pot states that you should water the plant slowly until water begins to seep out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. When this happens, you stop watering and wait until the next time the plant needs water.
Read Also: How Much Sunlight Does A Tomato Plant Need?
How Much Water Does a Tomato Plant Need per Day
A tomato plant needs as much water as possible to grow well. As earlier stated, how much water a tomato plant needs per day depends on a number of factors.
There is no straight cut answer to that because variations in the medium of growth, weather conditions, growth stage, and type of tomato seed all affect the amount of water a tomato plant needs per day.
Having discussed some of these influencing factors above, we would move straight to discussing how much water a tomato plant needs per day on the average.
On average, a tomato plant needs about 0.32 liters to 0.56 liters of water per day. If the tomato plant is in a pot, it would require about one gallon of water per day.
This quantity could vary with changes in temperature, size of the pot, and variety of tomato seed.
When to Water Tomatoes Morning or Evening
Whether to water tomatoes in the morning or evening is a common question new tomato growers ask. That is because there are a lot of presuming that either of the times is better than the other.
They may not necessarily be so wrong about this notion of theirs, because each of this time has its own peculiar effect to the tomato plant.
If you are wondering which time is the best time to water your tomato plants, morning or evening? Here is our recommendation; we recommend that you water your tomatoes in the morning.
Watering your tomato plants in the morning provides the tomato plants enough moisture during the hottest period of the day when the sunlight is at its peak, and the soil is dry. This early morning water helps the plant through the hottest time of the day.
Another reason we recommend that you should water your tomato plant early in the morning is that plants absorb water easily and faster in the early part of the day than in the late afternoons or evenings.
If you are also thinking of watering the plant in the afternoon, this could be risky, as the soil is already hot and would heat up the water, which in turn burns up the plant. Nobody wants this for their plant.
However, if you water the tomato plant at night, it may lead to flooding, as the rate of transpiration and evaporation is lowest at night. The water may lie to waste until later hours of the following day.
As your tomato plant grows and develops more, their need for water increases, and at such stage, watering the plant once a day may no longer be sufficient, and there becomes the need to water the plant twice a day. This is when you can water the plant in the evening when the sun has gone down.
While watering the plant at this time, you should avoid splashing water on the tomato leaves to avoid scalding the leaves from the heat of the afternoon sun. You should direct the water to the base of the plant, slowly and deeply.
Remember that you can efficiently use the drip irrigation method of irrigation to supply your plants with all of its water needs without running the risk of scalding the foliages or flooding the soil.
Read Also: Can Tomatoes Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
How often you need to water your tomato plants depend on a lot of factors that have been duly discussed above, and we hope that regardless of the condition and influencing factor, you would know how often you should supply water to your tomato plant.
If you are using drip irrigation to water your tomato plant, you should water the plant for at least 45 minutes or more depending on the moisture requirement of the tomato plant and supporting soil or pot.
If your tomato plant is in a pot, you should water as soon as the soil becomes dry to at least 2 inches below the surface. You can determine whether the tomato plant is in need of water or not by sticking your finger into the soil or by sticking moisture meter into the soil.
Between watering the tomato plant in the morning or evening, we recommended that you should water the plant in the morning, as this allows your tomatoes enough time to take up water and prevents diseases that could attack the plant when the foliage remains wet throughout the night when the plant is watered in the evening.