10 Different Tomato Plant Growth Stages 

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By Bryan Peters

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It sometimes doesn’t take a lot for any seed to grow into a mature plant; however, like every other living thing, plants go through growth stages.

Tomato plant growth stages are quite relatable, from germination to the vegetative period, flowering, and fruiting. You must learn about these growth stages of tomato plants to know how best to care for the plant at every stage. 

In this article, we will discuss about the various growing stages of tomatoes!

Interesting Facts About Tomato Plants

Scientifically referred to as solanum Lycopersicum and known as the nightshade plant (Solanaceae), tomatoes are cultivated extensively for their edible fruits. They are a good source of vitamin C and the phytochemical lycopene attributed to tomato nutritional value. 

In addition to being eaten raw in salads, they are served as cooked vegetables, used in the preparation of varieties of dishes, or pickled.

Proudly loved by many, tomato is a staple in any household that can be used for many purposes. Because of its versatility, it is referred to as a vegetable and a fruit. However, botanically it is fruit. This is because it grows from flowering plants and contains seeds.

Yet, tomatoes are mainly used as vegetables in the kitchen. And whichever way you choose to have tomatoes, you will most certainly get the best out of it. Tomatoes can be used as tomato juice, or you can use them as sauce, sauteé the tomato or even fry it.

To achieve great taste in food, you can go as far as sun-drying over ripen tomatoes and have the best out of your meal.

Before tomatoes reach the kitchen’s four walls, they are planted and go through different growth stages. What are the tomato plant growth stages?

Let’s learn about these growth stages.

Tomato Plant Growth Stages

Stage 1: Planting stage

Before any plant begins to germinate, it would be planted first. So, you should plant the seeds and watch them germinate in a few days.

The seeds can be planted indoors before the last frost and transplanted into the garden afterward. This will help protect the plants in their vulnerable state from severe weather. 

Note: this is dependent on your location.

It is ideal for tomato seed plants to have day temperatures above 60°F and night temperatures at a static 50°F. This ensures that the plant grows in moist soil throughout its growth cycle.

The seed gets enough water to permeate, signaling the internal cells to kickstart respiration and metabolize food reserves, so germination occurs at the end.

Your tomato plant needs all the attention it can get at this stage. Water the soil consistently but not constantly to avoid overpowering the plant.

Stage 2: Germination/early growth

It takes about ten days for tomato seeds to germinate, which is quicker than many other vegetable seeds.

Germination begins when the primary root, referred to as the radicle, appears. What is the role of the radicle? It does a variety of things.

Apart from introducing and supporting the seedlings in the soil, it also absorbs soil moisture & nutrients and sets the ball rolling for the next growth phase.

Stage 3: Sprouting stage

In the initial stages of the plant’s growth, the radicle creates the groundwork for the cells to form a shoot. The shoot grows upward in search of light.

After some time, the plant should be able to find its way to the soil’s surface. You must be attentive at this point feeding the soil the necessary things it needs for its growth. 

Whatever the soil is fed is what the plant would use to develop leaves.

Stage 4: First Leaf formation

It’s normal for seedlings to grow slowly at this stage. There are no adequate resources available to the seed, so it must rely on internal food reserves for its metabolic processes. Plants work twice as hard to form leaves and initiate photosynthesis.

Fret not because it might seem at this stage that your efforts are not rewarding; just allow the plants to grow at their pace. It would surely pick up speedily after some time.

Stage 5: Third leaf formation

At this stage, the plant must have picked up again, growing with a relatable amount of speed. And as the plant produces more leaves, its photosynthetic capacity increases. 

Ensure to give the plant more room to produce leaves; you can simply do this by feeding the plant all the necessary things it needs for its growth.

Stage 6: Root formation

Now that your tomato plant has formed leaves, another growth stage it would go through is root formation. At this point, the plant will begin to form strong roots. The root would support the growth of the tomato plant throughout the stage.

The roots, as you may know, give the plant nutrients and energy to grow effectively. So, at this stage, you must water the soil and expose it to sunlight.

Stage 7: Vegetative period

Having achieved full root development, the foliage above continues to produce food through photosynthesis, and the plant has completed its primary growth stages. 

During the flowering stage, the plant conserves energy and resources in its internal storage for the flowering stage while redirecting its focus to the upward foliage and outer growth.

Stage 8: Flowering

It would take some time for the plant to assume this stage. So, if you have successfully completed the other stages, your plant will transition to the flowering stage. The flowering would occur after the plant has formed 10 to 12 leaves and grown about 15-18 inches.

Afterward, the plant will form flower buds along the tips. If this has happened, then the plant is ready for pollination.

Stage 9: Fruiting

This is the stage you almost can’t wait to experience, where your plant begins to bear fruits. You will notice some greenish tomato seeds after the flowering stage. The greenish tomato seeds always come during the first or early fruiting stage.

After all the stages, it would take 40-70 days to see your tomatoes produce fruits. When the fruits emerge, they stay green until they attain a fully mature size. Redirecting resources to the main stem and fruits is the best practice.

After the plant goes through the early fruiting stage, it will graduate to the mature one. In response to this, a gaseous hormone called ethylene, which is present in all plants changes the fruit’s pigment and prepares it for ripening. 

In the process of ripening, there are three phases: the breaker phase, the pink stage, and the red stage. At the breaker stage, you can see a few red stains on the skin. It broadens to the pink background, turning the fruit pink.

Now that your tomato plant has successfully gone through all the stages, another important thing is to harvest the ripened tomato fruits.

Stage 10: Harvest stage

Now you can proudly pluck or harvest your tomatoes. Do not leave any ripened tomatoes on the plant for long. With time the tomatoes will begin to over-ripen. And if not harvested might decay. So be quick to harvest your tomatoes.

How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow?

Generally, it would take 70 to 80 days for tomato plants to grow after planting; however, this depends on the variety or the type of tomato and, of course, growing conditions. Provided the tomato plants are left in a favorable condition, they will grow well.

How To Care for Tomato Plants

For the tomato plant to successfully pass through every growth stage, you must be able to see the necessary requirements needed for its growth. 

  • Ensure that you water the soil, but do not overwater it. Overwatering the soil would, in many cases, attract insects or pests
  • Exposure to your tomato plant to sunlight, however, too much sunlight could burn the leaves or stunt its growth. So be careful not to overdo it.
  • Remove dead leaves or tomatoes as the plant transits to other stages
  • Look out for pests and insects

Conclusion

It’s so amazing watching your tomato plant’s growth stages because, soon enough, they reward you with fruits. If you have ever wanted to know about the growth stages, then you just got lucky.

In this guide, we revealed all there is to know about the growth stages and the necessary things you should do to ensure your plant grows in a healthy condition.

If you are skeptical about planting tomatoes, this guide will make you a proud gardener whether it is your first time.

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