QUESTION: Should I pinch off tomato flowers?
ANSWER: Many gardeners recommend pinching off the first set of flowers a tomato plant produces in late spring, before the plant has been transplanted into the garden. If you wish to do this, it’s important to understand why the technique works, as you don’t want to just start removing flowers from your plant at random (since the flowers are where tomatoes will grow from).
Removing only this first set of flowers before transplanting your tomato plants will help the plants to spend just a little more time focusing on developing their root systems before they turn their energy and resources toward producing flowers and fruit.
When a plant has more well-developed roots, it will be better able to access moisture and nutrients in the soil as well as being more sturdy when conditions get windy. You can continue to encourage the development of a strong root system by burying tomato plants so that only the top three sets of leaves are above the surface of the soil when you move them into the garden. (Don’t try this trick with other plants, though, as it only works with tomatoes.)
Once your plants are in the garden, don’t remove flowers as there is no further benefit, and you’ll just be robbing yourself of delicious tomatoes. The only exception is when you are growing indeterminate tomatoes and have decided to use a pruning technique that leaves only four or five fruiting branches on the plant, which some gardeners do to trade number of fruit for larger size of fruit.
sarah jones says
If the plants are already transferred to containers, should the early blooms still be pinched off?
I do, always have and cut low hanging branches where leaves may touch the soil…
When should I start clipping tomato flowers in NYC. I don’t think anything after August 15 will mature.
Should I do the same for micro dwarf tomatoes as well? I did pinch the flowers off before repotting them into their final pots and only after did it occur to me that maybe the micro dwarfs are different. Too late now, but good to know for the future!
I have a few young tomato plants that are producing flowers the plants are not that tall should I remove the flowers