Question: Will tomato plants grow back? If I just leave them in the ground all winter, will they come back next spring? – Wilmette U
Answer: This depends upon where you live. In most cases, tomato plants won’t grow back each year as a perennial.
Tomatoes are only grown as a perennial plant in tropical areas. In other growing locations they’re annuals.
However, there are a few ways you can grow tomatoes year after year. One method is to allow rotten tomatoes to remain on the ground.
This isn’t great for protecting your crops from pests and diseases, but it can allow “volunteers” to grow the following year. A volunteer plant is one that was planted naturally, or accidentally, without the gardener knowing and emerges the next growing season.
Another method for growing tomatoes year after year is to overwinter your tomatoes indoors. As you probably know, tomato plants can’t survive frost.
Yet, if you have a heated greenhouse or a space indoors, you may pot your tomato plants and bring them inside.
As long as they’re protected from freezing temperatures and provided some care, they should be ready to grow outdoors again the following year.
Be advised tomato plants won’t produce indoors without proper lighting, nutrients, and water. If you’d like to keep your tomatoes producing over the winter months, it may require supplemental lighting.
The final method to growing tomatoes each year is to save the seeds from the previous year’s tomatoes and start your own plants from seed.
You must dry the seeds and store them in an airtight container over winter. However, the next year, place them in well-draining soil in a warm location, along with adequate lighting and care, and you should be able to produce your own tomato plants with little to no cost involved.
Though tomatoes aren’t perennial plants for most gardeners, there are a few options to ensure you have a tomato harvest each year.
Remember, it’s important to care for your plants as healthy plants tend to produce larger harvests. Pick which options work best for your gardening style and keep a designated spot in your garden plans for your tomato plants each year.