Got Tomatoes? 3 Reasons Why You See Flowers Without Fruiting

So, you’ve nurtured your tomato plants for months and they seem relatively happy. They even have a profusion of flowers. Yet, there’s just one significant problem: there’s no fruit! In such a case, what’s a person to do? Well, fortunately, we’ve got a few ideas that may be able to help. Today, let’s take a look at the three main reasons why your tomato plants are flowering but not setting fruit.

Insufficient Sunlight Exposure

Tomato plants are enthusiastic sunbathers! They need the warming rays of the sun in order to thrive and reach their fullest potential. If your garden gets insufficient sunlight, then this is the most likely reason why your tomato plants are not setting fruit.

Keep in mind that your lovely tomato plants want at least 6 to 8 hours of continuous and uninterrupted exposure to direct sunlight. This exposure to sunlight enables the plant to undergo photosynthesis, which is the main mechanism behind growth.

Key Indicators That Your Tomatoes are Sun Starved

  • Your tomato plants look overly tall, leggy, and more like a vine.
  • Your tomato plant’s leaves are pale.
  • Growth seems stunted or otherwise subpar.

The Solution

If you have your tomato plants in patio pots, simply move them to a sunnier location. However, if your tomatoes are already established in-ground and are already quite large, moving them may be problematic. You may have to wait until next year’s planting season to start a new batch of tomato seedlings, and then be sure to plant them in a continuously sunny location.

It’s also a good idea to keep a garden diary to track successes and challenges. Use your garden diary to watch and note how the sun interacts with your yard through each season. Then document which areas consistently get the most sun.

If you do decide to dig up and move your tomato plants, do so very carefully. Keep as much of the root ball intact as possible. Another option may be to trim some of your trees or larger hedges to let more light into your growing area.

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Too Little or Too Much Water

It really is important to have a consistent watering schedule for your tomato plants. If they go a long time between waterings, and are then given a heavy supply, it can stress out your plants. In fact, blossom end rot can occur when tomato plants are neglected and are allowed to dry out.


Before watering your tomato plants, always be sure to feel and test the soil. If it is already moist, let it be. If you are growing your tomatoes in the ground, you can water them less often. About two or three times a week is good, depending upon the amount of rainfall your area gets. However, potted tomato plants will need watering more often, usually once or twice a day. 

Signs of overwatering may include curled leaves and split-open or cracked fruit. Other signs can include droopy, yellowish leaves. The soil may also be soggy, with rot forming around the base of your plant.


Tomatoes store a lot of water within their fruits. If your tomato plants are thirsty for water, they won’t have enough to nourish and set fruit. It’s a good idea to check soil moisture at least twice a day.

Additionally, when watering your plants, do so in the early morning and/or in the late evening. Plus, be sure to always water at the base of each plant and avoid splashing the leaves. Also, add a top layer of mulch to help lock in moisture between watering.

Signs of dehydration often include wilting, yellowing, or dried-up leaves. Another obvious sign would be that the soil is very dry.

To learn even more about balanced watering for your tomato plants, check out this article.

Soil Fertility

Make sure you are using the right soil for your tomato plants. Ideally, they need loamy soil with lots of organic matter (like compost) added in. Most importantly, the soil needs to drain exceedingly well, as any water stagnation can cause problems.

Now, if you have already implemented an effective watering schedule, your tomato plants are getting plenty of sun, and you’ve housed them in the rich loam soil, then the issue may be a lack of nutrients.

See also  How To Harden Off Your Tomato Seedlings

An Imbalance of Nutrients (Excessive Nitrogen)

Tomatoes, like us, need a balanced diet. Typically, they want three key nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, if too much of one of these nutrients is added, it can affect your tomato plant’s fruiting ability.

To determine if you have the right balance of nutrients, consider getting a soil test. From there, you will know what soil amendments to make. In general, the best NPK ratio for tomato fertiliser is 5-10-5. However, to encourage improved fruiting, you can try a ratio of 5-10-10. Also, make sure that your soil falls within a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8, as this can also affect tomato fruiting.

Nitrogen (N) helps your plants develop their foliage. So, if your plants look super healthy, lush, and display lots of dense green foliage with an absence of fruit, too much nitrogen may be the cause.

Phosphorus (P) enables your plants to produce fruit and facilitates their ripening. Properly diluted fish emulsion (NPK: 2-4-1) is a reliably great and natural source. Dried bone meal contains about 12 to 24% phosphorus, is also high in calcium, and is therefore another effective option.

Potassium (K) helps your tomato plants set flowers.

Want to learn more about soil and compost for your tomato plants? Read this article.

Other Factors to Consider

Pollination and Airflow

Now, many tomato varieties self-pollinate. However, an abundance of bees will certainly improve tomato plant fruiting. To draw more bees to your area, try to grow flowering plant companions near your tomatoes, as they will attract local and beneficial pollinators.

Tomato plants also rely upon the wind for pollination. In fact, they need regular access to adequate airflow in order to grow their best overall. Overcrowding tomatoes can cause them to become leggy or prone to disease.


Removing lower side shoots and regularly pruning your tomato plants can improve fruiting. This is because your tomato plants will put energy into producing fruit rather than growing more foliage. Plus, removing excess foliage will allow more light and air to penetrate into the heart of your tomato bush.


Tomato plants like it warm. Ideally, daytime temperatures should range between 21° to 27° C (70° to 80° F), with overnight temperatures above 15° to 18° C (60° – 65° F). If they are too cold or hot, your tomato plants may fail to set fruit.

See also  How to ripen green tomatoes?

Pests and Disease

If they are under duress from pests or disease, your tomato plants may not have enough energy or resources to set fruit. Click here to read about common tomato diseases.


Every year in the garden is a renewed opportunity to learn something new. If you run into challenges this year, don’t worry; there is always next year. No one ever gets it perfectly right their first year growing tomatoes anyway, and even seasoned growers go through periods of trial and error.

It’s always a good idea to grow a variety of tomato plants as well, so that if one variety does poorly, another variety may do well. In other words, planting multiple varieties ensures that you will always have fresh fruit through the growing season.

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