How to Prune Indeterminate Tomato Plants
Figure out how to prune indeterminate tomato plants from their baby stages to the full-grown stage! Apero, Black Cherry Organic, Juliet, Prudent’s Purple Organic, Yellow Pear, Sun Gold, & Big Beef are some examples of Indeterminate Tomato Varieties.
Most gardeners’ choose the indeterminate type of tomato plants for gardening instead of the determinate type because-
- They bear fruits throughout the year until frost. Therefore, yield much more fruits than the determinate varieties.
- These varieties of tomatoes are much more flavorful as they mature over a longer season.
Indeterminate tomato plants are basically vine tomatoes that normally grow to 6-10 feet in height. In the greenhouses & tropical region, they may be 20 feet tall. California’s ‘Red Zebra’ is a popular indeterminate tomato plant that grows up to 6-12 feet and has an exclusive red color with orange stripes. There's also the ever popular 'Green Zebra' as well!
As the indeterminate tomato plant receives regular watering & fertilizers, it tends to grow taller and taller. They require support with cages, stakes, or trellises. Most importantly, continuous pruning is inevitable for healthy plant growth and bearing flavorful juicy tomatoes.
· Pinching tiny suckers is a common practice. The drawback with pinching is that it often causes a rip which then leads the plant to direct all its energy towards healing the rip and eventually delay the fruiting process. The rip can also damage or kill the plant as it’s an open spot for infection to enter. Be sure to use a use a sharp knife or pruners to make a clean cut of the suckers.
1. When Transplanting Baby Indeterminate Tomato Plants-
Firstly, snip off the bottom leaves, leaving 3-4 tiers, and then plant deep in the prepared potting mix. This allows a vigorous root structure resulting in a strong plant.
Also, get rid of all the flowers as this helps the plant focus towards a leafy development instead of bearing small or medium-sized fruit before time.
2. Before & After the Tomato Plant Reaches 12-18 inches Height
Before the organic tomato plant is 12-18 inches tall, use pruning shears to cut off all the flower clusters, as it assists root formation.
After its 12-18 inches tall, let the flower clusters grow and remove the suckers growing beneath them. Suckers are a competing vine growing in the spot between the the main stem and branches, if left alone they slow fruit development and grow another main stem! However, if you let suckers grow at least 5-6 inches, you can plant them and start an entirely new tomato plant!
3. When Fruit Development Starts
Snap off the suckers growing below the fruit clusters and right above the second leafy stem from the root end. To boost photosynthesis and to shade the fruit, leave out some leaves on every stem.
4. Pruning Throughout the Plant Growth
During the organic tomato gardening process, whenever you see any damaged, broken, or infected stem, snip it off right away. The damaged spot becomes an entrance spot for diseases to get in and possibly kill your beloved tomato plant. Moreover, if the infected tissue is present on the plant, the disease spreads quickly.
5. A Last Prune: 4 Weeks Before The First Fall Frost
Just as the tomato plant season concludes, prune the growing tips from all the chief stems. This pruning tactic, also known as topping, has a double benefit-
· It halts the plant from flowering, as the fruit won’t have enough time to grow & ripen.
· It re-directs the plant towards sending all their sugars to the existing raw tomatoes.
Thereby, helping them to ripen faster and save from picking any green unripe tomatoes before frost.
Now, in case you want to harvest some green firm tomatoes, best skip this final pruning. The unripe tomatoes taste delicious as pickles, jellies, and as fried green tomatoes.