Finding an over watered tomato plant in your garden is enough to cause wrinkles on your forehead, as it can be deadly to the plant. You have to avoid some actions to prevent overwatering your tomato plants, and if the plant is overwatered already, you have to take measures to fix the problem.

Overwatered Tomato Plants

These tasks are not necessarily that easy, and they may even be burdensome. But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you about the signs, care, and treatment of overwatered tomato plants, and you will be fine solving the issue next time.

Why Are Your Tomato Plants Overwatered?

Your tomato plants are overwatered because they’re simply getting more water than they need. If you’re not adding too much water, then the tomatoes might still be overwatered due to poor pot or soil drainage. Sticking to a fixed watering schedule without accounting for external factors can also spell trouble.

However, it is much more tricky to know exactly why your tomatoes appear overwatered when you could swear you haven’t used that much water lately. Here are the main culprits.

– Simply Irrigating Too Much

You may simply be irrigating your tomatoes either too frequently or too heavily, or both. Roots need oxygen to survive and water essentially drowns them. Tomato plants require up to 2 inches of water per week, and if you provide them with more water mistakenly, they show symptoms like yellow leaves, cracked fruits, blossom-end rot, distorted taste of the fruit, and root rot which can end up with the death of the plants.

Overwatering, which gardeners sometimes do even after the plants are finished with their seedling stage, can ruin your favorite garden and destroy your year’s harvesting, so you should take the problem seriously. Soil should be moist, but not soggy.

– Lack of Proper Drainage in Pot

In most potted plants, overwatering is a common cause of the plant wilting and dying. This is due to improper drainage in the plant’s pot. When a plant receives excessive water, it usually gets rid of it through drainage.

However, a lack of proper drainage makes the soil mushy and washes away essential nutrients from the plant. Thus, improper drainage is also a major factor that causes overwatered tomato plants.

Causes of Overwatered Tomato Plants

– Role of Season and Environment

The climate, season, soil and environment play a prominent role in the well-being and growth of your tomato plants. You must keep in mind all these factors when gardening.

You might wonder, “How often should I water tomato plants?” The climate in which you’re growing tomatoes influences watering frequency. For instance, in a rain-prone area, watering less is ideal, but in areas with hot climates, you may need to water your plants daily even after the development of taproot.

Tomato plants can become overwatered due to waterlogged soil as it is the breeding ground of nematodes, bacteria and pathogenic fungi which can infect the tomato plant and cause it to die.

You cannot grow tomato plants in aquatic environments. Regions with excessive rain can kill the plant through overwatering. That’s why you may need to plant them in pots and place them in sheltered areas so they can drain.

– Ignoring How Much Water Tomato Plants Need

Tomato plants don’t need much water to thrive. They require only between 1–2 inches of water every week. However, you will need to water more frequently in the seedling period as plants’ tiny roots cannot reach a greater distance to absorb moisture from the ground. You should avoid the under watered over watered tomato plant extremes, as both of these can get your garden in trouble.

How Do You Save Your Overwatered Tomato Plants?

You can save your overwatered tomato plants by first of all ceasing to water them. Trimming off yellow or wilting leaves can help. You might also need to repot the tomatoes to prevent root rot. Ensuring proper drainage and preventing overwatering in the future are also essential.

You can take different actions depending on the root cause of the problem. If your tomato plants are showing signs like yellowing leaves or cracked fruits, you should take immediate measures to save them. Here’s how to fix overwatered tomato plants at home.

– Stop Watering Tomato Plants

The most fruitful way to help your over-watered tomato plants to recover is to stop watering them as soon as possible. You need to wait to water the plants until the soil dries out completely.

Check the dampness of the soil by putting your finger into it, and if you find out the ground holds a little bit of water, then wait for another day or the required time it takes to dry. Hopefully, you’ll see dry soil again, and the over-watered plants will start to show signs of new life.

Moreover, there is an excellent trick to dry out the soil, besides stopping watering it. You can do this by taking the affected tomato plants out of the pot and putting the soil on newspaper sheets, which will absorb the moisture. This is how the soil will dry out quickly.

– Trim off the Wilting Leaves and Branches

Overwatering makes the tomato leaves and branches wilt and droop, and these are the main signs of overwatered tomato plants. If there are any wilting leaves and branches in your tomato plants, immediately trim off the leaves and secondary stems from the affected tomato plants.

This is a proven action in fighting overwatering issues as it assists the plants in saving energy which they utilize to recover from their weak health caused by overwatering.

Solutions for Overwatered Tomato Plants

Using a pair of bypass pruners is an excellent option to prune the leaves. But remember to sterilize it with alcohol before you use it to cut the foliage, as the plant is already having a hard time due to overwatering – it does not need an infection too.

– Dry the Roots of Tomato Plants

You have read that ensuring the soil becomes dry after overwatering is compulsory to ensure tomato plants’ recovery. This is especially true when dealing with overwatering tomatoes in pots. Drying the roots of the affected tomato plants is another productive way to save your harvest.

Placing the plants’ roots on layers of newspaper just like the soil is needed to set will make the roots dry soon. This is effective for dealing with an early stage over watered tomato plant, before root rot has set in. Will overwatered tomato plants recover? They will, if you’re fast to act.

– Prune Diseased Roots

Root rot is a pervasive result of overwatering tomato plants. If roots have rotted, you need to prune off the diseased roots for the plants to live again. At first, you have to check the amount and degree of root rot by unearthing the soil up to the roots.

The rotten roots are easy to identify as they become black or brown, while healthy roots stay white. The rotten roots’ smell will also be different due to having fungi on them produced by overwatering.

Use a bypass pruner as a tool to cut off the infected roots, and you know the rule that you have to sterilize the pruners before trimming them off by washing them with rubbing alcohol, which will prevent spreading the infection to other tomato plants. Experts recommend pruning off some extra leaves and branches after pruning off the roots so that the foliage is at most twice the amount of the roots.

– Replant the Tomato Plants in a New Location

Replanting the infected tomato plants in a new location after pruning off the roots and foliage is another effective way to save the overwatered tomato plants. There is a massive chance that the fungus or different pathogens have already spoiled the soil, which will get infected again if you plant the tomato plant here. However, replanting the plant in fresh soil of a new location will help you to get rid of this problem.

If you transfer your plant to a pot, then be careful not to use the old, over-watered soil. Now carefully provide them with the necessary water, and don’t mix fertilizer with fresh soil as it will make the recovery process for the plants harder by inducing stress.

– Ensure a Good Drainage System

When you decide to replant your tomato plants in the fresh soil of a new location, ensure that the area has a sound drainage system, as it manages over-watering problems by driving away the excess water. If you plant tomato plants in pots, choose pots with a proper drainage system.

You can water your newly settled plants with a watering can or a garden hose but be careful not to leave the soil soggy. For your tomato plants in the pots, don’t overwater so that the pots’ drainage holes cannot bypass it. You can use chemical methods to help your over-watered tomato plants as well.

Mix one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water that you will use to water tomato plants, which will cause a boost of oxygen and work to help the plants recover from the issues stemming from overwatering.

– Prevent Overwatering Your Tomato Plants in the Future

There is an old saying that prevention is better than cure. So, we should prevent overwatering the tomato plants because curing the infected plants is more challenging than preventing overwatering, just as you’ve seen above. Using standard, healthy soil that is moist enough but doesn’t hold access water is significant to avoid the problem.

It is recommended to get your garden soil examined by the Local Extension Service so that they can advise you whether it is suitable for tomato growing or not, and they can also prescribe any change you need to make to your soil to make it favorable for your plants.

When you are harvesting tomatoes in a lifted bed, a perfect mixture of soil and compost will help the plants to grow flawlessly and produce tomatoes, and if you are using a pot to plant a tomato plant, you are using good potting soil with suitable texture along with avoiding muddy garden soil which holds extra water is mandatory.

If the tomato plant is grown in a container, then make sure that it has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom of its container. Moreover, if you have placed a tray at the bottom, you need to clean it by throwing out the water right after you have watered the plant.

Checking out the soil moisture every time you water the soil and maintaining it is crucial to prevent overwatering. For the task, a moisture meter can help you which you need to put into the soil to estimate the moisture, or you can use your finger as a moisture meter by putting it 1-2 inches into the soil to check the humidity.

If you feel that the soil is dry on the tip of your finger, water your plants and provide enough watering so that the soil gets wet from the deep, which confirms the roots to grow deeper and become robust. If it feels wet to your finger, wait until the soil gets dry to water again.

treatment of overwatered tomato plants

Frequently Asked Questions

– How Long Do Tomato Plants Take To Recover From Overwatering?

Tomato plants take between 7 – 14 days to recover from overwatering if you can take care of them properly. More damaged plants need more time to heal, though. If you take swift action the plant ought to survive, but sometimes it’s too late and you will have to discard it.

– Why Does Overwatering Cause Tomato Plant Leaves To Turn Yellow?

Overwatering causes tomato plant leaves to turn yellow because excess water in the soil leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. The roots of tomato plants can suck the necessary nutrients from moderately moist soil, but they can “drown” and be unable to breathe in soggy soil.

However, it must be noted that a poorly draining system and excess water will make any soil slushy and waterlogged, regardless if it’s clay or the highest-quality potting soil, and yellow leaves will appear in the aftermath.

– When Does Blossom-End Rot Occur in Tomato Plants?

Blossom-end rot occurs in tomato plants when they receive excess water on a regular basis, as too much water drives away calcium from the soil. Besides, if the roots stay soaked, they lose the ability to take in nutrients, even if the soil is enriched with calcium-rich fertilizer.

A lack of calcium will cause the bottom of the tomatoes to become brown and lumpy, and then the damaged tissue of the fruits assists in harboring different types of fungi and bacteria, which worsen the condition.

– Why Do Tomato Roots Get Rotten When Overwatered?

Tomato roots get rotten when overwatered because surplus water and staying soggy for a long time creates the perfect environment for pathogenic fungi or bacteria. The roots won’t be able to breathe, and the anaerobic conditions will allow pathogens to attack them, causing them to rot.

Plants with rotten roots cannot sponge sufficient nutrition and water, which can cause the death of your plants. You can save your plant if you can see the disease at the initial stage.


Overwatered tomato plants face plenty of health issues, but there are remedies. To summarize the final thoughts, we find that:

  • Overwatering can cause the death of your tomato plants and ruin tomato harvesting.
  • The signs of overwatering tomato plants are yellow leaves, cracked fruits, rotten roots, etc.
  • To prevent overwatering, you should water tomato plants carefully, not more than 2 inches per week.
  • If the plants are already overwatered, stop watering and replant the plants in fresh soil, which will help the plants recover.

If you can follow these measures, the problems of overwatering will be solved, and you will be able to harvest tasty tomatoes. So, carefully follow our advice and enjoy the flavored tomatoes from healthy plants.

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