Finding an overwatered 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; instead they may be burdensome, and you may need help to accomplish them. Don’t worry, as our experts are 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 plant is overwatered because it is getting more water than it needs. Thus, just what it sounds like. However, it is much more tricky to know exactly how to not overwater. And, then again, you should not be underwatering!

– 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 harvesters 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 to wilt and die. This is due to improper drainage in the plant’s pot. When plants receive 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.

The climate you are harvesting tomatoes influences watering frequency; for instance, in a rain-prone area, watering less is perfect, 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 a 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 so they can drain.

– How Much Water Do 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.

How Do You Save Your Overwatered Tomato Plant?

To save your overwatered tomato plant you must first of all cease watering it. Thereafter 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.

– 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, dry soil will come back, and the over-watered plants will start to show signs of new life.

Moreover, there is an excellent trick to dry out the soil, except to stop watering. You can do this by taking the affected tomato plants from the soil and putting the ground 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. If there are any wilting leaves and branches in your tomato plants, immediately trim off the leaves and 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. Drying the roots of the affected tomato plants is another productive way to save your overwatered tomato plants. Placing the plants’ roots on layers of newspaper just like the soil is needed to set will make the roots dry soon.

– Pruning the Diseased Roots

Root rot is a pervasive result of overwatering tomato plants. If roots have been 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. Rotten roots’ smell will also be different due to having fungi on them produced by overwatering.

Use bypass pruners 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 be very preventative of spreading the infection to other tomato plants. Experts recommend pruning off some extra leaves and branches after pruning off the roots so that the foliages are at most twice the amount of the roots.

– Replant the Tomato Plant in a New Location

Replanting the infected tomato plants in the 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 necessary water, and don’t mix fertilizer with fresh soil as it will make the recovery process for the plants harder by imposing stress.

– Ensure 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 the drainage system manually 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 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water you will use to water tomato plants which will cause a boost of oxygen and work to help the plants recover from the issues formed through overwatering.

– How to Prevent Overwatering a Tomato Plant

There is an old saying that prevention is better than cure. So, we should prevent overwatering the tomato plants at first because curing the infected plants due to overwatering will be more challenging than preventing overwatering. 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 your soil is suitable for tomato harvesting or not, and they also can 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 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, and 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 Lead to Yellowing Leaves?

Overwatering causes the tomato plant leaves to turn yellow as improper watering leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. The roots of tomato plants can suck the necessary nutrients from perfectly wet soil but fail to do so in clay.

However, it must be noted that ground with a poorly draining system and excess water providing will make any soil slushy and waterlogged and yellow leaves come out as the aftermath.

– When Does Blossom-end Rot Occur?

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

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 forming different types of fungi and bacteria, which worsen the condition.

– Why Do Tomato Roots Get Rotten When Overwatered?

Tomato roots get rotten if they are provided with surplus water and stay soggy for a long time. Plants with rotten roots cannot sponge sufficient nutrition and water, which can cause death to 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 death to 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 the measures, the problems of overwatering will be solved, and you will be able to harvest tasty tomatoes. So, carefully follow our experts’ advice and enjoy the flavored tomatoes from healthy plants.

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