Why Are My Tomatoes Very Small? (6 Causes)

Tomatoes are shiny red, yellow, orange, or purplish pulpy edible fruit that can be consumed as a vegetable. They are botanically classified as fruits because they evolve from flowers and have seeds. These are abundantly grown as cash crops. Farmers and gardeners experience plenty of problems with fruits like tomatoes that have been produced abundantly for years.

Tomatoes are easily vulnerable to pests and diseases like blight, which most farmers have faced many times. One such constraint relates to tomato plants produce fruits of small size, which could ultimately harm farmers whose livelihoods solely depend on tomato production.

Farmers can fail to make most of their agricultural ventures due to a lack of familiarity with the modern means of tomato production. If you have observed that your tomatoes are of inferior quality or reduced in size, find out some reasons why tomato fruit cannot grow to its full size and the best solution for it.

Causes For Tomatoes Not Growing To Full Size

Here’s why your tomatoes do not grow to full size:

1. Variety

Certain species of tomato naturally do not produce large tomatoes. These seeds will bear tomatoes that fully ripen at a small size. One possible explanation for small tomatoes might be that the gardening store may supply only small varieties.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

If you face this problem, try buying organic tomato seeds online. Big boy varieties are highly recommended as they are rich in flavor and bear huge tomatoes. They are straightforward to cultivate as well.

2. Water Insufficiency

Water insufficiency is another primary concern, which leads to the production of tiny tomatoes. You could be using seeds that yield large tomatoes, but if you are unaware of the proper irrigation techniques for your tomato plants, you may still yield small tomatoes. Make sure your tomato plants have plenty of water to bear large fruits.

As it is the bitter truth that 93-95% of tomato is water, water insufficiency may lead to stunted growing tomatoes and small-sized fruits.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

Irrigate your tomato plants at equal intervals if the weather is arid. Early morning is a good time to water your garden, as the rate of nutrient uptake is higher in the morning. Replace your old varieties of small-sized tomatoes with a larger one.

I recommend that you grow natural varieties of more giant tomatoes suitable for your climate and environment.

3. High Temperature

High temperatures may lead to the development of small-sized tomatoes even when there is a water surplus. Tomatoes perform best when the day temperature ranges from 18.3 to 29.4 degrees Celsius and lower to 23.9 degrees Celsius at night. Extreme high temperatures can detain flowering and fruit set on tomatoes.

Detained flowering and fruits refer to plants that lack sufficient energy to bear fruit as large as we would like.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

There are a few tips we can follow to overcome the profound negative influence of high temperatures on tomato plants, such as continuing to irrigate your tomato plants. Mulching may help out to absorb water and protect against heat.

4. Sunlight

Poor sunlight may lead to a lack of photosynthesis in plants, which may cause a deficit of energy for the growth of fruits.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

To fix this problem, grow your tomato plants in an area with excess sunlight until the end of the growing season. An important point to note is that a position that looks sunny in early spring may be covered by shade in the later season. If your tomato plants are already growing, then it is imperative to remove some branches that are shading your garden.

Avoid growing plants in the vicinity of trees, buildings, garages, or houses.

A wooden bowl full of small, fresh tomatoes on a dark textured surface, symbolizing size concerns in tomato cultivation.

5. Pollination

Minimal pollination is another cause of small-sized tomatoes. Poor pollination takes place as a result of multiple factors. One reason could be very high humidity levels. The tomato is a monoecious plant, meaning that both male and female parts are present in the same flower.

For a tomato plant to bear fruit, the male part must approach the female to spread pollen. High humidity is a barrier to releasing pollen, as the air is too adhesive.

On the other hand, when humidity is too low, pollen has difficulty adhering to the female part. Another factor leading to poor pollination of a tomato plant is a shortage of interest in pollinating agents such as bees.

High temperatures can stop bees from doing their task of pollination. The use of insecticides or pesticides by surrounding neighbors can interrupt the activity of pollinating agents.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

To combat this issue, prevent the usage of insecticides/pesticides, and raise awareness among people in your surroundings to do the same. Grow some other plants to entice bees, and attract them into your garden.

Sadly, there is no way to overcome humidity; similarly, you can’t solve the lack of pollinators. Fortunately, it is possible to pollinate your tomato flowers yourself.

You can touch each flower using an electric toothbrush to provoke the bees and other pollinating agents. This should provoke the male part of the flower to let out its pollen.

As described earlier, high humidity can be an issue, so try this out when it is not humid.

6. Climate Change

Due to the increase in greenhouse gases, climate change can be a drawback to fruits and vegetables like tomatoes. This involves anthropogenic activities (human interventions). Climate change leads to the early growth of tomato plants and small-sized tomatoes.

The Ultimate Solution to the Problem

This issue of climate change can be tackled by growing climate-resistant varieties.

Additional Causes of Small Tomatoes

Other factors can result in your tomatoes not growing to full size. For example, If your plants pass through stressful circumstances such as extreme heat or drought, disease, or insect infestation, they start to channel their energy on the roots rather than fruit production.

Excessive fertilizer or nitrogen is another reason your tomatoes are not big. Overwatering your plants can be an issue too. Sometimes gardeners become too enthusiastic and tend to supply their tomato plants with lots of water.

Overwatering your plant can create room for a humid condition, leading to fungal issues such as root decay. Several types of pests can attack your plant. When pests attack your plant and eat up the plant foliage, it reduces the size of the tomatoes.

Other causes of small-sized tomatoes include lack of pruning, poor soil, and limited growing space.


In a nutshell, the parameters responsible for small tomatoes in your field/garden are apparent. All of the above-described solutions explain how to best combat the issue of having small-sized tomatoes ranging from small varieties to pollination issues.

Applying the techniques mentioned to address each issue can help you grow larger tomatoes.

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