Is this blossom drop? Or a baby tomato?

nubiegardenerMay 11, 2013

Hey guys, so my tomatoes are blooming with a bunch of flowers. I have a nice round tomato on one plant, but the rest are looking like ones in this photo. Is this a baby tomato? Or is it unpollinated? It's been like this for a week with no growth. This is my first time growing tomatoes, so I've no idea what to look for. Thanks!

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Actually it's an unpollinated blossom. If it were blossom drop, the whole thing falls off.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:46PM
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nubiegardener

So should I just cut it off? This has happened to almost every flower on my tomato plant. I tap and shake my plants every day. What else can I do to improve pollination?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:54PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have never heard of "unpolinated" tomato. I know it happens in melond, squash... but not in tomatoes. Tomato flowers have both sex organs(male and female on each flower) Nothing will form if polination is not done.

So my adviice is, just leave them to be.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:28AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Well....it's definitely not pollinated. I've seen enough of 'em. The pollination just didn't take. Common in early season. Not every blossom pollinates...oh how I wish they would. You can remove it or it will eventually fall off by itself. It's not taking anything away from the plant if you leave it. If you leave it, then you can watch it and see what happens to it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 10:56AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Sorry, ed, but all baby tomatoes start out that way. It may grow larger or stay as it is, but it's definitely been pollinated. Unpollinated flowers are unmistakeable because the last half inch or so of the flower stem falls off, not simply the yellow flower petals. That is blossom drop: when the whole thing falls off: the petals, the green sepals, and half the blossom stem.

nubie, what variety/varieties are you growing? That may be the issue in this case.

I grew German Queen (a huge beefsteak) a couple of years ago, and its baby fruit (the size of yours) didn't grow until the plant had been in the ground for a month or more. When the plant felt it was ready, a few of the "old" baby fruit finally grew larger (after having just sat there unchanging for 4-8 weeks!), as well as a larger percentage of the baby fruit from the newer clusters. Why? German Queen is supposed to be mid-season, but mine behaved like a late variety that just plain wasn't able to support fruit until later in the season. Well, the fruit were definitely worth waiting for, and there were plenty to share with family and friends ... eventually!

So your plant may be a late variety that just isn't ready to bear fruit yet (at the moment still growing a good root system; or whatever). Or it may be unhappy for some reason.

Here's the "Timeline of a Tomato Truss" created by a former GWebber (now available only on the Wayback Machine). It shows how long it takes fruit to form (when things are being normal, at least).

http://web.archive.org/web/20101218050351/http://tomatosite.com/index.php?NT=Cultivation&RE=Truss_Timeline

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:50AM
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nubiegardener

It's doing this on both my white queen heirloom plant and better boy. The better boy, however, has one fruit that has grown over the last week, compared to the white queen and rest of the better boy's "unpollinated" or "baby tomato". This is why I was unsure if it was unpollinated. Obvious, I pulled off a closed bloom and took it a part to examine it. It too contains that small fruit in my photo. I read that this is called the "ovary" and can be unpollinated, resulting in what I see in the photo. But your experience is telling me otherwise. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:14PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

As Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by just watching."

Jim

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Jimster: Thanks for the Yogi Berra quote. Lot of wisdom in that! Here's another Yogi-ism for gardeners:

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:01PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Sorry missingtheobvious.......ok, it might have technically been pollinated if there was pollen transfer, but that one definitely didn't take. I've seen more of these than I can remember and not one of them was ever a viable fruit. Like the OP stated, they have one that is a "nice round" tomato on one plant. That one shown in the photo is not nice and round. Viable pollinated tomatoes are roundish and smooth, and not the heavily creased puckered little mass you see in the photo. The smooth part is the key. I can most always look at a tomato and quickly tell if it's viable or not. I don't care how long you stare at that one, it won't grow anymore.

nubiegardner, you will eventually get tomatoes on your plants. Some take longer to set fruit than others.

Peace out.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:17PM
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hudson___wy(3)

Newbiegardener - I had the same concerns as you - especially because my plants are in an unheated GH where temps got around or below 40 degrees at night. The fruit did set for me (3-4 weeks ago initially) and the baby tomatoes did continue to develop as shown in this photo. The larger tomatoes are the baby tomatoes 3 weeks ago.

All of these tomatoes are on the same cluster and are setting fruit on their own time table. Some of the blossoms have not set fruit but just have dried up blossoms with no baby tomatoes. All of the blossoms that have a baby tomato - regardless of the shape - are developing into tomatoes - however, some of them have weird shapes. My heirloom tomato plants are setting fruit over a longer period of time than the hybrids. The Better Boy plants are very predictable where the German Giants do their own thing - it seems.

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Sun, May 12, 13 at 23:31

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:15PM
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tomatovator21

Let it grow. It will be fine.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:16AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I guess we'll have to depend on nubiegardner to report back and let us know if "that one" in the photo developed into a tomato.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:30AM
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hudson___wy(3)

The tomato will probably look like one of this non-marketable beauties. I do hope you will report back and give us an update on your blossom with a photo nubiegardener - we are all anxious to see how it turns out?!

I am amazed at how long a blossom will sit with now apparent action and then weeks later set fruit! In this photo one blossom is at least 3 weeks behind the larger tomato on the same cluster. The blossoms on the cluster appeared to develop all at the same time - and there are still blossoms on this cluster that have not yet set fruit!?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:38AM
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nubiegardener

Nothing has changed with the "tomato" shown in the photo. However, another bloom shriveled up several days ago, producing a small tomato that has continued to grow since then. This is on the same plant. I might have to agree with Ed and say that the one shown in the photo is either unpollinated or partially, since its been over a week w no change. But I'll continue to wait and give you all am update as the season progresses. Everyday I tap and shake the bloom yet see pollen fall only on a very few. Any reasons why I don't see pollen fall out with the rest? I'd shake them until they begin to dry with nothing in site.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:43PM
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tomatovator21

Just relax and let the plants grow. The hardest thing to master is patience when growing tomatoes is new to you. It is only May. The season is just starting. That little tomato could sit there till August before it begins to get larger. They do not always develop in a nice exact order on the vine.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:32PM
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robeb_gw

It is only May. The season is just starting. That little tomato could sit there till August before it begins to get larger. They do not always develop in a nice exact order on the vine.

I've never seen one set in May and not start its growth until August.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:39PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

That is a baby tomato . I think Ed is pulling your leg . This is how all toms start ,it just happens this one is not round and pretty.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 2:36AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It is a baby.......it's just not going to grow. Like the OP just said in their last post :-)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:37AM
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tomatovator21

It is only May. The season is just starting. That little tomato could sit there till August before it begins to get larger. They do not always develop in a nice exact order on the vine.
I've never seen one set in May and not start its growth until August.

I have, many times. It is not unusual for one or three blossoms at the bottom of the plant not develop their tomatoes at the same time most of the others do. I think most people pull them off when they are trimming the lower leaves as they think they will not grow. From my experience, they will. They may not be pretty but eventually they will get larger. If they don't they will fall off on their own.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:19AM
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nubiegardener

As promised, here is an update. Almost a month later, the little "unpollinated" tomato is actually forming. Weird, because the bigger tomato on the vine formed much, much later than the one in the 1st picture and grew large quickly. It wasn't until last week, 3 weeks later, that the small tomato started developing. Ed, I guess we were wrong and it is in fact a pollinated tomato.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:30PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I am amazed, but let's see if they develop into viable edible tomatoes. I am certainly willing to admit to being at least half wrong at this point :-)

Really appreciate the update!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 1:35AM
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bsmith717(6)

Can something be "partially pollinated"? I thought it was all or nothing.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 10:38PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

To my understanding, either a flower is pollinated or Not pollinated. Unpollinated tomato flower will not grow any fruit, even a tiny ones. It is possible that the plant has bad genes.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 2:06AM
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tomatovator21

The plant does not have bad genes. Environmental conditions are to blame.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:47AM
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Djole(6)

Tomatovator1 is right. That kind of abnormality happens mostly early in the season when the temperatures during the flower setting and pollination aren't optimal. The resulting tomato will be "zippered" or "catfaced", making it ugly to the eye but by no means unpalatable - it will taste like any other, normal tomato.

Djole

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 7:59AM
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tomahtohs

I've seen this type of thing fairly frequently. Sometimes a pollinated tomato blossom will sit in a "dormant" state for as long as a month or more before actually growing. I've never been able to pin down what the exact cause is, but it seems to have a connection with how much "extra energy" the plant has. In other words, if my plant has tons of fruit already on it, the newer blossoms seems more likely to go dormant until some of the tomato fruit ripen and come off. Then - when the plant has more juice to spare - the sleepy buds awaken and start growing.

Kevin

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 9:12PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

These are just ABNORMALITIES, that occurs in animals and plant world. We have seen people that are born disfigured, midget etc. Or a woman takes birth control pill and get pregnant with half dozen or more babies. I am not a scientist but Ithinks it can be genetic and environmental.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:51AM
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Tomatobaby

I have a whole bunch of these ... I am hoping these are pollinated because I have a huge problem with blossom drop right now and no rounds ones on the tomato at all.

Can you give us another update?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:02PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yes, I was just thinking the same thing yesterday, update please.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Fapington

I'm having the exact same problems with these Triple L Crop tomatoes. They appear to have pollinated, but refuse to grow. These plants are 70+ days old, lots of blossoms, I pollinate daily by tapping the plants, and this is the result. Not a single flower has grown beyond the point in the photo. Other varieties of tomatoes are doing just fine. Super frustrating!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:23AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The OP failed to report back. But the THING turned into some kind of tomato.
Fruits are the daughters of the plants. One cannot have a daughter without a father (pollen/sperm).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:00AM
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