Why is one plant growing faster then others?

John408June 19, 2012

Hello everyone. Im new to posting here, but have been looking through the forum for some time. I have a question that I hope someone might be able to answer for me.

About 9 weeks ago I started growing some tomato plants from seeds. After about 3 weeks they were pretty good size seedlings and I transplanted them into the ground. I also planted a tomato plant that I bought that was already about 1 foot tall in the same area.

There was one seedling that looked just about dead and I thought, what the heck, and planted in a pot. To my surprise over the last 6 weeks the plant that looked just about dead continued to grow and a couple of weeks ago flowers started to appear. About that same time, the plant that I put in the ground that I bought from a store also started to flower. All the other tomatoes that I planted in the ground are continuing to grow, but not a single flower on any of them.

Now, what surprised me even more today is that the one that I put in a pot that I thought was almost dead now has two little tomatoes starting to appear. This excited me (serious, I got excited) because Ive been patiently waiting for any sign of tomatoes. But, it also made me thing, why are the others not showing any fruit or even flowers?

Sorry for taking so long to get to the questions, but thats what it is. Why is the tomato in the point doing better then the ones in the ground. The only thing I can think of is the one in the pot was planted in store bought soil and the others in the native dirt we have. Could that make that big of a difference?

I really appreciate any info that anyone here can give. Thank you.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

All of the factors you mention are determined by the growing conditions provided and more importantly, by the variety genetics. You don't mention any variety names so are they all the same or all different varieties?

If they are different varieties then you can't really compare them - each does its own thing and all have different rates of growth, blooming cycles, fruit set patterns, days to maturity, etc.

If they are all the same variety then the differences can usually be explained by different growing conditions.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Thank you for the response Dave. That was my mistake on not stating the type of tomatoes I planted. All the tomatoes that I started from seeds are homestead and the one I purchased from the store says "Big Boy" on the tag. I guess the only major factor that I can see in the difference with planting is the soil that I used to plant the one that is starting to show tomatoes. I wasnt sure if that would really be enough to cause such difference, but I guess it is.

Thanks again for your reply. Im really new to this and I often have questions like this. My wife keeps telling me that I just need to be patient and she is probably right, again. :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Tomatoes can vary a lot. Even seeds from the same package or even the same tomato can vary. Some of it is phenotypes where small variations in DNA gene pool for a variety bring out different characteristics. I've even seen variations in clones, which I believe is due to epigenetics affected by slight environment differences triggering different genes.

As far as fruiting, quite often stress will cause early fruiting in the plant's "emergency" response to unfavorable conditions. I've grown from seed a lot, and have noticed that very small differences when a plant is small (such as losing a leaf when it has very few) can cause a major domino affect making the plant quite different when it gets larger.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:24PM
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"The only thing I can think of is the one in the pot was planted in store bought soil and the others in the native dirt we have. Could that make that big of a difference?"

Oh yeah, soil can make a big difference. In zone 6 I got my first cherry tomato yesterday. Many of my plants have green fruit just starting to turn. Two yards over, my neighbor has plants just as big as mine, but with no fruit yet. His were planted a week or two later, but the main difference seems to be the water-soluble red Miracle-Gro plant food he used three times. I use compost as mulch, and once this year used a slow-release Tomato food. Also, I spray compost tea on the tomato leaves, although this year have not done so yet.

Have not told the neighbor he may also get Blossom end rot from too much nitrogen.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Agree with Robert. Since I grow both in containers and in ground I see major differences in plants grown both ways. In general, at least where I grow, tomatoes grow much better in ground then in pots, but just the opposite for peppers.

Tomatoes can grow very deep roots in the ground, one reason I think they do much better. It would be hard to do a pot that allows roots to go down 5 feet. Peppers are a different story. Their roots are much more compact and seem less restricted by the containers, and like the additional warmth the container soil gets.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Can't tell from the original post, but the person may only have planted on type of tomato.

In my experience, neighbors make three mistakes:

1) Plant tomatoes too close together
2) Don't keep bottoms of plants clear of branches which allows wilts and blights to move up the plant faster
3) Only plant one variety of tomatoes.

I plant five or more types, some heirloom, some not, and some cherry tomatoes. Something also does well, and others have a poor year. I'd rather plant three plants each of three types, rather than plant twenty of the same kind.

Actually four mistakes.
4) Water too frequently.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:51AM
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I planted two different types of plants. Over the last few days I was shocked to see most of my plants start to blossom flowers and one more is now showing two tomatoes. It seems like I really do just need to be more patient. I do fear that I did plant too many tomato plants too close to each other.

I do remove leaves and such from beneath the plants enough so there are never much there. As for watering, I think when I first started I was watering too much. I now water every other day, or even sometimes every third day.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:51PM
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