Watering Tomato Plants

Watering tomatoes

Watering your tomato plants is a key element to ensuring you harvest fresh, ripe tomatoes.

Many gardeners enjoy growing tomatoes as a hobby and to benefit from the beauty of the plant. If you are growing your own tomatoes, it’s important to keep in mind how to properly care for your plant.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how often to water your tomatoes. The answer will vary depending on a bunch of factors. We’ll analyze those factors and how they affect your tomato plant’s watering needs.

How often to water tomato plants

When it comes to how often to water tomato plants, the answer depends on a variety of factors. For example, is the tomato plant planted in a pot or in the ground? Is it in direct sunlight or does it only get a partial day of direct sunlight? What has the weather been like recently?

Generally speaking, the best way to determine how often to water your tomato plant is to check the top half-inch of soil for dampness. As a rule of thumb, if it’s dried out, give the tomato plant some water. If it’s still damp or moist in the top half-inch, then no need to water the tomato plant.

Watering tomato plant seedlings

When it comes to how often to water tomato seedlings, you want to make sure you give your young tomato plant the water it needs for its early growth.

Sometimes tomato plant seedlings are grown in bunches. These may soak up moisture faster, so keep tabs on the dampness of the soil for these seedlings.

It’s best to water them lightly more frequently than watering them a lot less frequently. Seedlings are more susceptible to “drowning” when they are overwatered. Too much water at once can also cause the plant to uproot itself, as soil washes away easier when the plant doesn’t have a solid root structure in place.

Plan on watering your tomatoes seedlings every few days, or even daily. Keep an eye on the surface level dryness of the soil, and give the seedlings a sprinkle if it doesn’t look moist.

Tomato seedlings are faster to show it if they don’t have enough water, so if the plant is wilting and the soil is dry, not enough water is probably the problem.

Watering an established tomato plant

Established tomato plants should be watered when the top half-inch of soil is dry. Below are specific growing scenarios and information on how often to water the tomato plant for each.

When to water tomato plants that are planted outside

Tomatoes planted outside is often healthier, as there’s more chance of direct sunlight, and airflow generally helps to protect it against disease.

Plan on watering your established tomato plant a few times a week when it’s planted outside. If you’re not sure whether it needs to be watered, you can check if the surface level soil is moist, or if the tomato plant is wilting.

When to water tomatoes that are planted inside

Tomato plants that are planted inside may not need as much water, as direct sunlight is normally not available. Be extra careful that you aren’t overwatering the tomato plant inside.

If the tomato plant is wilting, that could be a sign that it is under or over-watered. Keep track of how moist the soil is to know the difference before watering the tomato plant more.

When to water tomatoes planted in the landscape

Tomatoes that are planted in the landscape is able to pull up some moisture from the ground, so it won’t need to be watered as much as tomato plants are grown in a container.

When to water tomatoes planted in containers

As mentioned previously, tomatoes that is planted in a container will need to be watered more frequently since they don’t have natural water in the ground as a source of hydration.

Things to consider

There are numerous factors to consider when determining how often to water your tomato plant. Factors like weather, sunlight, the season of the year, and spacing all play a rule.


Spring weather is generally rainier in some areas, so you may not need to water your tomato plant as much. Be careful that you don’t overwater your tomato plant in a season with a lot of rain.

Sunlight exposure

Most tomato plant varieties grow great in full sunlight, but in the heat of the summer, you’ll need to keep these plants watered well. 

Tomato plants that are grown in full sun will dry out fast, especially if they are getting direct sunlight during the noon of the day.

Keeping the tomato plant well watered in these seasons ensures that they’ll be able to produce healthy new shoots of fresh tomatoes in the future.


Depending on the season, you may not need to water your tomato plant as much. In the fall, when the tomato plant is more established and the cooler weather sets in, you may only need to water the tomato plant once a week.


Tomato plants that are planted close together will compete for the same water, and as a result, you’ll need to water them more.

Tips for watering your tomato plant

Here are some tips for watering your tomato plants.

Your tomato plant may wilt with too much water or too little

Keep in mind that a tomato plant that is wilting does not necessarily always need water. Sometimes tomato plants wilt when they have too much water.

Always check the soil dryness to determine if you should give the tomato plant some water.

It may not be a watering problem, but a fertilizing problem

If the plant is wilting or looking yellow, it may not be your watering that is the problem. You may want to check the fertilizer level of the soil it’s planted in to see if that’s the problem.

Make sure your pot has adequate draining

If you are planting your tomatoes in a pot, it’s very important that the pot has proper drainage. tomatoes are susceptible to root rot if water does not drain through the soil, so well-drained soil is essential.


If the tomato plant needs watering a lot, you may want to re-pot the plant so that it has more soil to spread its roots in.

Recap: watering your tomato plant

In conclusion, there are many factors that will affect how often you’ll need to water your tomato plant. The best and most simple thing to do is check the moisture level in the top half-inch of soil to determine if it needs some water.