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General Information

Plant Care Instructions By Lucy Warren

Tomato plants are native to tropical South America and dislike cold. In Southern California plants will bear from late spring to early autumn and occasionally winter over.

Is Indoor Plant?

No

These month by month plant care tasks are for plants in the following zones :
Sunset Zones : 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
USDA Zones : 10a, 10b, 11
Web Link - For more information

Plant Care Instruction

  • Scroll down or click on any month for plant care instructions
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    February
    1. Sow Seeds

    You can start your tomato seeds in flats either indoors with grow lights or in a warm sheltered area that gets nearly full sun. Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.
    2. Protect

    Protect young plants from cold weather.
    March
    1. Buy

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.
    2. Sow Seeds

    Start your tomato seeds in flats. Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.
    3. Protect

    Protect young plants from cold weather.
    April
    1. Buy

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.
    2. Plant

    Time to plant your tomato seedlings.
    3. Sow Seeds

    Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.
    4. Fertilize

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.
    5. Water

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    6. Prune

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.
    7. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.
    May
    1. Buy

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.
    2. Plant

    Time to plant your tomato seedlings.
    3. Fertilize

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.
    4. Water

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    5. Prune

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.
    6. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.
    7. Harvest

    Early planted and early bearing varieties may be ripening.
    June
    1. Buy

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.
    2. Plant

    Time to plant your tomato seedings.
    3. Fertilize

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.
    4. Water

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    5. Prune

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.
    6. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.
    7. Harvest

    Enjoy your harvest
    July
    1. Plant

    Last chance, plant tomato seedlings by July 15!
    2. Fertilize

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.
    3. Water

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    4. Harvest

    Enjoy your harvest
    August
    1. Water

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    2. Harvest

    Enjoy your harvest
    September
    1. Water

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.
    2. Harvest

    Enjoy your harvest.
  • Buy

    When's the best time to buy this plant? When can you buy these from seed (if you can)? When is it usually available? What are things to look for when you're buying it? Or anything other tidbit of information you can share!

    March

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.

    April

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.

    May

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.

    June

    Buy your tomato seedlings for planting.

    Plant

    When's a good time to plant this plant or bulb? Any special planting instructions?

    April

    Time to plant your tomato seedlings.

    May

    Time to plant your tomato seedlings.

    June

    Time to plant your tomato seedings.

    July

    Last chance, plant tomato seedlings by July 15!

    Sow Seeds

    When can you plant these seeds? When's the best time? Can you start them indoors and move them out? Do they have any special requirements?

    February

    You can start your tomato seeds in flats either indoors with grow lights or in a warm sheltered area that gets nearly full sun. Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.

    March

    Start your tomato seeds in flats. Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.

    April

    Consider selecting varieties with disease resistance.

    Fertilize

    When should you fertilize this plant? Which kind of fertilizer do you recommend? Should you use different fertilizers at different times of year?

    April

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.

    May

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.

    June

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.

    July

    Amend the soil adding compost and/or fertilizer to the soil prior to planting. For continuing good crops feed again one to two months after planting.

    Water

    Is there a time to reduce or increase watering? Any special requirements? Things to avoid during certain times of the year?

    April

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    May

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    June

    Plant in moist soil, keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    July

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    August

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    September

    Keep soil evenly moist (but not overly wet) around plant at all times for maximum production and minimal pest and disease problems.

    Prune

    When's a good time to prune this plant? How about deadheading, pinching back, trimming or any other grooming? Any special requirements?

    April

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.

    May

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.

    June

    Pinch back to encourage full, compact growth.

    Protect

    When and how should you protect this plant from birds, deer, rabbits? Does this plant need be covered, or wrapped or painted or moved?

    February

    Protect young plants from cold weather.

    March

    Protect young plants from cold weather.

    Pest/Disease Inspection

    What are the common problems this plant will face and when should you look for them to appear?

    April

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.

    May

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.

    June

    Check plants regularly for diseases and pests, especially tomato horn worm - Green caterpillar-like insects with horns and they bite! and also do short work with the leaves of the tomato plant.

    Harvest

    When's a good time to harvest this plant? What's the best way to harvest? Are there special requirements or features?

    May

    Early planted and early bearing varieties may be ripening.

    June

    Enjoy your harvest

    July

    Enjoy your harvest

    August

    Enjoy your harvest

    September

    Enjoy your harvest.

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About the Author
Lucy Warren
Author: Lucy Warren
Lucy Warren is a longtime regional gardening professional in southern California. She has written for many local and national publications, including a regular gardening column in the San Diego Union-Tribune. She has also been editor for California Garden magazine. She is a life-member of the San Diego Horticulture Society, a UCCE Master Gardener, and a horticulture chair on the board of Friends of Balboa Park. She is a sought-after speaker and expert on native plants and sustainable landscaping.
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