How long do tomato plants live exactly? In this article, we are going to explore this topic and see how long you can expect a tomato plant to live. Whether it’s your first attempt at growing tomatoes or you are trying to figure out ways of increasing the lifespan of your tomatoes, you really want to understand more about your tomato plants.
How Long do Tomato Plants Live
A tomato plant has a lifespan of about 6 months in which time it is capable of producing tomatoes after which it begins to deteriorate and dry up by 8 months. If kept in a greenhouse, it can live for up to 3 years.
To get a better understanding of the tomato plant and the expected lifespan, let’s look at its lifecycle.
The Lifecycle of a Tomato Plant
A tomato seed will take 5 to 15 days to germinate, 25 to 40 days to mature, and then 60 to 80 days to produce ready to harvest tomatoes.
You can expect to harvest a number of times from a single plant up until the 6 to 8-month mark. If the plant is in an outside environment, you can expect it to gradually die off.
The reason for this deterioration is mainly due to harsh weather conditions. Tomatoes don’t do very well in cold climates and are susceptible to frost damage.
If it is in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse, a tomato plant has been known to go for up to 3 years and keep bearing fruit in season.
In such cases, you can expect the biggest yields in the first season and the production will gradually go down with the passing of time.
The most important factor when it comes to the plant’s-growth and production levels has to do with the care and attention that you give the plant.
Tomatoes only grow on new branches so it is important to prune the plants. Over and above your regular watering, it is important to fertilize the soil with a nitrogen-based fertilizer as well as some potassium.
Does The Yield Increase or Decrease Each Season?
If you are able to keep your tomato plant healthy past the first year in a greenhouse, you can expect to harvest the most out of your plant in the very first year.
The major reason that a lot of tomato plants don’t make it past a year is the winter season where the tomato plant freezes and dies. In warmer climates where the winters aren’t as harsh, chances of tomato plants making it past winter are really slim.
The plant is very sensitive to the cold and will likely not survive through the winter season. Your best chances of having your tomato plant produce for more than is by growing it inside a greenhouse where climatic conditions can be controlled.
In your tomato plant’s second year, you can expect it to have a slightly lower yield than in the first. You can get a lower yield in the third year but some plants stop producing after the second year. It’s basically a downward spiral from the first to the third year as far as production is concerned.
How Can a Tomato Plant Live Longer?
If you want the tomato plant to live longer, you need to be able to take care of it in the best way possible. What this means is that you need to provide the right environment as well as nutrients to keep the plant in the best condition possible.
As already stated, the best environment that gives your tomato plant the best chances at a long life is a greenhouse. The biggest enemy of a tomato plant’s longevity is harsh weather conditions.
A tomato plant is quite fragile. We’ve already mentioned the effect that very cold weather has on it. A tomato plant thrives best in temperatures between 10 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius.
Anything above or below this will pose serious challenges to their growth or, in some cases, cause the death of the plant.
Heavy rains will have a negative impact on the tomato plants as they may lead to the roots drowning and eventually rotting. This can also be the outcome when you overwater your tomato plants. One sign of overwatering your tomato plants is cracked fruit.
Concluding Thoughts on How long Tomato Plants Live
Though the generally accepted lifespan of a tomato plant is around 6 to 8 months, you can get up to 3 years of fruitfulness from your plant.
In order for this to happen though, you will need to be deliberate in the care that you provide your plant. This means the right environment, care. If you get this right, you can get at least, two years of fruitful production from your tomato plant.