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Are your tomatoes not ripening? Tomatoes not turning red on the vine is a trouble that many gardeners have.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular things new gardeners grow in their garden, both traditional gardens or tomatoes in container gardens. And it is also one of the garden plants that most new gardeners seek out how to troubleshoot issues they have growing tomatoes.
Here we will go over the reasons that your tomatoes are not turning red and how you can get tomatoes to ripen.
For most tomatoes to fully ripen it can take anywhere from 2 to 3 months from when you plant the seedling.
Tomatoes go through a few states in the development process. In the early part of the tomato fruit, it will remain green while it grows in size. Once the tomato fruit has reached it’s full size it will start the change in color, going from green to light green and then its final color that it is supposed to be.
Tomatoes Can Be Slow To Ripen Due to Time It Takes for Maturity
Tomatoes come in many varieties, and each one can have a different amount of time it takes for the tomatoes to ripen on the vine.
Most tomato plants have on average 70 to 80 days to fully mature. This is the time from planting the tomato plant seedling to when the tomatoes are fully ripe on the plant.
Some tomato plants have a shorter time to ripening and some have a longer time frame.
It’s a good idea to plant several varieties of tomatoes, this way you can have a wider range of time to maturity.
Another thing you can do to ensure you have a wider time frame that your tomatoes ripen is to stagger planting out, that way everything doesn’t ripen at once with a certain variety you have planted.
There are some tomatoes that only need 50 to 60 days to fully mature and some that can go over 90 days.
Time of Maturity for Popular Tomato Plants
- Cherry Tomatoes – 70 days to maturity
- Beefsteak Tomato – 85 days to maturity
- Roma Tomatoes – 80 days to maturity
- Celebrity Hybrid Slicer Tomato – 70 days to maturity
- Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato – 80 days to maturity
- San Marzano Tomatoes – 85 to 90 days to maturity
- Fourth of July Hybrid Tomato – 50 days to maturity
- Early Girl Tomatoes – 60 days to maturity
- Better Boy Tomato – 70 to 75 days to maturity
- Brandywine Tomato – 90 days to maturity
You Might Not Have Red Tomatoes
Believe it or not, not all tomatoes are red.
With so many heirloom tomatoes available now, you will come across quite a few tomato plants that do not turn red.
You can have tomatoes that even stay green. Other colors you can find are pink, purple, yellow and orange.
Be sure if you are trying out new types of tomatoes to keep track of what you plant and where, as you might have planted one of the varieties that don’t turn red.
Too Hot or Too Cold of Temperatures Can Cause Tomatoes Not To Ripen
Tomatoes need certain temperatures to ripen. If it’s too hot or too cold then you’re tomatoes will not ripen.
What Is The Temperature Range for Tomatoes to Ripen?
The best temperatures for tomatoes to ripen on the vine is between 70°F to 77°F. The more the temperature moves away from this ideal temperature range the more the ripening process will slow down for the tomato.
Too Hot for Tomatoes to Ripen
If the temperature goes over 85°F the tomatoes will ripen very slowly or not ripen at all.
The longer the temperature stays high like this, the more likely it is that the ripening process will stop altogether until temperatures return to the ideal temperature for the ripening process.
We ran into the problem of too hot of temperatures for our tomatoes to ripen this summer. Due to a heatwave, most of our tomatoes stayed green on the vine until September came around.
Too Cold for Tomatoes to Ripen
If temperatures go too cold, that can also cause an issue with tomatoes being slow to ripen or not ripening at all.
Too cold of temperatures can also cause tomatoes that do ripen to be bland and low in flavor.
What Can You Do About Tomatoes Not Ripening?
Most of the time temperatures are going to be the main reason that you do not have tomatoes ripening on the vine.
When it is due to the temperature, the only thing to really do is to wait out the weather.
Cut Off New Growth on Your Tomato Plants
When you are getting closer to the end of the growing season there is not enough time for new fruit to ripen. So you don’t want your tomato plants wasting energy trying to grow more flowers and leaves.
Also, any new flowers will take a couple of months to grow new tomatoes and ripen. So if you are a month away from the end of the season there is no way that these flowers are going to give you more tomatoes. Go ahead and trim new flowers off.
The more concentration your tomato plants can put into the fruit that they already have the better chance you have of it being able to ripen the green tomatoes sitting on its vine.
Get Rid Of The Tiny Ones
If you have tomatoes that are not ripening, and some of those are much smaller than others on the tomato plant, pluck off the tiny tomatoes.
It is hard to remove tomatoes when you are trying to get as much as you can out of your tomato plants, but like the extra new growth, you need to take away anything extra so your tomato plant can use it’s energy on ripening tomatoes that are fully grown.
Can Tomatoes Ripen Off The Vine?
If it comes down to it you can take full-sized green tomatoes that have changed to the lighter green stage can ripen off the vine.
If I have to take the tomatoes off the vine and allow them to ripen, I usually just bring them inside and sit them on a window sill that gets indirect sunlight until they are ready. Usually, a north-facing window is best in the northern hemisphere.
Be sure to not put your tomatoes in the refrigerator. You want them to sit somewhere indoors where they can be in their ideal temperature range of 70°F to 77°F in order to ripen once you have taken them off the vine.