How Much Cold Your Tomato Plants Can Tolerate?

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In this article, let us discuss how much cold could your tomato plants tolerate.

I have used my experience in growing tomatoes and supportive research articles to answer the question.

Let us dive into the article!

How Cold Can Your Tomato Plants Tolerate?

Tomatoes may survive temperatures down to 33F. If the plants are exposed below these temperatures, it may cause leaves and stems to become darker. They may wilt and finally die.

However, they are susceptible to chilling injury between 32F to 41F. It may cause stunted growth, necrosis, and increased susceptibility to diseases.

The temperatures below 50F may cause the catfacing of fruits. There may be problems in seed germination and pollination. The set flowers may drop off.

If you are a beginner in growing tomatoes, you may be wondering how can cold can your tomato plants could tolerate.

Tomatoes are warm-season plants and grow best in areas with higher temperatures.

They do not prefer cold. But they endure and try to survive chill temperatures to some degree.

I prefer growing tomatoes after the last frost and the beginning of spring.

A tomato plant grows well with the right amount of sunlight and temperature.

They require ideal daytime temperatures between 70-85oF and nighttime temperatures range of 59-68 F for optimal fruit production and seed germination.

But when the temperature falls below or above these ranges, it may affect flowering and fruiting.

The tomato plants are sensitive to temperatures below 53.6 F and above 89.6 F.

Table: Temperature and Tomato Plants

Temperatures below 33 FDeath of plants
Temperatures less than 50 FPoor fruit set
Temperatures less than 55 FCatfaced fruits

The temperature and duration of exposure will determine how tomatoes are affected. If the plants are exposed to cold for a longer time, the effects may be worse.

If the temperature drop is only for a few hours, your plants may recover. The recovery of plants also depends on exposure to temperature and damage inflicted on the plants. Allow the plant to thaw and check for damage.

If only the edges of the leaves are affected, the plants may recover. If the whole leaves and lower stem have turned black, you may not recover them. Dispose of the affected plant and start growing a new plant.

You may prune the frozen and black leaves. The fruits exposed to cold for a longer time may freeze. If there is permanent damage to the fruits, you may have to dispose of them.

You may harvest the remaining fruits before the permanent damage and ripen them off the vine.

Quick Protection Tips

You may follow a few tips to protect your tomato plants during cold

  • You may use lightweight frost cloths to protect your tomato plants when the frost is in the forecast. Make sure the plastic does not touch the plant.
  • You may use Christmas or LED lights to help the plants survive on cold nights. It may give additional warmth during the night.
  • Add a generous amount of mulch around the base of the plants to retain heat.
  • Grow cold-tolerant varieties including Celebrity, Golden nugget, Orange Pixie, Bush Beefsteak, Glacier, and Manitoba.
  • You may bring the plants indoors if grown in containers. Take care that you don’t damage the stems and roots of the plants. I grow determinate varieties in the pot that makes the transport easy.

Here is a video on how to protect your tomato plants from cold:


This article may have given you some answers on how cold your tomato plants can tolerate and a few tips to protect your plants.

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