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Topless Tomato

BoaterBoater Posts: 241

Hi folks,

One of my Tomato plants has done something odd.

It looks as though it has grown a branch but forgotten to send a main stem shoot upwards from the node. It grows up from the ground, has a branch off the the left, goes up a bit more and then turns right and has formed a branch, but there is no top to it, no cluster of leaves growing any further in any direction, just the leaves on the 2 branches getting a bit bigger.

The other 17 plants are doing fine (one seems to be splitting into 2 main stems about 4 feet up), some are almost to the tops of the cane support I built when I put them in the growbags but this one has fallen way behind and seems to have forgotten how to grow. Is that normal, or has something eaten the growing shoot?

For anyone wondring - yes I sowed the seeds fairly late so they are well behind most people's, I think I see some buds forming on a couple of the larger ones though.


  • Mel McbrideMel Mcbride Posts: 112

     Could be you have a genetic deformity? Do you have any pics you could upload?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    I agree with Mel - tomatoes are rather variable in their genetics.  I see this more often on some varieties than others - Black Russian being one.  If a sideshoot develops it will become the leader but if you have already pinched those out, there's nothing you can do unfortunately.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    I'll try and get a photo later, I figured it was probably just an evolutionary error on the part of that plant. They are cherry tomatoes, I think the variety is Sweet Millions.

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    When that happens to one of mine I've nipped the main shoot out imageimageimage Not saying you have !! image

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    Finally got round to getting some photos, not the greatest since I drowned my camera a couple of months ago so had to use my phone:


    There are a couple of small lower branches I forgot about, but the main one where the top branch goes right is as big or bigger than anything on the plants that have grown properly and are 4 or 5 times the height.



    Since I first noticed the problem some kind of shoot has appeared roughly where the main stem should be.

    Is it worth seeing if this shoot develops or should I cut my losses, pull the plant and stick something else in the middle of the growbag?

  • You could nip out this side shoot, now the main shoot is starting to devolope again, hopefully, with toms I tend to not go from a support in the way u have, I prefer to tie a piece of string around the base and a line across the top of my greenhouse, to attach the string to, and then feed the stem around this string as the plant grows, therefore all toms grow upward and u see and nip out all new grow, that deters the plants from producing flowers and then ofc toms, but good luck with this little one, maybe he was just reaching for airspace that was not there, so decided to go his own way lol

  • Simon KnottSimon Knott Posts: 115

    Similar thing happenned to one of my plants this year - check it out on my latest video about growing tomatoes: here is the link -

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    Simon - your tomato plants are huge compared to mine!

    I hope they just have some catching up to do (or are a smaller variety), but on the other hand I have the grow bags on racking at the height of the dwarf wall around my conservatory (need the space underneath to store kayaks) so they will reach the roof long before they get as big as yours!

    Really good to see that you have managed to get side shoots to carry on from your 2 that stopped growing, hope they make fruit, and hope mine grows on too and fruits!

    Really useful video, thanks for sharing!

  • Simon KnottSimon Knott Posts: 115

    Glad you liked my video. That one is part of a series of 6 short videos. here is a link to the playlist that contains all 6 videos, if you have a rainy 40 mins to spend!  Hope your toms recover and provide fruit!

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