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Hanging tomato shriveled and died

by Art
(Dunnellon, FL)

Last year, in late May/June, I planted tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket with holes in the side, like a hanging plant. I kept them watered, but they died. I didn't see evidence of disease or pests. I live in Florida. Is it possible heat got to them?

Dear Art,

Yes, from your description, heat is the likely culprit -- or even too much sun.

The main challenge to growing tomatoes in containers (whether hanging or on the patio) is watering. They dry out quickly because roots have no further to reach than the confines of the pot.

When growing tomatoes in hanging pots or containers, check the soil often. In very hot areas, like Florida, you may need to water even twice a day.

Moreover, excess sunlight or consistently high temperatures can "bake" your plants. Heat stress can kill them. Consider placing your hanging tomato in an area where it gets morning sun -- rather than late afternoon sun or sun all day. Or set it in partial shade, where it gets just 4-6 hours of sun a day rather than 8+, to protect it from overheating and drying out too quickly.

Since you live in a very warm area, you could also start and grow tomatoes earlier than May and June. Many gardeners in southern regions grow two crops of tomatoes -- the first in early spring, harvesting by May and June, and the second crop after the heat of the summer has passed.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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