How Long Can Tomato Plants Go Without Water?

Tomatoes need a lot of water, like most fruiting plants. Having enough nutrients and water helps to ensure that the plants can put a lot of focus on their fruits. However, you may be wondering exactly how long Tomato plants can go without water.

This is good to know when you are looking at going away for vacation, or even if you are trying to get your fruits to ripen. Tomato plants can last up to three weeks without water, but in most environments your Tomato plant needs to be watered daily or every other day. 

In fact, the only time you don’t want to consider watering every day or every other day is when you are trying to hurry the ripening process of your fruit. Even then, you don’t want to cut the water off completely but just reduce it. If you live in a humid environment, you may be able to cut off water for a while before frost hits, but in most places, you will still need to water occasionally.

How Long Can Tomato Plants Be Without Water?

Tomato plants need a lot of water. At best, they can go about 10 days without watering, but these are in humid locations that aren’t too hot or cold. However, most of the time, Tomato plants will only survive about two or three days before they need watering.

This means that if you are planning on going on vacation, you need to set up an automatic feeder, find someone to watch your plant, or be ready for your plants to be withered and dying when you get back.

In an emergency, your tomatoes can survive up to three weeks without water in ideal conditions. They will be very withered and sickly after three weeks, but if you have a good green thumb, you can revive them.

This isn’t good for the plant, and they definitely shouldn’t go this long without water all the time, but if something happens, you can rest assured that your plant will survive for a little while without water if necessary.

Should You Water Tomatoes Every Day in Hot Weather?

For the most part, watering your Tomato plants once every day or every two days is fine. However, in sandy locations where the water drains quickly and it is hot, such as most places in the Southwest, you may find yourself having to water up to two times a day.

Usually, you will want to water in the morning and at night, and avoid the hottest time of the day, as most of your water will just evaporate instead of going toward your plant.

Should Potted Tomatoes Be Watered Daily?

Tomato plants are very thirsty. If you have them in a potted system, they will do best being watered at least once a day, especially during the growing season. Most of the time, you want a large pot, as Tomato plants tend to expand. This means that you need a lot of water to fully soak the soil.

Watering in the morning is best for Tomato plants, but on really windy, hot, or dry days, you can water later in the evening as well as in the morning.

Do Tomato Plants Like a Lot of Water?

Watering tomato plantsIn case you haven’t figured it out by now, plants like a ridiculous amount of water. While, just like with any other plant, you can overwater Tomatoes and cause damage to the roots, it is very rare. Most of the time, non-experienced gardeners will actually underwater their Tomatoes.

If you are in doubt about whether your Tomato plant needs more water or not, giving them a bit more is often a safe option.

Do Tomato Plants Need Water Everyday?

For the most part, it is a good idea to water your Tomato plant every day. However, depending on your location, they may need to be watered twice a day or once every other day. This can make it difficult to determine how much your plant needs.

Thankfully, Tomato plants work just like any other plant when it comes to checking the water levels for the plant. If you are ever unsure, check the moisture of your soil.

Remember that Tomatoes love water. So instead of the usual 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm), you want to check about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) down in the soil. As long as the soil is nice and damp, your Tomato plant is fine. However, if there is only enough that the first couple of inches is dry, it is time to water again.

As long as you have well-draining soil, you can soak your pot with water. Make sure the tray underneath the plant isn’t holding water at the end and you are good until the soil is dry again.

For Tomato plants that aren’t in a pot, you can still check the soil. Since the soil has to be damp pretty far down, a moisture meter may be a better option than just using your finger.

Once you get the hang of how often your plants need water, you don’t have to check as much. For example, if you notice you have to water your plant daily, after a couple of weeks, you no longer have to check and can just follow the routine of watering your plants daily.

When to Stop Watering Tomatoes?

Once your plant produces fruits that ripen, you can reduce water. You don’t want to stop watering completely, but you can drastically reduce how much you are watering them. Having an excess amount of water, tells the Tomato plant to keep growing.

However, by reducing the water as your plants start to grow fruits and flowers, you can prompt your plant to start ripening. This is a good trick when you are worried about your Tomatoes fully ripening before winter. Start to reduce the watering when they should begin to ripen and that will prompt your Tomatoes to finish fruiting. This is usually about thirty days before the first frost.

What Happens if Tomato Plants Get Very Little Water?

If your Tomato plant doesn’t get enough water, it will often start to droop and wilt. If they aren’t getting water before they begin to grow flowers, they may not produce fruits for the year. They will likely focus on trying to keep themselves alive. If they do fruit, they will often be small, and not taste as good compared to plants that do get plenty of water.

However, if you cut off or reduce watering about thirty days before the first frost is expected and your Tomato plant has already fruited, you can prompt them to ripen. This ensures the Tomatoes are ready to eat before the plant dies and starts dropping fruits from frost.

Can Tomato Plants Recover From a Lack of Water?

Dried tomato plantAs long as your plant is taken care of within three weeks after last being watered, you have a good chance of reviving your Tomato plant. However, it does take a lot of care and attention. Additionally, if your Tomato plant has been underwatered consistently, it may not do well from a lack of water and may not recover.

You may be tempted to water your plant a lot to make up for the lack of water, but this can actually be harmful. Instead, you want to water them a little at a time. If they’ve only gone a day or two without water, they will be fine, but if it has been a couple of weeks, the plant may try to absorb the water so fast that it bursts some cells.

How Do You Keep Tomato Plants Watered on Vacation?

If you are going on vacation and know you won’t be able to water your plant for a while, there are some ways you can keep them watered. Outside, an irrigation or sprinkler system is the best way, but there are ways to water potted Tomato plants as well.

For example, a common way is to take a large bottle or container with a narrow opening, like a water bottle, wine bottle, or specialized plant tool, and fill them up. Then, the day before you leave, place the bottle into the soil, upside down, next to the plant. This will allow water to drain into the soil over time as it needs it, and creates a slow watering system.

Drip irrigation inside is also possible if you are pretty good at working with your hands.


Tomato plants can go up to three weeks without water, though that is not recommended as it will take a lot of care to revive your plant. For most of the growing season, you will need to water your Tomato plant almost daily, if not twice a day. They are very finicky plants that need a lot of care.

However, near the end of the growing season, when you are starting to see signs of the first frost, you can reduce watering the plant. This can help to prompt your Tomato plant to drop fruits so they are all ready and ripe before the frost kills them all off.