Sunday, June 3, 2012

Suckering Tomatoes

I like to grow open pollinated, heirloom indeterminate tomatoes. Because indeterminate tomatoes grow and produce all season I like to thin out the suckers from my tomatoes. I know this is a huge question with tomato growers with many different opinions on the subject. For us it helps to keep our very large tomato vines inside their cages, well supported and makes picking a little easier. It is basically just trimming the branches of the tomato. You may get fewer tomatoes but the ones you get seem to be healthier and are easier to care for and pick.  I think it also helps with improved air circulation within the bush and fewer disease problems.  

I tried to label on this photo the main stem, the main leaf and the sucker. Notice where the main leaf attaches to the main stem that there is a shoot right in that junction. They usually are very vertical. I simply take and snap that off when they are very small. This helps to thin the plant and the plant can concentrate on tomatoes instead of growing all those leaves. 

Notice on this picture above where I have snapped that sucker off right there in the junction. This doesn't harm the plant at all. 

Do you sucker your tomato plants? 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 


  1. I am going to try this with my tomato plants. Thanks for the tip. It makes sense to me.

  2. Thank you for this tip, one of my heirloom plants is getting really really large and I have all of my veggies in large containers now-I will watch for new suckers now thanks Kathy

  3. Yep, done suckers for years (she says about her two plants a year). Hope my container tomatoes do better this year than last. Don't have any buds yet, and the plants are only a foot tall, here in Black Mountain, NC.
    I'm sorry, I won't be posting more comments with the word recognition thingie...I've heard most bloggers don't do this any more.

  4. I've read that you should sucker with indeterminate and it's not necessary with determinate.
    It always confuses me.
    I think my granny always pinched them off.
    If you think it works, then I will try it when we start growing them. :o)
    Thanks for the post, CQ!

    1. Linda yes you are correct that I only think it is necessary to scker the indeterminate varieties and especially those really large unruly one. I grow varieties such a Brandywine and Big Rainbow that make monster tomatoes that can weigh as much as 2 to 3 pounds. The bushes can get huge. Suckering some of that green growth out helps to get more air circulation in that bush as well as sunlight. Which means less disease. It helps to also be able to see in there to inspect for insects as well. I like a large but neat bush that I can easily care for. Tied, pruned and suckered to provide a good foundation for those large tomatoes!

    2. That makes a lot of sense, CQ. Thanks for the extra information. :o)

  5. If you let the suckers get several inches long, you can root them in a jar of water. Change the water occasionally and keep them in the shade. Plant them when they get a good set of roots. It works great for a late crop.


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