5 Reasons Your Tomatoes Aren’t Ripening

If you’ve ever grown tomatoes before, then you’ll already be fully aware of the immense amounts of effort that goes into forming these delicious little morsels.

They’re not particularly easy to grow in the first place, and require you to be heavily involved throughout their growth cycle. Planting, feeding, watering, and mulching are all responsible for making sure that your tomatoes grow to fruition. 

5 Reasons Your Tomatoes Aren’t Ripening

But, what if you’ve put in all this effort, only to find that after they’ve finally reached their tomato shaped form, they’re still failing to ripen, remaining green for what feels like ages.

This can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening for gardeners who have spent a lot of time and effort growing them, only to have them fail at the final hurdle. 

If this sounds like something that you’ve been struggling with recently, then please don’t worry, because you’re not alone.

Thousands of people are experiencing the same problem, and most of the time, it’s not something that you’ve done wrong, but rather, something bigger that’s completely out of your control. 

This doesn’t mean that you’re powerless however, and there are several things that you can do in order to make sure that your tomatoes ripen as they should. 

To find some handy tips and tricks related to ripening tomatoes, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look. 

1. They Haven’t Reached Full Maturity 

So, the first reason that we’re going to be taking a closer look at why your tomatoes haven’t ripened, is that they haven’t reached full maturity yet.

You may have noticed that you and your fellow gardeners began planting at around the same time, and while their tomatoes are now fully ripe for the picking, yours still have that dreaded greenish hue. 

If this is the case, don’t worry, the first thing you need to consider is what kind of tomato variety it is that you’re growing. Although this one might seem obvious at first, it is something that many people fail to recognize. 

Some tomato varieties will take a shorter amount of time to mature, whilst others will ripen fairly quickly. We recommend that you do some research in regards to how long your specific tomato plant takes to grow. 

Most seeds will have reached full maturity within around six to eight weeks after the blossoms have emerged. Some however, might take longer than this, so it’s important to practice patience. 

If you want to find some tomato plants that take a short amount of time to sprout, then we’d recommend that you look into purchasing some Early Girly tomatoes, or Stupice, which are both very early sprouters. 

They’re also great for new gardeners who are just getting started out, as you get to see the results of your hard work fairly quickly. In addition to this, bear in mind that cherry tomatoes will ripen at a far quicker rate than larger tomatoes. 

2. Hot Weather Conditions 

This is something that a lot of people fail to recognize, but weather conditions that are too hot can have just as much of an impact on your tomatoes as cold weather conditions can.

If the weather has been particularly warm in your area (we’re talking sweltering), then this may cause your tomatoes to struggle. 

This is because when your plant gets too hot, it goes into something we in the gardening world call ‘survival mode’.

The hot weather messes up the natural cycle of your tomato plants, and prevents it from producing the chemical that’s responsible for giving it that reddish quality. 

If this sounds like it might be the culprit in terms of your tomatoes failing to ripen, then we’d urge you not to worry.

Once again, just practice a little bit of patience, as once the hot weather subsides, you will notice your tomatoes beginning to ripen as they should. 

3. They’re Not Meant To Be Red 

This point may come as a surprise for many people, but some species of tomatoes simply aren’t supposed to turn red.

Because we’re accustomed to always seeing red tomatoes in the supermarket, we don’t realize that there are actually hundreds and hundreds of different species in existence, and not all of them end up with that reddish hue. 

In fact, you can purchase tomatoes that turn into a whole host of different colors that aren’t red.

If you take a look online, you’ll notice that many places sell tomatoes which are purple or yellow in terms of color. Nowadays, you can even grow pink ones if you desire.

We’ve even seen a few black ones here and there. 

Therefore, we recommend once more that you take a look at the specific variety of tomato that you’re growing to check what its final form is meant to look like.

Sometimes, just because a tomato remains green, this doesn’t mean that it’s not ripe, it just means that it is the way it’s supposed to be. 

Make sure that if you’re planting a few different varieties of tomatoes, that you’re separating them from each other. Otherwise, you may find yourself pulling up your green varieties thinking that they’re underripe when they’re not. 

4. Cold Weather Conditions

Just like hot weather conditions can have a major impact on the growth and ripening of your tomatoes, so can cold weather conditions.

If the weather has been particularly cold where you are recently, then this is bound to have an impact on the ripening of your fruit. 

If your tomatoes aren’t getting enough heat, then this can cause them to remain green, or even change into some very strange colors.

Many gardeners notice that when the weather is too cold outside, their tomatoes will become a pinkish color, but will appear soft and old.

This means that your tomatoes have ripened, but are not good to eat because their cycle has been disrupted. 

In addition to this, if you were to try these tomatoes you would quickly find that they’re incredibly bland to taste. They don’t have the regular zesty tang that we’ve come to expect from homegrown tomatoes. 

This is sad news for many people who have spent a lot of time and effort taking care of their plants.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about cold weather ruining your tomatoes apart from waiting until next season where you can try again. 

5. The Season Has Finished 

When it comes to the growth cycle of fruit and vegetables, there is a certain amount of time in which they have to become fully formed.

Once this has passed, the item in question will not move past its final stage, even if it’s not ripened as you expected it to. 

This is because as the season comes to a close, the temperature begins to drop again, making it very difficult for your tomatoes to ripen. If this sounds like it may be the case for your tomatoes, then we urge you not to fret. 

If the weather is getting colder outside, and you’re reaching the end of your tomatoes growth phase, then instead of leaving them outside in the hopes that they’ll ripen, we urge you to pick them. 

This is because, even if you decide to take your tomatoes indoors, they will continue to ripen there too, and in a much more productive way.

If you want your tomatoes to ripen as soon as possible, then simply place them in a bag, and put them into the refrigerator until they’ve turned red. 

Final Thoughts 

To sum up, there are a whole host of different reasons why your tomatoes may have failed to ripen, most of which are no fault of your own. One of the key reasons includes changes in temperature. 

If your tomatoes are subjected to extreme heat, then they’ll enter survival mode, and won’t turn red until the weather cools down. Likewise, if the weather is too cold, then they’ll cease their growth cycle. 

Make sure to research the type of tomato variety you’ve planted, as some take longer than others in order to ripen, whereas some aren’t even meant to turn red at all. 

Finally, your tomatoes might not be ripening purely because the season has ended. If this is the case, simply pick them and place them in the refrigerator to ripen. 

Amelia Haslehurt
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