Although generally easy to grow, tomatoes can be a bit fickle and frustrating when it comes to watering. It takes a combination of practice, trial and error, and tried-and-true techniques to keep your tomatoes happy when it comes to their watering needs. While the practice and trial and error are up to you, we've got you covered when it comes to tried-and-true tips.
Water at Least One Inch per Week
Tomato plants need a thorough soaking of at least an inch of water per week, more if you live in a hotter climate. Give them fewer thorough soakings as opposed to more light watering, to encourage deep root growth, which helps your plants survive dry spells. If you grow your tomatoes in pots, water even more frequently, possibly every day during the summer if you live in a hot, dry climate.
Monitor the Wilting
Watch out for wilting and take note of when it occurs. If your tomato plant wilts during the heat of the day, let the evening weather cool it down before rushing in with water. If the plant is still wilted by morning, give it a good, thorough drink.
Water at Ground Level
Tomato leaves do not like being splashed with water, as this promotes disease growth. So instead of spraying them from above with a lawn sprinkler or garden hose, use a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to the soil and roots, keeping the leaves dry. Some gardeners use a hammer and nails to make holes in the bottom of a large coffee can, place the can near the tomato plant, then fill the can with water and let it slowly soak down into the soil.
Water in the Morning
Watering in the evening gives diseases an entire cool, dark night to take hold all of your tomato plants. Instead, water in the early morning, which gives your plant's roots plenty of time to soak up water, yet also gives the sun plenty of time to dry up any disease-causing residual moisture.