London (change)
Today 13°C / 7°C
Tomorrow 13°C / 9°C

How to ripen late tomatoes


By September, any flowers that form on outdoor tomato plants are unlikely to turn into ripe fruits, so it's best to remove them. The aim is to ensure the plants concentrate their energy on ripening the fruits they have already produced, rather than forming new fruits and leaves.

How to do it

Flowers on a tomato plant


Well into September, outdoor tomato plants will continue to produce new flowers, even though there is no real chance of them ripening naturally.

Removing top of tomato plant


Your tomato plants should have formed three or four trusses of fruits by early autumn, so to ensure these all ripen, remove the top of each plant. Simply cut through the main stem a couple of leaves above the uppermost truss of green fruits.

Picking ripe tomatoes


Removing the top section of your plants may sound drastic, but it will encourage them to put all their efforts into producing ripe tomatoes. There is no point in them producing new fruits that have no hope of reaching maturity outdoors.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to ripen late tomatoes
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Michel Lowe 28/08/2015 at 16:54

Can I remove all the leaves once the fruit is ripening ?

nodlisab 29/08/2015 at 06:44

Yes as Monty showed on Gardeners world on friday,strip all the leaves off , it helps the fruit to ripen.

Supernoodle 29/08/2015 at 06:50

Arghhh, I haven't seen Friday's episode yet!  You've given it all away! 

Verdun 29/08/2015 at 06:53

Well, not sure what Monty said...yet to see prog...but my leaves are almost totally removed now for past 2 weeks.

bumper crops ripening beautifully every day.  because fhe leaves have gone good air circulation and sunshine are keeping everything healthy.

Dorcas 29/08/2015 at 22:58

I've just taken all the leaves off my outdoor tomatoes - it's going to be a bumper year

See more comments...