How to ripen tomatoes

How to ripen late tomatoes

There are always a few green tomatoes left on plants as temperatures start to fall. Find out how to ripen them, in our How-to guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

By September, any flowers that form on outdoor tomato plants are unlikely to turn into ripe fruits, so it’s best to remove them. However, some will have already developed into fruits. These may not ripen fully before temperatures start to fall, so it’s worth employing a few tricks to encourage their colour develops.

Find out how to ripen late tomatoes, below.

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You Will Need

  • Tomato plants
  • Secateurs

Total time:

Step 1

Tomato flowers
Tomato flowers

Well into September, outdoor tomato plants will continue to produce new flowers, even though there is no real chance of them ripening naturally. Remove these to channel the plant’s energy into ripening existing fruit.

Step 2

Removing the top part of the tomato plant
Removing the top part of the 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. Removing leaves from the plant can also ensure the maximum amount of light possible can reach the fruits, helping them to ripen.

Step 3

30764-3

After temperatures have started to dip, remove all the tomatoes from your plant and keep them in a drawer or paper bag with a banana. The banana will release ethylene, a hormone associated with the ripening of fruit. Check the drawer or bag regularly and remove ripened tomatoes as and when you find them.

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