Tomatoes are one of the most popular choices for a home garden, and for good reason, too. They are relatively easy to grow and produce a bountiful harvest.
Yet, like all plants, they do have specific sunlight requirements for an optimal harvest. Though how much is too much?
To answer this, we’ll dive right into the many factors that determine whether tomatoes can get by with less sunlight than usual and still bear plenty of fruits.
Keep on reading to find out more!
How Much Sun Do Tomatoes Need to Thrive?
Tomatoes are sun-loving plants, so they generally thrive in the heat. Better yet, you can use them to cast a welcome shade on your carrots and radishes that don’t enjoy direct sunlight as much.
In essence, tomato plants need at least six hours of sunlight to bear fruit; ideally, eight or more for the best results in terms of both quality and quantity.
Tomato Sunlight Requirements Differ Across Varieties
There are some 10,000 tomato varieties available on the market, and not all of them have the same sunlight requirements. In fact, some tomato varieties do pretty well in shade or partial shade. These include Siberia, Roma, Black Cherry, and others.
How Much Direct Sunlight Do Tomatoes Need?
Tomatoes need at least six hours of direct sunlight throughout the day to produce one of the most popular veggies in the US (and quite possibly the planet).
If you want to make your tomatoes tastier and bigger, you’ll need to provide them with plenty of sunlight — some eight-plus hours, depending on your local climate.
Morning Sunlight Is Indispensable When Growing Tomatoes
Tomatoes love the morning sun as it helps them get rid of excess moisture and morning dew. Moreover, due to how great tomatoes’ sunlight requirements are, these veggies also need afternoon and late afternoon sunlight, but only when the temperatures allow it.
Note that even though sunlight isn’t a direct requirement for tomato fruits to ripen, it does allow the tomato plant to thrive and bear more fruits. Also, one of the best gardening tips you’ll find is to plant them in a North-South orientation to get the best out of your tomatoes.
Can Tomatoes Get Too Much Sun?
It’s no secret that tomatoes thrive in high temperatures. That said, some climates are just too inhospitable even for these sun-loving vegetables. Hence, the best temperature range for tomatoes is between 70–85 ℉.
Prolonged sun exposure puts tomatoes at risk of stumping their growth or developing a condition called sunscald on their fruits. Sunscald causes discoloration of the tomato fruits — usually in the form of yellow and white spots.
Leaf Coverage Plays a Huge Role in Meeting Optimal Tomato Sun Requirements
If you notice any discoloration or leaves falling off, act accordingly. Without the leaves, the plant’s natural sun protection will be impaired. Hence, you need to take special care of these fruits to prevent sunscald.
Add supplemental cover with shade cloth or similar materials to mitigate direct sun exposure. You can also add organic mulch and fungicide to stave off any unwanted pests and diseases. Not only that, but it’ll also help keep the moisture levels optimal.
Speaking of shade…
When to Shade Your Tomato Plants?
Sometimes, less is more. Namely, by exceeding the optimal tomatoes’ sun requirements, the fruits might get more acidic, which will ruin their pleasant flavor. Luckily, you can prevent this by covering your crops around noon with partial shade.
Another useful heat-preventive measure is to water the ground as soon as it gets dry, especially during hot summer days. In essence, regular watering will prevent fatal heat strokes from occurring, even for indoor plants grown in containers or pots.
Now that you know where to plant your tomato for the best results, you can expect a bountiful harvest. Make sure you fulfill all the sunlight requirements, as well as other nutrients, soil, and water needs, to allow your tomato plants to thrive.
Is 4 hours of sun enough for tomatoes?
If you want your standard tomato varieties to produce fruits, you’ll need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, can thrive with just four to six hours of sun per day.
Do tomatoes need full sun?
Yes, they do. Tomatoes transform sun rays into energy, which they use and store in their fruits. Tomato plants also love the heat that sunshine provides. So unless you live in a climate where the temperatures rise above 85℉, you can expose your plant to direct sunlight.
How much sun do cherry tomatoes need?
Cherry tomatoes do surprisingly well in partial shade. However, for the best possible results, provide them with at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Do tomatoes prefer morning or afternoon sun?
Tomatoes love the morning sun. That said, they can’t do without either the morning or the afternoon sun due to their “appetite.”