What Eats Tomato Blooms?
Growing your own vegetables and fruits saves money. Tomatoes grow in gardens or small hanging planters. Many pests eat tomato plants. Pests that eat tomato blooms prevent tomato fruit from growing.
Growing tomatoes in an urban environment prevents many animals that threaten rural gardens from encountering your tomatoes. Squirrels are a problem wherever you live. In rural environments, deer are unwelcome visitors. Rabbits eat tomato plants and blooms. Groundhogs and gophers dig in a garden and eat the roots and blooms from plants.
Many types of beetles are garden pests. Tomatoes attract a few specific beetles that eat the plant, blooms and fruit. Colorado potato beetles are about 1/4 long and with exterior shells. Colorado potato beetles feed on foliage and may strip a garden of tomatoes if they have a large enough population. Flea beetles leave tiny holes in blooms and tomato leaves.
Fungus and Bacteria
Various types of fungus grow on tomato plants. Some fungi affect the roots, while others affect the fruit. However, some fungus grows on and eats the plant, leaves and blossoms. Fusarium wilt causes yellowing, first on lower leaves and then wilts the plant. Bacteria can invade a plant and consume it. Bacterial spot is common during rainy seasons and causes greasy leaf spots, and then flower drop.
Worms survive best in rich, moist soil. Earthworms eat soil and enrich it when they expel it. However, some worms, actually insect larvae, target plants, such as tomatoes. The corn earthworm eats the leaves and blossoms of tomato plants, leaving holes in them. Cutworms eat tomato plants and are common in the spring. The tomato hornworm and tobacco hornworm also eat tomato plants.
Make Tomato Plants Bloom
Prepare the soil for your tomato plants with a 2-inch layer of compost or 2 pounds per 100 square feet of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 fertilizer. If you can't resist the urge to fertilize later in the season, use a relatively weak fertilizer like fish emulsion. Apply about an inch of water per week in the absence of rain. When tomato plants sense dry conditions, they conserve their resources by delaying flower production. Weed the garden regularly. Weeds compete with tomato plants for available moisture, and the weeds usually win. Make sure your tomato plants are getting enough sun.
- Hobby Farms; Keep Your Garden Protected; Rhoda Preacher
- Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening; Pauline Pears
- Burpee Complete Gardener; Allan Armitage, et al.
- University of Missouri Extension: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes