How To Remove Suckers From Indeterminate Tomato Plants?

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Indeterminate tomato types are vining plants that continue to develop in length during the course of the growing season. This is in contrast to determinate tomato varieties, which reach their maximum height and produce all of their fruit at the same time. Because of this characteristic, you may hear these tomatoes referred to as “vining” tomatoes at times.

Today we discuss how to remove suckers from indeterminate tomato plants and if you relly need to do it.

The tomato plants we started from seed or bought are already established and putting on significant new growth. The issue “Should I remove the side branches from my tomato plant?” is one that novice gardeners often inquire about. That varies since there are basically two different kinds of tomatoes.

Determinate tomatoes

The first category is known as the “Determinate” or “Bush” sorts. This category includes the variations known as Rutgers, Minibelle, Roma, Tumbler, Garden Pearl and Totem, as well as the cascade variants. It is not necessary to cut off the side shoots of these varieties.

Determinate is the word given to these tomato plants since they are well-versed in growing style. Either they will grow outwards to create a mound, or they will keep their size and become bushy, or they will cascade down. These bush or determinate kinds are wonderful for growing in containers of any kind, whether they are pots, tubs, or even hanging baskets.

Indeterminate tomatoes

The second kind of tomatoes is known as “Indeterminate,” and they are also often called Cordon or Vine tomatoes. In this category, you’ll find varieties with names like Beefsteak, Moneymaker, Goldie, Alicante, most cherry-types, Sungold, and Gardeners Delight, as well as Black Krim.

How To Remove Suckers From Indeterminate Tomato Plants?

You should prune the side branches off of these variations. 

The vast majority of people cultivate these plants in greenhouses. This kind of tomato is well named for its growth potential, which is uncertain. Their development requires guidance and direction from us at every stage. 

It is necessary to remove any side branches that emerge from the axis of the stem and leaf. These may be removed by pinching. These plants will develop into tall shrubs; thus, they will need to be attached to canes or ropes that are reliably fastened inside the greenhouse or tunnel.

This training is done to leave one stem containing the leaves and the fruit trusses and direct all of the plant’s energy into the developing fruits rather than extra growth. 

When does the growing process stop with indeterminate tomatoes?

When does the growing process stop with indeterminate tomatoes?

After around 7 trusses have formed on the tomato plants, the growing process is said to have “stopped,” but this number might vary depending on the height of your greenhouse. 

After reaching the maximum height, this “stopping” refers to the simple act of cutting off the top growth point. Once a week, I like to check over my cordon tomato plants and remove any undesirable growth that has developed.

On the majority of seed packs and plant labels, you’ll see the word “Determinate” written somewhere. Do not prune the side shoots or the ‘Indeterminate’ branches. It is necessary to cut off side branches.

How To Remove Suckers From Indeterminate Tomato Plants

You need to have an understanding of the nature of the suckers that develop between the main stem and the green side shoot on your tomato plant before you can begin the process of trimming it. Each of the shoots that emerge from the parent stem has the potential to develop into a new main stem that bears leaves and fruit. 

According to the findings of Fine Gardening Magazine, if you remove all of the suckers from the plant, you will end up with a robust and healthy plant that produces fewer but bigger fruit. The majority of gardeners reach a compromise by cutting off all but three to five suckers from a plant.

This allows the plant to produce an abundance of fruit while minimizing the amount of leafy growth that occurs.

How To Remove Suckers From Indeterminate Tomato Plants

Using pruning shears, remove any and all clusters of blooms that emerge on the plant before it is 12 to 18 inches tall. After the plant has grown to this height, you should let the next cluster of flowers mature. Remove any and all lateral branches that are growing below the emerging cluster of flowers.

Remove the suckers from the plant by cutting them off just above the second leaf from the bottom. According to Grow Organic, leaving a few leaves on each stem will assist in shading the fruit and will boost the rate of photosynthesis. It is recommended that you let three to five of the suckers develop into primary stems.

Remove any stems that are broken, infected, or otherwise damaged as soon as possible. The parts that have been damaged give an entrance site for disease, and illnesses proliferate swiftly while there is still sick tissue on the plant.

Finish off any remaining pruning about a month before you anticipate the first frost of September. Eliminate any and all of the plant’s growth tips in order to direct the sugar that the plant generates to the fruit and hasten its maturation.


Choose suckers from the lower parts of the plant to use as the plant’s new main stems. Fruit with lower stems tends to be naturally sweeter and more delicious.

When a tomato plant has gotten too large for its space, remove no more than a third of the plant’s foliage with pruning shears. When too much of the plant is cut away, it may be shocking to the plant.


Can you trim tops of indeterminate tomatoes?

Yes. But before you can begin trimming, you must ensure that your plants have been established in the ground for at least a few weeks and have produced new growth. In general, I wait around four weeks after planting tomatoes before I prune them.

Should you remove laterals from tomato plants?

Yes. Laterals are the little leaves that develop at various points along the stem of your tomato plant. Eliminating lateral branches will enable the trusses of fruit to grow more successfully and will improve the passage of air through the plant.

What happens if you top an indeterminate tomato plant?

This sort of pruning, which is referred to as “topping,” forces the plant to cease blooming and establishing new fruit. Instead, it sends all of its sugars to the fruit that is already on the vine. If you do it this way, the fruit will ripen more quickly, and it will also increase the likelihood that the green tomatoes you select before the frost will really ripen after you bring them inside.

Should semi determinate tomatoes be pruned?

Treat semi-determinate tomatoes develop like indeterminate ones. It is not necessary to prune determinate plant varieties. Tomatoes grown from dwarf plants are also considered to be determinate and should not have their branches clipped, with the exception of removing damaged or yellowed leaves.

How tall should I let my indeterminate tomatoes grow?

The height of a tomato plant, on average, varies greatly depending on the variety. Many determinate types of tomatoes reach a maximum height of 5 feet, but indeterminate varieties of tomatoes may reach heights of 8 feet or more!

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