Fertilizer Recommendations For Tomato Plant (Determinate And Indeterminate)


ripe tomato plant

The tomato plant is one of the plants of high economic importance. The reward of tomato cultivation is high yield, which is usually achieved by abiding by the right fertilizer recommendations for tomato plant; this is very important as it shows the degree of profitability of the cultivation.

Two farmers can plant tomato on the same piece of land but they would surely not get the same result; one would surely harvest more than the other would; this is a function of the fertilization and other management practices.

Fertilization of the tomato plant is very important to the yield of the crop. What fertilizer does to the crop is to enable produce to its genetic potential when other factors such as pest and diseases, climatic factors are favorable.

Irrespective of your system of cultivation, either organic or inorganic, you must follow the fertilizer recommendations for tomato plant to achieve a desirable yield and huge profit in return.

In this article, I would discuss extensively on the fertilizer recommendations for the tomato plant for both the determinate and indeterminate growth habit in the organic and inorganic farming system. In addition, the types of fertilizers you can apply on your tomato farm.

So, if you are an organic or inorganic tomato farmer, this article would give you insights towards the recommended application rate of different fertilizers on a tomato farm.


Soil Nutrient Requirement For Planting Tomato

The soil is an ideal entity that contains a balanced nutrient profile required to give any plant good growth, however, this nutrient profile is often depleted as a result of constant cultivation and other activities of man on the soil, hence, the need to supplement fertilizers in a tomato farm is very crucial.

Prior to the cultivation of tomato, especially for commercial purpose, it is recommended you test your soil to ascertain the suitability of the soil parameters to the requirement of the tomato plant. Most important of all the tests are soil ph and nutrient composition of the soil.

Check: 3 Ways To Test Your Soil Ph Without Going To Laboratory

These two parameters directly or indirectly affect the availability of nutrient in the soil. Let us start with soil ph.

The ideal soil ph requirement for tomato cultivation is ph range between 6 to 6.8; this means the soil has to be slightly acidic to neutral. When the soil is too acidic or alkaline, essential nutrient elements, mostly Phosphorus, Calcium, and Magnesium may become insoluble, thus, making them unavailable for plant use; also, Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil find the condition unbearable for their survival. Such a condition makes the soil infertile and unfit for tomato cultivation.

Check: Effects Of Soil Acidity And Alkalinity On Crop Yield

The soil for planting tomato must naturally contain the following nutrient elements in the listed quantity:

Nutrient element Quantity (mg/kg)
Nitrogen 10-50
Phosphorus 60
Potassium 100-250
Calcium 300 -2000
Magnesium 120- 300


This is the ideal soil nutrient requirement for the tomato plant. However, fertilizer supplementation of tomato plants may be needed if the soil or plant shows deficiency symptoms in the later stage of the cultivation.


Fertilizer Requirement Of Tomato Plant

Fertilizers, either manure or synthetic fertilizers, play a remarkable role in the yield and returns on investment of tomato cultivation. The nutrients required by tomato are divided into micronutrients and macronutrients.

The macronutrients are the most important nutrients required by fertilizers, they are usually required in large quantity. They are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

The micronutrients are nutrient elements required in small quantities, they are very essential to the growth and development of tomato plant. They are Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Boron, Copper, Zinc, Sulphur, Molybdenum, and Chlorine.

These nutrient elements are present in the soil in varying concentration and are usually supplement in case of deficiency symptoms, especially calcium and magnesium.

The table below shows the ideal fertilizer recommendation for tomato cultivation on one hectare of land.


Nutrient element Quantity (kg/ha)
Nitrogen 200
Phosphorus 80
Potassium 350
Magnesium 60
Calcium 300


These fertilizers are needed across the three stages of growth of the tomato plant. These stages are:

  • Vegetative stage: This is the early stage of tomato growth; it is usually between 0-6 weeks. This stage requires a high level of Nitrogen compared to other nutrients; it is needed for the rapid and development of the plant tissues.
  • Flowering stage: This is the stage where the tomato flowers emerge; it is usually between 6-12 weeks. The flowering state requires a high amount of potassium to aid turgidity and hasten to fruit.
  • Fruiting stage: The fruiting stage is marked by the emergence of tomato fruits; it is usually between 12-20 weeks. This stage requires a high amount of calcium and magnesium; this aids fruiting and prevents the occurrence of a common tomato fruit disease called blossom rot.

Care must be taken when applying fertilizer because excess fertilizers in the soil may lead to poor growth and fruiting.


Fertilizer Schedule For Indeterminate Tomato Plant

The table below shows the amount of fertilizer you need to apply across the three stages of the tomato plant.

Age (Weeks) Nitrogen (kg/ha) Phosphorus (kg/ha) Potassium (kg/ha) Calcium





(Vegetative stage)

35 18 60 5 3

(Flowering stage)

70 18 110 70 15

(Fruiting stage)

144 33 228 80 10



Fertilizer Schedule For Determinate Tomato Plant

The table below shows the amount of fertilizer you need to apply across the three stages of the tomato plant.


Age (Weeks) Nitrogen (kg/ha) Phosphorus (kg/ha) Potassium (kg/ha) Calcium





(Vegetative stage)

45 18 65 10 8

(Flowering stage)

55 18 100 70 13

(Fruiting stage)

70 12 120 55 3



Recommended Fertilizers For Tomato Plants

Now we have the nutritional requirements for the tomato plants; we still need to dwell more on the suppliers of these nutrients, called fertilizers.

Fertilizers are the suppliers or better-said carriers of nutrients for plant use. There are two types of fertilizers for tomato plant use, organic fertilizers, and inorganic or synthetic fertilizers


Organic Fertilizers Recommended For Tomato Plants

Farmyard manure, poultry manure, and compost manure are the main types of fertilizers that can be used for tomato cultivation.

Farmyard manures are waste materials gotten from farm animals, such as cattle, horse, pigs, and rabbit; it includes their bedding materials, feaces, and urine. They contain an appreciable amount of nutrients elements needed for tomato plant growth. 20 tons of farmyard manure is required to plant one hectare of the tomato plant.

Check: Check Out The Characteristics Of Poultry, Cattle, Rabbit, And Other Manures

Poultry manure is about 3-4 times as effective as farmyard manures; this is because it is the combination of the feacal waste and urine, also poultry birds are usually fed with highly nutritious feeds, hence, their waste is usually rich in essential nutrients.

About 20 – 25 tons of poultry manure is required to plant one hectare of a tomato plant. It is the best fertilizer for tomatoes and peppers. It is best applied by mixing the manure with soil and applied through band placement, that is applying between a small opening made between the rows of the plants.

Compost manure is also a rich source of natural fertilizer; it is usually gotten from household or municipal waste from the environment. They are usually very dark in color and best applied as top dressing at the root zone of the plant; it can serve as homemade tomato fertilizer About 15 – 20 tons of compost is required to plan one hectare of tomato.

Check: Learn How To Make Compost Manure Within 4 Days


Inorganic Fertilizers Recommended For Tomato Plants

Inorganic fertilizers are the synthetic compounds characterized by their ability to supply one or more plant nutrients. They are usually used as supplements during the cultivation of the tomato plant. Inorganic fertilizers are divided into two, compound and single fertilizers.

The compound fertilizers are those types of fertilizers that can supply more than one nutrient. Examples are NPK 15:15:15, NPK 10:10:10, NPK 20:20:20; they supply the basic nutrients needed by the tomato plant.

The single fertilizers are those types of fertilizers that supply just one nutrient; they are usually used to correct a deficiency of a particular nutrient.

Examples of nitrogen fertilizer supplement for tomato are:

  • Urea: 46% Nitrogen
  • Ammonium nitrate: 33% Nitrogen
  • Calcium nitrate: 15% Nitrogen
  • Sodium nitrate: 15% Nitrogen


Examples of phosphorus fertilizer supplements

  • Monoammonium phosphate: 48% phosphorus
  • Diammonium phosphate: 53% phosphorus


Examples of potassium fertilizer supplements

  • Murate of potash: 60% potassium
  • Sulfate of potash: 48% potassium
  • Potassium nitrate: 44% potassium

Care must be taken when using these inorganic fertilizers; they are hygroscopic in nature hence, they tend to absorb water from the plant when they have direct contact with it. It is recommended you irrigate the field after applying these fertilizers.

With strict adherence to the fertilizer recommendations for tomato plant and its application rate and other managerial practices such as weeding, tomato plant can perform optimally.

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Author: Agbabiaka Abdulquadri

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