I planted several tomato seedlings in large grow bags. Recently had to go away for 4 days. Watered well just before I left. The weather while I was away was very hot. Upon returning my plants had wilted quite a bit and were dried out and drooping. I have since watered them thoroughly in hopes that they will come back. Is there anything I can do other than just keep watering themÉ
Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners (TMG) with your question about wilting tomatoes. It is so easy for plants in containers of all sorts to dry out in the summer heat. Even just a few days can do it!
It’s great that you have taken action to water your plants thoroughly as the first remedy. This article on using grow bags for tomatoes gives some good general information on the “pros” and “cons” of grow bags and how to use them effectively. The danger of drying out is a significant “con”. The grow bags are more prone to drying out than garden beds or other types of containers. Because the drainage is so good (a significant “pro”), you should be able to give your plants a very thorough soaking without danger of drowning them. Perhaps doing this a few times a day for 2 or 3 days will help the roots to reabsorb water and regain resiliency. This will also allow the planting soil to fully rehydrate so that the soil is not wicking water away from the roots. Moving your plants temporarily so that they get a bit of shade may also help them to revive. This is not the time to apply fertilizer. The plants need to rehydrate before they can process any additional nutrients.
If the leaves yellow or dry up to a crisp, be sure to remove them so that they do not cause any kind of disease to the healthy plant tissue.
While the heat and lack of water are the most likely causes of your tomato plants wilting, there are other possible reasons for this to occur suddenly. This previous TMG answer addresses some of these diseases.
Best of luck with your tomato plants!