Are Tomato Plants Evergreen? (All You Need to Know!)

If you want to grow tomatoes in your backyard, you may wonder if they are evergreen plants. This is a bit tricky for a couple of reasons; one of them is due to the fact that tomatoes don’t fall under this category.

Tomatoes aren’t classified as deciduous or evergreen. That’s because these terms generally refer to shrubs and trees. As tomatoes don’t shed their leaves, they cannot be categorized as deciduous plants. They cannot be referred to as evergreens either since the plants typically die in the winter.

This isn’t all. When it comes to the debate over whether tomatoes are evergreen or deciduous, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. So let’s dive deeper into this topic.

What Do Evergreen And Deciduous Mean?

People may have some experience with the words “evergreen” and “deciduous” when it comes to plants, trees, and shrubs. But they might not always know the specifics and little nuances. These are terms that are mostly used to refer to trees and shrubs.

Evergreen refers to plants that don’t shed their leaves throughout the year. And you’ll see different kinds of evergreen plants depending on the climate. For example, in very cold climates, cone-bearing shrubs or conifer trees are common.

In tropical areas, however, you’ll find many species of broad-leaved flowering plants. For example, pines are a common example of an evergreen plant.

On the flip side, deciduous just means the opposite. It refers to those that shed their leaves every year, annually. To be more specific, trees or shrubs shed their leaves at the end of the growing season. They’ll have a dormant period where there’ll be no leaves.

What About Tomatoes? Are They Evergreen?

Classifying tomato plants as evergreen or deciduous is a bit tricky. Since there are a couple of things that can determine whether the leaves shed or not, In fact, they might start to shed leaves if they aren’t healthy.

So, you could say that they’re either evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate you’re growing them in. On top of that, a tomato plant might have no leaves. This is unnatural and is probably caused by pests or diseases.

In some areas, tomatoes are grown as annuals. Mainly in colder climates. That’s because they’ll start to drop their leaves during winter. In warmer climates, they do pretty well.

Reasons Why Tomato Plant Leaves Might Fall Off

A common reason many people start exploring whether tomato plants are evergreen or not is that the leaves are falling off. So, it’s probably better to talk about that specifically. That’ll give you a more focused answer if that’s something you’re facing with your tomato plant.

Here’s the deal. Tomato plants shed some leaves naturally. They’ll lose some leaves during the season, but this isn’t a cause for concern. But, if you’re noticing that they’re losing quite a few leaves or most of their leaves, there might be a problem. And there could be a couple of reasons for this.

1. Not Enough Nitrogen

Lack of nitrogen could be a major reason why your tomato plant’s leaves are falling off. Nitrogen is very, very important for healthy tomato plants to grow.

They are an essential macronutrient for growing foliage. And when the soil doesn’t have enough of it, it can cause all kinds of health problems. One of them is the leaves falling off. There are some pretty simple and effective ways you can test your soil.

Your local extension service can do it for a small fee. Now, what do you do when you find that there isn’t enough nitrogen? Well, a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen is the answer. It can help your soil gain enough nitrogen content for healthy tomato plants.

One important thing I need to mention, though, is to follow the specifications on the packet. Follow the instructions exactly. This’ll ensure the highest chance of healthy tomato plants.

You could even get organic fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen content, like kelp or bone meal. Don’t get too excited and go overboard. Adding the fertilizer at the specified amount just once a month is enough. Overdosing can kill your tomato plants. That’s not something you want.

2. Cold Temperatures

Tomato plants don’t do that well in cold climates. They’re a warm-season plant and do best in temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Going below this recommended range can cause the leaves of your plant to fall off.

In cold temperatures, your plant goes into survival mode. So, try to give them a comfortable temperature. Just make sure that the temperature around them is stable.

3. Too Much Or Too Little Water

It’s all about balance, you see. If you’re adding too much water, you’ll harm your plants. And too little water won’t allow the plant to grow. And the leaves will start to fall off. You can check if you have too much water with your finger.

Put your finger into the soil, about 1 to 2 inches deep. And if they feel dry, you need to water your plants. Tomato plants just need to be watered once a week. One or two inches of water is perfectly fine. Otherwise, too much water can cause the roots to rot. And the leaves will fall off.

With too little water, your tomato plant won’t get enough nutrients either. So, make sure to use that finger method to be sure.


Bacterial or fungal diseases can cause the leaves to fall off as well. Tomato blight and anthracnose are common fungal diseases that cause tomato plant leaves to fall off. At that point, tomato plants aren’t that “evergreen”.

The worst part is that these infected spores can get onto nearby plants. And that can create a big health hazard for your other plants. Fungal disease problems are relatively easy to deal with. You can change the environment and have to scale and just don’t have standing moisture. Also, avoid splashing water on the leaves.

Bacterial diseases are a bit stubborn. A common reason for it is contaminated soil. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good solution for bacterial diseases. The best thing you can do is throw the plant away and treat the soil. That’ll at least stop any plants in the future from getting diseases.

5. Low Sun Exposure

You don’t need to be an experienced gardener to know that plants need sun. Sometimes, even if you’re being mindful, a lack of sun exposure can happen. Tomato plants need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight exposure every day!

That’s why you need to pick the garden spot carefully. Pick the one that gets the most amount of sunlight and you should be fine.

There can be a few other reasons why a tomato plant’s leaves might be falling off. It could be due to transplant shock or not having enough space to grow. So, keep that in mind.

A tomato plant can survive without leaves. If it has enough energy, it’ll just grow new leaves. But with some diseases, the plant might not recover. They naturally don’t shed a lot of leaves.

Wrapping Up

Tomato plants require a specific environment to grow healthy. They do best in warmer climates. If you’re looking for evergreen plants, there are plenty of options.

You cannot exactly categorize tomato plants as evergreen in terms of their cycles. Most trees and shrubs fall under this category. However, they don’t drop many leaves.

In some ways, tomato plants can be considered to be evergreen because of that. But, regardless, providing them with the right environment is the best thing you can do for them to thrive.