Wrinkled tomatoes

Wrinkled Tomatoes

Wrinkled tomatoes 1 A few days ago I was sitting in the conservatory enjoying a nice cup of coffee. While looking at my plants over the rim of my coffee cup I saw something odd. First I thought I must be mistaken and I wasn’t seeing clearly because my coffee was fogging up my glasses but a quick wipe of said spectacles confirmed that  I could actually see wrinkly tomatoes on my tomato plant.

Soft Skin

Wrinkled tomatoes 3 I jumped up, slopping coffee onto my trousers (ouch) to take a closer look (with glasses on). Et voila, two green tomatoes with wrinkled skin which, to the touch felt soft as if they’d been forgotten about at the back of the fridge. I removed them from the plant and sliced one open. The inside was still firm, it was just the outside that looked like a very old tomato.

Erratic Watering

A search on the internet didn’t offer much information except that the cause could be erratic watering or too much direct sunshine. My tomato plants are in pots on a window sill in the conservatory so I guess it could be both. But then again, it’s not the first time I’ve grown tomatoes this way and I have never had this problem before …and let’s face it, too much sunshine? With the spring and summer we are having here in Belgium at the moment..? Hardly!

Direct Sunlight

Wrinkled tomato 2 When I noticed that another plant also had a few wrinkled tomatoes on I knew that I had to do something. I removed the tomato plants from the window sill and replaced them with some sweet pepper plants. The tomato plants are now out of direct sunlight and I will water them more frequently. Let’s just hope this is the answer and that my other toms are saved. After a war to beat all slugs in the garden this year I would hate to loose my tomatoes to some mystery wrinkled tomato disease.


  1. How strange. My tomatoes have loads of sun and are not wrinkled, so I kind of doubt that would be your problem. Give them some humus, just for good measure if they are in pots. It might be a nutrient issue.

  2. Bridget says:

    I’m curious to know what variety this tomato is – do you remember? Is it one you’ve grown before?

  3. How strange. I haven’t seen that before. Let’s hope your tomatoes will anyway give you a good harvest.

  4. Hi Ruth, I don’t think it is a nutrient issue, I have been giving them more then enough of liquid fertilizer for example from my worm farm. Funniest thing is that when I moved the tomatoes to another spot and gave them water almost everyday the tom’s still on the plant got a nice facelift and are now normal again….

  5. You know what Bridget, that might just be it. I am using the russian tomato variant Urbikany and Grushovka which are perfect for a colder climate which we have here but maybe not so great for a greenhouse/conservatory..
    As I mentioned to Ruth they seem to be fine now that I have moved them out of direct sunlight and give them plenty of water almost every day.

  6. Terri Crabtree says:

    I am having the same problem. But my plants are out in my Michigan garden. They get well watered twice a day every day and are looking great, except for wrinkles!I have some red ones ready to pick that are very wrinkled and some that are fine. The garden gets good light but not all day even. I have grown tomatoes here for years and never a problem. The plants are all very typical types purchased in a local garden center.

  7. Mshungryhippo69 says:

    I just noticed same problem on some of my cherry tomatoes (potted outdoors). I normally water once a day in the morning and today decided to water in late afternoon instead as I read somewhere that it’s better to do it then. Probably a bad move as the temp was 35oC today (western Australia where it’s almost always hot and sunny!) and they are probably dehydrated out in the sun. The leaves look a bit limp too. I’ll go back to my normal morning watering tomorrow and keep my finger crossed the tomatos will plump out and wrinkles disappear 🙂

  8. Wrinkles anyone?
    I have a hydroponic setup with over 24 tomatoes in a plastic hoop house type shelter, they were supposed to be one of the “large” type tomato and, even with the fluids kept at a reasonable level, I have stunted, wrinkled tomatoes on occasionional plants….. They are all in the same box, getting the same fluid, same sun. Along with my granny toms I have regular sized, good tasting unwrinkled, all on the same plant.

    • How weird, I really believed my wrinkled tomatoes were a result of not watering enough but you just blew that theory away. I have no explanation for the fact that some of the plants have normal and wrinkled tomatoes all on the same plant. If you do find out we would love to hear it! Good luck and hope this wrinkle problem will sort itself out.
      Laila Noort recently posted…N for Nonvascular – Word Up!My Profile

  9. Ok, another idea regarding my wrinkle maeters, I am in wichita ks., we had 90* temp today! inside the hoop house would be, with no effort, 110* inside . So, I know that heat put a wrinkle or two in me, so, is it possible the the tomatoes had a problem? I have tried the stunted granny maeters and they are not the best, but, they had a good tast, just not so much juice.

    • It could very well be that it is simply too hot in your polytunnel as it was probably too hot in the conservatory I was growing the tomatoes in at that time. I was also growing them in pots which must have been even more stressful for the tomatoes. Since last year I grow tomatoes in a large polytunnel and have yet to see my first wrinkled tomato. I water frequently (keeping in mind that one tomato plant baring fruit needs about 2 litres of water per day) and I make sure there is sufficient airflow, I also cut away lots of leaves to make sure the air can circulate between the plants. I would advice you to see if you can somehow get more airflow in your polytunnel as well. As for the wrinkled tomatoes I had then, I used them in a roasted tomato sauce together with the more juicy ones so they still served a purpose.
      Laila Noort recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 7thMy Profile

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