The Science of Tomato Yield: How Many Tomatoes To Expect?

The Science of Tomato Yield: How Many Tomatoes To Expect?

Growing tomatoes is a fantastic way to ensure you eat more antioxidants in your diet. If you’re a big tomato fan, you’ll want to ensure you choose the tomato varieties that produce the greatest yield. 

Read on to find out how much fruit you can expect different tomato varieties to produce. 

Tomato Varieties and Their Average Yield

Tomato Varieties and Their Average Yield

Although there are so many tomato plant varieties, they don’t all provide the same amount of fruit every year. With this in mind, here’s a rundown of how many tomatoes you’ll be able to harvest from your tomato plants

1. Cherry Tomatoes 

  • Yield per plant: approximately 30 tomatoes on one plant
  • Pounds per plant (lbs): 6.6 lbs
  • Harvestable (once or twice a year): Once throughout the growing season

Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and provide you with succulent fruits throughout the growing season. What’s great about them is that, unlike other types of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes experience fewer issues that can reduce their yield.

Although they’re smaller than other types of tomatoes, they’re richer in nutrients and antioxidants. 

2. Roma Tomatoes 

  • Yield per plant: approximately 100 tomatoes on one plant
  • Pounds per plant (lbs): 20 lbs
  • Harvestable (once or twice a year): Once throughout the growing season

Roma tomatoes are one of the most prolific varieties of tomato plants. They produce a huge yield. They’re a determinate variety, so their fruit ripens and can be harvested during one season of summer. 

3. Beefsteak Tomatoes 

  • Yield per plant: approximately 10-30 tomatoes on one plant
  • Pounds per plant (lbs): 15-25 lbs
  • Harvestable (once or twice a year): Once throughout the season

Beefsteak tomatoes take about 85 days to harvest after being planted. Check their color has become a dark red so that you know they’re ready to be picked.

Since these tomatoes are indeterminate, they will continue to produce fruit on the plant throughout the growing season instead of all at once. 

Steps to Improve Tomato Plant Yield Overall

Steps to Improve Tomato Plant Yield Overall

There are many ways to increase your tomato plant yield every year. Here are the most important tips when it comes to choosing the right fertilizer, giving your plants enough sun, and more. 


Give your tomato plants the correct type of fertilizer, depending on the stage of growth they’re in. For example, when they’re seedlings, they benefit from a high-nitrogen fertilizer to help them grow.

But, when they produce blooms and fruit, they will need less nitrogen and more potassium, which allows them to encourage the growth of their flowers and tomatoes.

You should fertilize your tomato plants every two weeks. The same goes for container-grown tomato plants. 


Tomato plants want a lot of sunlight every day – aim to give them around eight or more hours. If you don’t give your tomatoes enough sun, you can expect them to struggle to grow to their mature size, and they might not produce a lot of tomatoes. Or, the tomatoes won’t be in good condition to be harvested from the plant. 


Tomato plants need about one to two inches (2.54-5.08cm) of water every week. However, during the summer, you will need to increase how frequently you water them so they don’t dry out. If you’re growing tomatoes in containers, you might have to water them more regularly than those growing in the ground.

Be careful not to overwater your tomato plants, as this can cause their fruits to split, spoiling your harvest. 

Pest Control 

Various pests can attack your tomato plants, such as spider mites, aphids, stink bugs, and leaf miners. It’s essential to monitor your plants regularly for any signs of pests so that you can eliminate them promptly.

To remove pests that are targeting your tomato plants, you can do the following:

  • Spray them with water. A powerful stream of water from a garden hose can work effectively to remove insects, especially if you can see them on the plant. You will have to spray your tomato plants daily until you see reduced insect numbers.
  • Remove them by hand. You can remove any insects you see by hand, and then you can kill them in a bucket of soapy water. This is especially useful for larger pests, such as the tomato hornworm that defoliates your tomato plants.  
  • Use neem oil. What’s great about neem oil is that it’s a natural insecticide that eliminates various pests from your plants. It works exceptionally well for aphids and whiteflies.
  • Clean your tomato beds. You want to eliminate any weeds or organic debris from the ground close to your tomatoes that can provide hiding spots and food sources for pests such as leaf miners. You should protect your young tomato plants by covering them with mesh row covers. 

Does It Matter How Close Tomatoes Are Planted for Yield?

Does It Matter How Close Tomatoes Are Planted for Yield?

How you space your tomato plants makes a big difference in their yield. Research has found that spacing tomato plants properly ensures you can get more fruit from them.

You should try to space your tomatoes as far apart as possible because they need a lot of space so they can grow and thrive. Aim to give your plants about two feet (0.6m) of space. 

Growing tomato plants away from each other ensure that plants will get enough air circulation to keep pests and diseases at bay, which can quickly spread through all your plants. Overcrowding your plants also prevents them from getting enough sunlight they require. 

How to Maximize Tomato Plant Yield 

How to Maximize Tomato Plant Yield 

You can increase how many tomatoes your plants produce by paying attention to details in their care. Here are some essential tips to follow. 

Nourish Your Soil

Your tomato soil should be rich in nutrients. If you’re concerned that your soil isn’t nutritious enough, you should get it tested to see if it requires additional nutrients.

You should always turn the soil to a depth of about one foot (0.3m) so that the nutrients will be spread throughout the soil, easily accessible to the tomato plants’ roots. You should get a soil pH test online or from your local nursery to ensure your plants have a pH of about 5.8 to 7.0

Find the Right Location

We’ve already mentioned that your tomato plants need to be planted in a site that gets a lot of sun but it should also maintain the proper temperature. Give your plants temperatures of between 65 and 75°F (18.3-23.8°C) as they require this warmth to grow and produce fruit. 

Space Them Apart

Earlier, we talked about how tomato plants should be placed about two feet (0.6m) apart from each other, but this isn’t always practical, especially if you don’t have a lot of space at home.

Consider keeping tomato plants in containers or make use of vertical space for them if you’re short on space. 

Plant Them at the Right Depth 

You want your tomato plant’s roots to be able to access all the nutrients in the soil and spread into the ground. So, make sure you plant them at the correct depth. This depends on the plant’s size.

So, if your plant is around 12 inches (30.48cm) in height, you want to ensure you plant three inches (7.62cm) of the tomato plant’s stem into the soil. 

Protect Tomato Plants From Scorching Heat 

Although tomatoes like heat, they don’t want to be exposed to harsh sunlight and heat that can damage them and delay their fruit production.

Insulation, such as in the form of a cone-shaped plastic insulator filled with water, can help to absorb the heat and release it at night when temperatures drop so that the plants will be warm. 

Prune the Tomato Plant’s Leaves 

You should prune the leaves of your tomato plants to make their tomatoes ripen and grow larger. But you should only prune indeterminate plants as these produce fruit all along their stems. By comparison, determinate tomatoes stop growing when they get to a certain height.

Now, when you plant indeterminate plants, remove their bottom leaves and flowers. This will encourage them to grow taller. To keep your plants looking neat and compact, you can remove leafy suckers, which are side shoots that appear between the main stem and side branches underneath the cluster of the first fruit that appears on the plant. 

But don’t remove all the suckers on indeterminate tomatoes, as this will cause your plant to grow fewer tomatoes (although they will be larger in size). 

Note that determinate tomato plants don’t need to be pruned. 

Mulch Your Tomatoes

To help your plants maintain the moisture they need to grow, you should apply a layer of mulch to the soil around your tomatoes. A mulch containing shredded leaves, composted leaves, or grass clippings is a good choice. 


Growing tomatoes requires putting enough space between your plants so that they thrive and produce high yields. In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about the best practices to follow when growing tomato plants, such as the following: 

  • Giving tomatoes at least six hours of sunlight per day. 
  • Watering tomato plants with one to two inches (2.54-5.08cm) of water per week. 
  • Spacing your tomato plants about two feet (0.6m) apart. 


About The Author

Gina Harper grew up dreaming about farms and growing her own food. She began an urban garden to feed herself and turned it into an incredible hobby. Gina is here to teach you everything from raised beds to container gardening, how to keep plants alive and well in a smoggy city, and the works. It’s time that we carve our own piece of green earth and reap what we sow—she’s here to help you with that.