Are you tapping your tomato plant? Because you really should be according to experts

If you've been wanting a bumper crop of tomatoes, this might be your answer

Tomato plant in terracotta pot in a greenhouse at Chelsea Flower Show.
(Image credit: Future/Heather Young)

Looking to get green fingered this summer? Tomatoes are an easy place to start, and the perfect addition to alfresco dining. And to make growing tomatoes even simpler, we've got the latest trick - tomato tapping. 

Yep, you guessed it, this involves simply tapping the plant to encourage growth. We know how it sounds, how could a little tap every now and then make any ounce of difference to the outcome of your tomato plant? 

Essentially, all plants need pollinating in order to grow, but tomatoes are self-pollinating, meaning that they contain everything they need within themselves, but still require movement to properly grow. The presence of wind usually benefits this, but tapping can speed up the process to bless you with a bumper crop. Plus, we've had it confirmed by an expert, so you can rest assured that this garden idea is tried, tested and true. 

So, here's the science behind the tomato tapping trick. 

Tomato (cherry) 'Gardeners Delight' | £6.99 at Crocus

Tomato (cherry) 'Gardeners Delight' | £6.99 at Crocus

Cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest varieties for beginners to grow at home. This 8.5 cm pot will eventually grow to 1.5 m tall and a 0.6m spread and will deliver a reliable crop of baby toms.

Why should you tap your tomato plants?

'Tomato tapping is essentially a way of pollinating tomatoes by hand,' says Daniel Carruthers, Director of Sales at Cultivar Greenhouses. All plants need pollinating in order to grow, otherwise, they will simply die off. But how a plant pollinates will vary. 

Daniel Carruthers headshot
Daniel Carruthers

Daniel Carruthers is a passionate gardener and grow-your-own guru whose love of gardening began over a decade ago when he left his career as a London chef to move to the Welsh countryside and begin a new venture in the greenhouse industry. Daniel now enjoys many hours in his greenhouse nurturing a wide range of fruit, veg and herbs, from crop to the kitchen.

'Tomato plants have both male and female parts, so they are self-pollinating - all they need is a gentle breeze or the buzz from a pollinator to encourage the pollen to fall.'

In short, tomatoes are an easy garden idea and a great place to start if you haven't quite mastered more difficult veg or herbs like basil. Alongside ample water and sunlight, all that's needed is a little tap to help them on their way. 

'Sometimes, though, nature might need a helping hand. For example, if your tomatoes are grown in a greenhouse where there is limited opportunity for pollinators to access the plants or less chance of them being exposed to the elements, then tapping can help mimic the role that nature plays and encourage more pollen to fall,' advises Daniel. 

Flower pots with herbs and vegetables on a patio

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'The good news it that tapping tomatoes only takes a few minutes and is very easy - simply take hold of the stem and gently shake it so that pollen is released or tap the end of the flowers directly,' says Daniel. 

'If you have a fine paintbrush to hand (the type that you'd paint a picture with, not decorate your home), you can softly brush the inside of the flower in a twirling motion and then transfer the pollen collected onto the tip of the centre of the flower. If art isn't your thing, a cotton bud will also do the same job.' 

What you need to grow tomatoes at home

tomatoes grown in pots on patio

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So you have your finger, or paintbrush, at the ready, but what else do you need to turn your seedlings into fully-fledged tomato plants ready for picking? 

There's a reason why tomatoes are famed as one of the best amateur gardening ideas - you don't need much equipment and they won't require too much effort. 

Here are our favourite buys that will help your plant thrive and make your gardening space look great, whether it's a small garden or a large greenhouse space. 

There are a few more essentials you might need to grow tomatoes, so make sure you've ticked off the list before you begin planting. 

Seed tray with cells
18-inch diameter pot
Well draining compost
Drip tray
Trellis or stakes
Tomato fertiliser

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).