How To Sucker Tomato Plants

As this website has evolved and grown, I’ve built relationships with many of my readers. Many of these relationships start out as an emailed question. I love helping out, and am well versed in online and offline research, so if I don’t have the answer, I can usually find it.

One of my recent questions came in from Donna, who is trying her hand at growing the Everglades tomatoes. Here is her latest question:

Hi it’s just me again.

I do not mean to harass you with my questions, but I do have one more.

I have heard over the years that you should “prune” some of the leaves of a tomato plant, which I have never done.

The story goes, that if you cut off some of the leaves, at the stalk, the tomato plant grows better, as the remaining leaves get more nutrition.

Have you heard of this before?

If you agree with this, how many leaves should I cut off of each plant?

I apologize if this sounds like a stupid question, but maybe you can tell me if this is true. Thanks again.


My typed response was this:


It is called “suckering”. A branch will grow out, and between the main stem and the branch, and can be trimmed off with no adverse affect on the plant. In fact, it normally allows the plant to concentrate its growth into producing fruit instead of more limbs. With the Everglades tomato, the LAST thing these plants need are MORE limbs…
Hope that helps!
(Oh, and you are no bother! Keep the questions coming!)

Here is the offending limb to be suckered in the red oval:

Sucker tomato Plant

As a followup, I thought it would be a great idea to get some video of me doing just that.
Here it is:


For what its worth, I like to take the trimmed branches and stick them in pots or as a minimum, in dirt somewhere…many of them take off if watered, providing clones of the parent plant. More free food is always a winner in my book!




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  1. I read that it helps the tomatoes if you also cut off some of the leaves. Does this work and what percent of the leaves do you cut??????

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