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When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri? | Perfect Plantation Time!

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Tomatoes are a beloved summer staple for gardeners and food enthusiasts alike.

These juicy, versatile fruits are delicious and packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. Whether you prefer them sliced in a sandwich, roasted in a pasta dish, or simply eaten fresh off the vine, ripe, plump tomatoes are undoubtedly appealing.

If you’re a gardener in Missouri, you may be wondering when to plant tomatoes in Missouri.

With its varied climate and soil conditions, Missouri can be challenging to grow tomatoes. However, with a little know-how and some careful planning, you can enjoy a bountiful tomato harvest in your backyard.

This article will explore the right climate and other conditions to plant and grow tomatoes.

Let’s begin!

When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri
Bushel Bush of Tomatoes – via Flickr

Understanding Missouri’s Climate

Before discussing planting times, it’s important to understand Missouri’s climate.

Missouri’s climate is characterized by warm summers and cold winters, with varying weather patterns throughout the year.

The state is situated in the United States Central region, and its climate is influenced by its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Plains. Understanding Missouri’s climate is crucial for planting tomatoes as it can affect the plant’s growth and productivity.

The state has a humid subtropical climate, with the southern regions experiencing more humid and hot conditions while the northern areas are cooler and have more extreme temperature fluctuations.

Missouri has a growing season of about 150 days, with an average temperature of 59°F. However, the temperatures can vary widely across the state, with some areas experiencing more frosty days than others.

The USDA plant hardiness zones for Missouri range from Zone 5b in the north to Zone 7a in the southern part of the state.

It is important to note that climate conditions can vary widely within the state, and it is essential to know the specific climate conditions in your area before planting tomatoes.

When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri?

Now that you know the general climate of Missouri, let’s explore more about when to plant tomatoes in Missouri.

The ideal time to plant tomatoes in Missouri is in late April or early May when the soil has warmed up, and the risk of frost has passed.

However, the exact timing can vary depending on the specific region within the state.

In northern Missouri, where the climate is cooler, it’s best to wait until mid-May before planting tomatoes. In contrast, in southern Missouri, where the climate is warmer, tomatoes can be planted earlier in April.

It’s also important to consider the local weather forecast when planting tomatoes.

Heavy rains or a sudden cold snap can harm young tomato plants, so it’s best to wait for stable weather conditions before planting.

Houston Climate Graph - Missouri Climate Chart - When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri
As you can see in the above graph, the average temperatures during April and May are around the ideal range (60–80°F) to grow tomatoes—Image via © US Climate Data 2023.

Common Tomato Varieties to Grow in Missouri

Choosing the right tomato variety is also important for a successful harvest.

Missouri gardeners should look for varieties adapted to the state’s climate and disease resistance.

Some of the best tomato varieties for Missouri include:

Early Girl

This variety is known for its early production of medium-sized fruits, which are flavorful and juicy. It is a determinate variety, producing all its fruit at once, making it an excellent choice for canning or preserving.

Better Boy

Better Boy is an indeterminate variety that produces large, meaty fruits with a slightly sweet flavor. It is resistant to many common tomato diseases and is a popular choice for home gardeners and market growers.


Celebrity is a determinate variety that produces medium-sized fruits with balanced acidity and sweetness. It is a reliable producer and is resistant to many diseases.

Cherokee Purple

This heirloom variety is known for its deep, rich flavor and large, purple-black fruits. It is an indeterminate variety grown throughout the season and is a popular choice among tomato enthusiasts.

Other popular tomato varieties for Missouri include Roma, San Marzano, and Beefsteak.

When selecting tomato varieties, it is important to consider disease resistance, yield, flavor, and intended use (such as slicing or canning).

Guide to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri for the Best Results!

Here is a stepwise guide to planting tomatoes:

  • Preparing the Soil: Before planting tomatoes, it’s crucial to prepare the soil. Missouri gardeners should choose a location with well-drained soil and full sun exposure.
  • Planting Tomatoes: To plant tomatoes in Missouri, dig a hole deep enough to cover the root ball and up to the first set of leaves.
    • Space tomato plants 2 to 3 feet apart, with rows spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. After planting, water the plants thoroughly and add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Caring for Tomato Plants: Caring for tomato plants is crucial for a successful harvest. In Missouri, tomatoes require regular watering, especially during hot, dry periods. To prevent any disease, it’s essential to water the soil, not the foliage.
    • Tomato plants also benefit from regular fertilization throughout the growing season. Tomatoes also benefit from regular pruning and support.
    • Indeterminate tomato varieties, which continue to grow throughout the growing season, require staking or trellising to support their upright growth habit.
    • Pruning is also important to remove suckers, shoots that grow between the stem and the main branches. Removing suckers helps focus the plant’s energy on producing fruit.
  • Harvesting Tomatoes: In Missouri, tomatoes typically ripen from late June to early September, depending on the planting time and variety.
    • It’s important to harvest tomatoes when they’re fully ripe but still firm, as overripe tomatoes can quickly spoil.
    • To harvest tomatoes, gently twist them off the vine or use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
How to Prune Tomatoes for Maximum Yield and Plant Health – via Youtube
9 Tomato Growing Tips (That Actually Work) – YouTube

That’s all for today.


When to plant tomatoes in Missouri, you asked? I hope this answers the question.

Tomatoes are a popular and rewarding crop for Missouri gardeners, but timing is crucial for a successful harvest. Growing tomatoes in Missouri can be a rewarding experience for gardeners who take the time to understand the state’s climate and planting requirements.

By choosing the right tomato variety, preparing the soil correctly, and planting at the appropriate time, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of juicy, flavorful tomatoes all season long.

Don’t forget to monitor your plants for pests and diseases and give them the care they need to thrive.

You can successfully grow delicious tomatoes in Missouri with little effort and attention.