Blotchy Ripening on Tomatoes

“Dear Horticulturist, my tomatoes are nice and red when I pick them, but then when I cut them open they are green inside. Also, I have some tomatoes that have streaks of green on the outside. What is wrong with them? Thanks, Don”


Hi Don,

Thank you for contacting me in regards to your tomatoes.

This is a physiological disorder known as Blotchy Ripening.  It is indicated by the absence of normal red pigment on localized areas of the fruit – it can be in the core of the fruit, in the tissue or seed cavity, or just under the skin of the fruit. These areas appear as yellow or gray-green patches on otherwise normal-colored ripening fruit. When these fruits are vine ripened and are sliced open, there is a possibility for brown discoloration to also be present.

Climatic, nutritional, and cultural problems may contribute to blotchy ripening. Low levels of potassium in plants and prolonged cloudy periods or inadequate light intensity have been associated with the disorder. Other possible contributing factors are high soil moisture, high humidity, low temperature, soil compaction, and excessive fertilization. These environmental factors can contribute to nutrient deficiencies or other imbalances that impede development of red pigment in the fruit.

To minimize incidence of blotchy ripening, follow proper cultural practices to maintain nutritional balance and plant vigor. If commercial fertilizers are used, select balanced formulations and avoid over-application.




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