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I have had a plant that I did not seed germinate and grow in my pot of chives. I have been told that it is most likely a tomato plant. The plant has been healthy for a couple of months now but about two or three weeks ago the lower leaves started to yellow and die. Now the leave just above them are starting to yellow. The top part of the plant is still really healthy and I even have some flowers this week. Firstly, is it a tomato plant and if it is, what could be the cause and remedy for the leaves dying?

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Close up of the lower trunk where the leaves have died. Strange white things. enter image description here

The flowers enter image description here

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Tomatoes, if grown in pots, should be individually potted into large, 9 inch pots, and kept fed and watered.

First, you have chives in the same pot, sharing root room; second, the tomato (which is what it seems to be) is producing adventitious roots, which are the 'strange white things' you mention. Tomatoes often have little bumps on the stem near the base, and these are adventitious root buds - the fact that yours is producing actual roots, and is now dropping lower leaves, indicates the plant is very stressed. This is likely due to insufficient root room, insufficient water and probably lack of fertilizer. Although you haven't said whether you've been feeding it or not, I'd hazard a guess it hasn't been fertilized on a regular basis.

Given you're in the southern hemisphere, it's probably worth taking the risk (and its a risk because its already flowering) of decanting it and potting up into a container on its own and feeding and watering regularly.

  • You are correct, That pot has been neglected as it was one of four pots severely damaged by Cane Toads a while back. I have not been fertilizing it and I only started watering it about four weeks ago once I was told it might be a tomato plant. What exactly will I be risking if I re-pot it? – John Petrak Aug 20 '16 at 13:23
  • Loss of the existing flowers - on the other hand, unless its situation is improved, the whole plant might just give up... If its spring where you are, I'd cut it back, repot and water/feed ongoing, there's enough time in your growing season there. – Bamboo Aug 20 '16 at 14:29
  • Thanks @Bamboo, I have lots of chives in my upright planter, would it be better just to take them out of the tomato pot instead and leave the tomato plant alone? Should I still cut it back? And if so how much should I cut back? – John Petrak Aug 21 '16 at 6:55
  • You'll be surprised by how much root material there is around the bulbs of the chives, so you're likely to disturb the tomato roots anyway - I'll let you decide regarding that. And I'd cut the tomato back by half... thing is, not sure the tomato's a volunteer seedling - it looks quite woody on the stem, so I'm not certain its not an overwintered plant from last year - but you will know that better than me. – Bamboo Aug 21 '16 at 9:08

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