Catface in Tomatoes

Tomato catface (catfacing) is a physiological problem that is thought to be caused by growth disturbances during the blossoming phase.

The problem shows as malformed and misshapen fruit on the blossom end. Most susceptible are the larger tomato varieties.

How to Identify Catfacing in Tomatoes

Tomato catfacing
Tomato Catfacing
Tomato catfacing
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • The blossom-end of the fruit is puckered.
  • There may be deep cavities on the blossom-end.
  • Occurs most frequently on the first harvested fruits.


  • Setting plants out too early or cool and cloudy weather at flowering time.
  • Disturbance of blossoms, or the blossoms stick to newly formed fruits, causing malformation as they develop.
  • Night temperatures below 58˚F during flowering.
  • Very large varieties are more prone to catfacing.
  • Growth-hormone-type herbicides such as 2,4-D are also implicated as a cause.
  • Overly high levels of nitrogen can also contribute to the problem.

Preventative Measures

  • Plant varieties that are less susceptible to catfacing. Larger beefsteak varieties are more prone to have the problem.
  • Don't set plants out too early in the season (see When to Plant Tomatoes)

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Credits for technical content

  1. University of Wisconsin Urban Horticulture
  2. Oregon State University Extension


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