The Lowest Temperature For Tomatoes And Peppers

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Last Updated on October 26, 2022

Every gardener should be aware of the lowest temperature for tomatoes and peppers to save them before the frost season begins.

Gardening is not for the faint-hearted; sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s smooth. This is true more so when you think about the right time to plant your crop, especially if it does not do well in frost.

Suppose you have plenty of decent gardening and realize that the weather is threatening with an early frost you have to protect it. Tomatoes and peppers are some of the crops that do not do well in the winter season. You have to harvest them before the frost falls and try to ripen them indoors. You can save your plants right in the garden by building a shade over them to extend the gardening season.

If you are trying to grow tomatoes, eggplant, or peppers, it is essential to learn what is the lowest temperature these plants can take.  In this article, we will look at both the lowest and the highest temperatures that these plants are able to survive under.

Lowest Temperatures For Tomatoes And Peppers

According to the USDA Research Service, tomatoes show problems when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool nighttime temperatures interfere with the tomato’s ability to convert the sunlight into sugars via a process known as photosynthesis.

Low temperatures also reduce pollen production in tomatoes and peppers, resulting in less fruit production or fruits deformation. You may also experience scars and cracks on the bottom end of your fruit that occur during the night when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lowest Temperatures For Tomatoes And Peppers

Protecting Your Tomatoes And Peppers From The Lowest Temperatures

To protect your tomato and pepper plants from frost, you will need two things –  sturdy garden stakes or tomato cages and bubble wrap. The garden stakes or tomato cages will form the structure that will allow you to wrap the bubble wrap around, protecting your plants.

Ensure that your bubble wrap is firm so that it doesn’t cause a mess of your tomato and pepper plants. Choose a study structure long enough to cover your tomato plant’s height. You can install the cage once you plant or over the existing plants towards the end of the season with ease.

Once you have the tomato cage over the plant, wrap the bubble wrap around the cage and use duct tape to secure it in place. Wrap it around the cage, starting from the ground level all the way up to a few inches above the top of the plant. Ensure that you cover the top of the plant as well.

The sturdy structure and bubble wrap are enough to protect your plants until their harvest time. But to avoid all the hassle, ensure that you plant your tomatoes and peppers at the right time. If you realize that you are late, it is essential to look for varieties that easily stand lower temperatures.

Germination And Growing Temperatures For Tomatoes And Peppers

Can pepper plants survive frost?  The minimum temperature to germinate and grow tomatoes and peppers is at least 15 degrees Centigrade.  However, germination will happen faster when the temperature is above 20 to 24 degrees centigrade.

The pepper temperature tolerance for nighttime weather is around 13.5 degrees centigrade.  However, the daytime temperature should not fall below 15 degrees Centigrade for a week or more. If this happens, you will get stunted crops.

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If the nighttime temperatures drop below 13.5 degrees centigrade, a few things go wrong. Pollen fails to develop, and flowers that open the following morning do not set fruit.

That said, the ideal temperature for growing tomatoes and peppers should range between 20 degrees and 24 degrees centigrade.

We can now clearly answer the question ‘can peppers survive frost’ from the above information.

Tomato Varieties For Cooler Climates

Generally, tomatoes require a favorable temperature between 15 degrees to 32 degrees Centigrade to survive. However, there are specific tomato varieties purposely bred for cooler climates with the ability to tolerate temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  The best choices for such weather are short to mid-season tomatoes.

These tomatoes set fruit in cooler temperatures and reach maturity in the shortest number of days, around 52 to 70 days. Some hybrid examples include:

  • Celebrity
  • Golden nugget
  • Subarctic plenty tomato
  • Husky gold
  • Orange pixie
  • Oregon spring
  • Siletz
  • Some heirloom varieties include
  • Legend
  • Bush beefsteak
  • Manitoba
  • Kimberly
  • New Yorker
  • Glacier
  • Gregori’s Altai
  • Galina
  • Grushovka
Tomato Varieties For Cooler Climates

Tomato Varieties For Hot Regions

When we talk about the lowest temperatures for tomatoes and peppers, it would be good to also talk about the right tomatoes for the hot regions.

Temperatures that rise above 27 degrees centigrade, cause both tomatoes and peppers to suffer from too much heat. When they hit 32 degrees centigrade, the fruits will fail to set, and you will lose productivity on your plants. Countries or regions that enjoy a hot climate pushes tomato and pepper farmers to grow them under shade.

The heat-tolerant varieties that you can grow in these regions include:

  • Sunbeam
  • Bella Rosa
  • Florida
  • Sunny Bell
  • Big beef
  • Mountain crest
  • Porter
  • Spitfire
  • Solar fire
  • Fourth of July
  • Heatwave
  • Homestead
  • Super fantastic
  • Sunchaser
  • Sweet 100
  • Arkansas traveler
  • Green zebra

So How Do You Solve The Temperature Problem In Tomatoes And Peppers

Although there is not much you can do about a change of temperatures, especially these days of climate change; you can try a few remedies

First, don’t plant your peppers and  tomatoes in the wrong season

Second, ensure the soil is at the proper temperatures when growing.

Besides planting cold-hardy tomato varieties, you can also cover your peppers and tomatoes with a structure to keep the fruit warm until it matures and ripens.

Dark plastic coverings raise the temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees, while clear plastic coverings warm the tomatoes by up to 20 degrees. Using either of the coverings is enough to save your tomatoes and pepper crop


Can tomatoes handle 40 degree weather?

Yes, tomatoes can tolerate temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

What are the effects of low temperature on tomatoes?

The effect of low temperature on tomatoes is to increase the amount of water in the fruit and to slow down growth. This means that the tomato will be less firm and more juicy, but not necessarily smaller.

What is the lowest temperature peppers can tolerate?

In terms of their growing environment, I would say that they could tolerate at least -10°C. I live in a temperate climate. They are not as cold tolerant as some other fruits and vegetables though.
But they are pretty sensitive to frost. Make sure you have adequate drainage and that your soil isn't too wet.
Peppers are extremely sensitive to low temperatures. In general, they cannot be stored in the refrigerator below 40°F. When peppers are stored at temperatures above 60°F, they lose their flavor, color, and texture and may not ripen properly.

When can I put my pepper plants outside?

If you live in an area where the temperature is not expected to drop below freezing for at least two weeks, then it’s okay to put your pepper plants out.
Most peppers will be fine to plant outside after all danger of frost is over. You can start them in the greenhouse in late spring or early fall if you want them to flower indoors first. Some varieties may not like being transplanted and may bolt. If this happens, you can transplant them again later when they are larger and less likely to bolt.

Can peppers survive a light frost?

Yes, most likely. The hardiest of the common pepper varieties are the Bells, which can handle down to -7°C (-20°F). The sweet peppers should also be able to survive, but they will need to have been grown under cover or protected from the wind, and the temperature inside will need to be kept well above freezing, say 12-15°C (54-59°F).

Can tomatoes grow in cold weather?

The ideal temperature for growing tomatoes is around 60 degrees. Cold weather slows down growth, which can result in stunted fruit. In milder climates, tomatoes can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees, but they will not grow and may even die.

How do tomatoes grow?

This plant's life cycle includes its vegetative (growing) and reproductive (fruiting) stages.
Vegetative growth occurs in the spring and summer months. Reproductive growth occurs in the fall and winter months. The second is by looking at a plant's growing season, which begins in spring and ends in fall. The growing season refers to the time that a plant is actively growing and producing fruit. This is the same as your growing season, which is determined by the length of the day. If your growing season is long, you can expect your tomato plants to produce fruit in the fall. If your growing season is short, your plants will not produce fruit until spring. Tomatoes have a long growing season. The growing season is determined by the length of the day. If the length of the day is shorter than 12 hours, the growing season is shorter. If the length of the day is 12 hours or longer, the growing season is longer.


Temperature change is one of the adverse effects on plants that affect their health and productivity.  It is critical to prevent your crop from both the hot and cold weather extremes that face all gardeners at different times of the year.

All the best as you work to overcome climate change that could be detrimental to your crop.

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