How Much Bone Meal Per Tomato Plant [+ When & How To Apply]

Planting a tomato plant is easy enough, but growing large, beautiful tomatoes is not. There’s a lot that goes into caring for a fruitful tomato plant.

Bone meal is an excellent fertilizer for tomato plants that can result in vibrant and robust plants if you know how to use it. 

Bone meal gives your tomatoes an added boost of phosphorus that keeps them growing healthy and strong.

How much bone meal do you use per tomato plant? To get the best results, use one large teaspoon of bone meal per tomato plant when planting. Simply add bone meal to the hole and mix with soil. Alternatively, sprinkle one heaping teaspoon of bone meal around established tomatoes and incorporate into soil using a rake.

Using bone meal successfully with tomato plants requires knowing more than just how much to add.

How do you select which bone meal to use? What is the best way to apply it? Read on to learn all about adding bone meal to your tomato plants. 

Guide To Using Bone Meal With Tomato Plants

Bone meal is the product of grinding up animal bones for fertilizer.

Animal bones, mainly scraps from slaughterhouses or farmers, are cooked, sterilized, and then ground into a powder to create a meal.

This meal is organic and rich in nutrients. It gives plants the boost they need to grow healthy, create beautiful blooms, and produce a bountiful harvest. 

Bone meal is exceptionally high in calcium and phosphorus and even enhances the soil with trace amounts of nitrogen.

All of these nutrients are essential for healthy plant growth. It acts as a slow-release fertilizer and requires slightly acidic soil to work.

This is perfect for tomato plants since they thrive in acidic conditions. 

Bone Meal Nutrient Content

Bone meal’s nutrient content varies depending on what supplier you purchase it from or how you make your own. All bone meal is exceptionally high in phosphorus and calcium. 

Bone meal usually has an NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio of 3-15-0.

Even though it lacks potassium and has lower nitrogen levels than other fertilizers, its phosphorus, calcium, and carbon content make up for it. 

Is Bone Meal Good for Tomatoes?

Bone meal is great for many plants, especially tomatoes, because it provides two key nutrients: phosphorus and calcium.

Extra phosphorus helps tomato plants grow bigger and healthier fruits, not to mention that phosphorus is responsible for providing the fruit with water from the soil.

So adding bone meal will reward you with bigger, juicier tomatoes next harvest season.  

The extra calcium in the bone meal also provides your tomato plant’s roots and stems with added strength, which is crucial since tomatoes tend to get top-heavy and topple over. 

Calcium is also critical for preventing the dreaded blossom end rot in tomatoes.

How To Use Bone Meal for Your Tomato Plants

Adding bone meal to your tomato plants is very simple to do. However, you need to do some prep work to ensure that you have the best conditions possible for using bone meal to grow tomatoes. 

To begin, you should test your soil quality and pH. Bone meal requires soil with a pH lower than 7.0 so that the acid in the soil can draw the nutrients out of the powder.

Luckily tomatoes thrive in soil with a pH ranging from 6.0-7.0, so the two make a perfect match.

Testing your soil quality will also let you know what nutrients are already present in the soil so that you don’t accidentally overwhelm it by adding the bone meal. 

After you’ve tested your soil quality, the rest is easy to do.

Once you have a sprouted tomato plant ready for its permanent home, the best way to apply bone meal is to add it to the bottom of the hole you dig when you transplant your tomato. 

If you are planting tomato seeds directly into the ground, put the bone meal in the ground before you plant the seed and cover it with a little bit of soil.

For best results, you can mix in a little bit of Epsom salt and crushed eggshell to boost the magnesium and calcium content, which will, in turn, help you grow the healthiest tomato plants possible.

Can You Put Bone Meal on Top of Soil?

Even though mixing bone meal into the soil near the plant’s roots will provide the best outcome, you can add bone meal to the top of your soil and still see benefits from it.

To add bone meal to the top of your soil, sprinkle a little bit (no more than 3 cups per 100 square feet) over your plants and use a rake to incorporate it into the soil. 

When adding bone meal to the top of the soil, you should water your soil immediately to help the meal seep into the ground better.

Benefits of Using Bone Meal for Tomato Plants

Several very large beefsteak tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Using bone meal to fertilize your tomato plants has a wide variety of benefits. These benefits include:

  • Increased fruit yield.
  • Increased fruit size.
  • Stronger roots.
  • Stronger stems.
  • Significantly lower chance of blossom end rot.

One key benefit to using bone meal that often gets overlooked is that it helps water drain from the soil. When plants get too much water, it causes their roots to rot in the ground.

The bone meal helps to combat this by adding insoluble coarseness to the soil.

Bone Meal Disadvantages

Even though it’s great for providing a nutrient boost for various plants, bone meal has its disadvantages. Some disadvantages of using bone meal include:

  • Doesn’t work well in soil with a pH greater than 7.0.
  • Easily inhaled when applying, which can cause lung and airway damage.
  • Is a slow-release fertilizer that doesn’t give immediate results.
  • Can attract pests and scavengers if applied incorrectly.

Related Questions:

Is Bone Meal Good for Peppers?

Bone meal works exceptionally well for pepper plants. Not only does it fertilize the plant and provide lush growth and bountiful fruit, but it also keeps the soil from retaining too much water.

Waterlogged soil is detrimental to peppers, and having the added coarseness of the bone meal helps combat water absorption. 

Is Blood Meal Good for Tomatoes?

Blood meal is dried blood collected from various animals in slaughterhouses. Blood meal is super high in nitrogen and protein, making it an exceptional fertilizer for many plants, including tomatoes. 

Blood meal has an oxygen content of around 13%, which helps tomatoes produce more fruit. It can even help deter pests like deer and moles from eating your tomato plants. 

That’s a Wrap 

Bone meal is a fantastic natural fertilizer that provides many benefits to garden plants, especially tomatoes.

Using bone meal on your tomato plants will increase your harvest and help keep your tomato plant growing healthy and strong.