Potted tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Amalia) were submitted to three different treatments: control (C) plants were maintained at day/night temperature of 25/18 °C; preconditioned plants (PS) were submitted to two consecutive periods of 4 d each, of 30/23 and 35/28 °C before being exposed to a heat stress (40/33 °C lasting 4 d) and non-preconditioned (S) plants were maintained in the same conditions as the C plants and exposed to the heat stress. The inhibition of plant growth was observed only in PS plants. Heat stress decreased chlorophyll content, net photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance in both PS and S plants. However, PS plants showed good osmotic adjustment, which enabled them to maintain leaf pressure potential higher than in S plants. Furthermore, at the end of the recovery period PS plants had higher pressure potential and stomatal conductance than in S plants.