Growing tomatoes in containers

Slice them in a salad, simmer in a sauce, or nibble them straight from the vine, tomatoes are the taste of summer...

If you love the taste of fresh tomatoes but think you don’t have space to grow them, you will be delighted to know that there are tomato varieties for just about any space, with mature heights ranging from 6 inches to 6 feet tall and above. All may be grown in containers and several varieties may even be grown in hanging baskets. Some advantages of growing tomatoes in containers are better control of soil type, watering and drainage. It is also easier to monitor for possible disease and insect infestations.

Tips for Success

  • Tomatoes love sun. Provide a location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Plastic containers or glazed pottery retain moisture best - this can be an advantage as plants mature and temperatures rise. Use good quality, well-draining potting soil. Some gardeners add compost, but never more than 25% of the total growing medium.
  • When planting, mix an organic vegetable fertilizer into the soil. Enhance growth and fruit production with an organic seaweed extract. Seaweed extract products may be applied as a drench or a foliar spray early in the day and repeated every two weeks throughout the growing season.
  • Check plants daily as they mature. Soil should be evenly moist but not soggy. When watering, thoroughly water the entire root zone. Make sure the container drains well and they do not sit in water. It is best to water in the morning so plant roots can take best advantage of the moisture and soil temperatures are not cooled by watering during the peak growing time of day.

Tomato Terms

(H) Heirloom – varieties whose seed strain has been preserved intact for 85 years
Determinate – varieties tend to produce fruits which bear most of their fruit over a 4 to 6 week time. Plants are typically smaller and usually do not require staking.
Indeterminate – varieties keep growing and producing fruit over a very long season. They need to be staked or put in cages and can be grown in containers or in the ground. Indeterminate varieties produce best in containers of at least 20” or 22” in diameter.

cherry tomatoes FOR CONTAINERS

'BLACK CHERRY' (H)    cherry-sized fruit    Indeterminate ~ 65 days
Heirloom cherry tomato with a rich mahogany-purple color and sweetly complex flavor. Expect high yields on this vigorous, fast growing plant.  A must-grow.

'ISIS CANDY’ (H)    cherry-sized fruit    Indeterminate ~ 67-74 days
Beautiful red and yellow marbled heirloom offering large yields of award-winning tomatoes. The flavor is outstandingly sweet and fruity. Kids adore them. 

'PATIO CHOICE YELLOW CHERRY'    cherry-sized fruit    Determinate ~ 60-65 days
This cheery yellow cherry tomato plant is an All-America Selections (AAS) Winner for 2017. Developed for urban and small-space gardeners, each plant grows about 18” tall and sets over 100 fruit with mildly sweet flavor and a touch of acid.

'RED ROBIN CHERRY'    cherry-sized fruit    Determinate ~ 55 days
A true dwarf with a bushy, semi-weeping habit 8-12” in height. This is the first tomato grown in space, selected by astronauts on the International Space Station for its sweet, tangy flavor and ease of growing. Very productive for a miniature plant.

'SUNGOLD'    cherry-sized fruit    Indeterminate ~ 60-65 days
The darling of the cherry tomato world. This explosively productive hybrid tastes like summer-time. The 1” fruit has golden orange flesh that bursts with sweet, tropical flavor. Try in a fruit salad!

‘SWEET MILLION’    cherry-sized fruit    Indeterminate ~ 60-65 days
Bright red hybrid cherries are extra sweet and resist cracking. Each plant produces a seemingly endless supply of perfect 1” tomatoes. Disease resistant.

‘TUMBLING TOM RED/YELLOW CHERRY’    cherry-sized fruit    Determinate ~ 65-70 days
A cascading cherry tomato with vines that can trail up to 2 ft. Striking in hanging baskets, window boxes, or tall containers, the fruit is deliciously sweet. Can be grown in a 1 gallon pot.  

FULL-SIZED TOMATOES FOR CONTAINERS

'BLACK SEA MAN' (H)    8-14 oz. fruit    Determinate ~ 75 days
Brownish pink fruits with olive green shading on exterior and interior. Rich flavor and high production, benefits from staking, often 4 ft. tall. 

'BUSH GOLIATH'    6-8 oz. fruit    Determinate ~ 65-68 days
Attractive, compact plants grow up to 4 ft. tall and need little staking. Fruits are large, red and packed with flavor. Bears consistently up to frost. Disease resistant.

'CHAMPION'    6-7 oz. fruit    Indeterminate ~ 65-68 days
This hybrid was created to be the perfect sandwich tomato. It has crisp, meaty texture, nice sweetness and slices well. Skin is smooth and flesh is true red. 

'DONA'    4-6 oz. fruit    Indeterminate ~ 65-70 days
Bred for the choosy French markets, the flavor has near perfect sweet/acid balance.  Shiny, bright red, uniformly round fruits grow abundantly. Crack and disease resistant. Très bon!

'GREEN ZEBRA' (H)    3-4 oz. fruit    Indeterminate ~ 72-78 days
The sweet and tangy flavor of the fruit is as appealing as the spectacular appearance- glowing green skin overlaid with olive and gold mottled streaks. A favorite with chefs and restaurateurs. Expect high yields.

'MEGA BITE'    3-5 oz. fruit    Determinate ~ 60 days
This sturdy plant reaches only 18”-24” tall and grows an abundance of red slicing tomatoes. Fruit is juicy and firm, great for salads, sandwiches or pastas.

'STUPICE' (H)    2-4 oz. fruit    Indeterminate ~ 55-62 days
(Pronounced “stu-PEACH-ka”) Native of Czechoslovakia, this tomato’s extreme earliness, tolerance to cold, superior flavor and high yields have earned it worldwide attention.