Growing Tomatoes in Containers
By Chase Smoak, Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Lack the space or time for a traditional garden filled with tomatoes? No worries.
You can grow tomatoes in pots and hanging baskets, too.
Follow these tips:
- Use pots that are at least 6–8 inches deep with holes underneath for drainage.
- For ease of movement, use dollies or platforms with wheels to shift plants around.
- Use a lightweight potting mix. Packaged mixes are widely available at most garden centers, but be sure to avoid soilless media that lacks the required nutrients.
- When using a potting mix with added fertilizer, wait 8–10 weeks before adding more nutrients. When it’s time, use a water-soluble fertilizer at its recommended rate.
- Choose your variety with care. For containers, I recommend these AAS-tested standouts.
Under 20″ tall
Tomato Patio Choice Yellow F1
Patio Choice Yellow is a compact, determinate tomato developed specifically for small spaces and container gardens. This AAS Winner produces very large yields of 1/2 ounce bright yellow cherry tomatoes on short vines that grow only 18 inches tall.
Tomato Lizzano F1
This tomato grows 16–20 inches tall and only 20 inches wide. Lizzano produces a copious amount of fruit, which can be harvested in just 63 days after transplant. One perk of this variety is its noted resistance to late blight.
Under 24″ tall
Tomato Fantastico F1
Fantastico is a must for any home gardener looking for an early-maturing, high-yielding grape tomato with built-in Late Blight Tolerance. Bred for small gardens, determinate Fantastico will work great in hanging baskets, container gardens as well as in small gardens.
Tomato Early Resilience F1
Early Resilience is a rounded Roma tomato with a deep red interior color, uniform maturity, good quality flesh, and very good resistance to Blossom End Rot. Determinate, bushy plants can be staked but it is not necessary.
Tomato Celano F1
Celano is a patio-type grape tomato with a strong bushy habit that will benefit grown with some support, such as a tomato cage. This semi-determinate hybrid tomato is an early producer of sweet oblong fruits weighing about 0.6 oz. each. Plants have excellent late blight tolerance.
Tomato Red Racer F1
Red Racer, a cocktail size tomato, produced small, uniform fruits with great taste in the AAS Trials. These tomatoes are uniform in size and mature as a cluster of fruits. The compact determinate plants produced a huge yield 7-10 days earlier than the comparisons and are ideal for small spaces.
Chase Smoak is a Clemson University Cooperative Extension agent who specializes in plant propagation. He writes gardening columns for multiple publications and frequently appears on South Carolina Educational Television’s award-winning program “Making It Grow.”
“This post is provided as an education/inspirational service of All-America Selections. Please credit and link to All-America Selections when using all or parts of this article.”
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