Tomato Container Gardening: Some Great Choices

If you have limited gardening space, using buckets, pots and containers to grow tomatoes is a great alternative. Thanks to their small footprint, pots and other containers offer an ideal and creative way to get your gardening fix no matter where you live.

Container gardening offers other advantages, as well. For starters, growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to new gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden. Obviously, it is a lot easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area. For one thing, this more portable set-up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the recommended 10+ hours of sunlight each day. With just a little bit of planning and minimal effort, container gardening makes it easy to grow fresh tomatoes in pots throughout the growing season.

Sidenote: I have grown a big garden, in the ground, so I’m pretty new to container gardening. I have grown squash in some pretty large containers, but those aren’t feasible for apartment living or if you have a small yard.

So, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardens. Small tomato varieties like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are perfect if you want tomatoes in a salad. Growing bigger varieties for slicing to put on a sandwich or a burger may be a little more challenging. You’ll definitely want a decent sized pot and a way to tie-up the plants. Tomato plants can get very top heavy and need to be staked, even if you plant them in a regular garden.

Here are three tomato varieties you may want to try:

Japanese Black Trifele

Although the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, be advised that it can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties. Before buying a particular plant, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.  The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe. This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious, so this variety performs double duty as an ornamental. As far as flavor goes, expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste. For hands-off tomato growing this is a fan favorite thanks to its hardy nature and stunning good looks.



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This highly popular cherry tomato can be found just about everywhere and since they are not overly sprawling plants, they are perfect for container gardens. The Sungold’s fruit has a tropical, fruity flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious warm off the vine. This plant is known to be very strong and requires very little tender loving care. Also, a single Sungold plant can keep your entire family in cherry tomatoes all summer long.

Gardening Tip: Start one or two extra plants about three weeks after your first plant for fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes all season long.

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credit: Adam Decker

This image is actually the Cherokee Purple, but it is very similar in color to the Brandywine. Both are great choices for black variety tomatoes.

The charming Brandywine variety has earned the title of “favorite tomato” by gardeners everywhere thanks to its delicious flavor. In fact, it consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests in the United States and abroad. The highly versatile Brandywine tomato is perfect for container growth. Be forewarned, however… This particular variety can grow rather large, but a couple of sturdy stakes accompanied by consistent and regular pruning can keep it in line. Alternately, you may prefer to place your container along your balcony or deck railing to help support its growth.



So there you have it – three great varieties of tomatoes to grow in containers. Of course, this list is far from comprehensive. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find many other great options for your container garden once you start looking. A couple of examples include the Wapsipinicon Peach with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits. These varieties, along with the three described above, are sure to be welcome and productive additions to your container garden this season.


Happy Gardening!

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