Are you looking to grow a gorgeous tomato garden this summer? Would you like to learn the best and healthiest ways to support your tomato plants?
Then, you’ve come to the right place! Learn why tomato cages are valuable garden tools that motivate upward plant growth while keeping fruit off the ground. Also, see why using a garden cage will give your plants the best chances to grow, add strength, and help them produce a bountiful harvest.
Keep reading as we’ve created the perfect guide to help you choose the best tomato cages. Finally, learn what seasoned gardeners and farmers say in our all-exclusive interviews!
Our Top Picks
Happy Trees Large Heavy-Duty Tomato Cages
K-Brands Tomato Cage
The Best Tomato Cages To Use For Your Plants
Below we’ve compiled a list of the best tomato plant cages.
For my money, you can’t go wrong with the top two picks on this list. If you plan to grow tomatoes year after year – trust me – make the investment and buy some serious tomato cages. Don’t get fooled into the cheap stuff you’ll throw into a landfill before next season.
If you’re just starting out or can’t yet make the investment in some nice cages, we’ve got two budget options that will do the trick. If you take good care of them – and your plants don’t get too big and heavy – it’s possible they could make it a couple seasons.
Happy Trees Large Heavy-Duty Tomato Cages
The Happy Trees galvanized steel tomato cage is a tough, U.S.A.-made garden trellis that will last you many years. Good luck finding a higher-quality tomato cage that could last longer than these.
If you like to grow large, tall tomato plants loaded with fruit, you will love these cages. This sturdy tomato cage can support even the largest fruits, and you can collapse it after harvest for easy storage.
Gardener’s Supply Company Heavy-Duty Tomato Cages
Gardener’s Supply has created a heavy-duty powder-coated steel tomato cage which is smaller than the Happy Trees cages, and as such is also more economical. These tomato cages are about 14″ square and 39″ tall, perfectly fine for most determinate plants.
Each heavy-duty tomato cage also features eight-inch wide squared openings with hinged panels, which you can fold down flat, making these easier to store at the end of the growing season.
VEVOR Square PVC-Coated Tomato Cages
Of our three cages on this list so far, these VEVOR tomato cages are the most narrow. If you like to prune your plants down to a main stem rather than let them get really bushy, these might be perfect for you.
At about 12″ square by 46″ tall, they have enough height to handle a vigorous plant, and due to their yet smaller size than the first two options, they cost a bit less per cage as well.
K-Brands Tomato Cage
K-Brands makes its tomato cages using steel cores and plastic rust-resistant coating. K-Brands cages also are designed to support both indoor and outdoor plants.
These tomato cages come with snap-on clips used to reposition the stakes. You can adjust these to a maximum height of seventy-two inches or as short as sixteen inches. Gardners love the green color of this cage since it blends right into the garden.
Choosing The Best Tomato Cages
A tomato cage is a structure that helps provide extra support to large vining indeterminate tomato plant varieties. Additional support prevents cracking or breakage due to this fruit’s weight. Cages go around the perimeter of your plants and support them from the outside.
Traditionally they feature three to four vertical rods connected to three horizontal rings. The vertical rods then create shape as the rings offer a place for your plant stems and branches to rest. Also, the lower rods push into the ground to add additional support and stabilization.
How Do I Choose the Right Cages?
Cages are essential for first-time and seasoned gardeners, and several types are available for purchase. In the end, select the safest sturdy cages to avoid causing harm to your plants!
Tomato plant types that need cage support are generally trailing or semi-vining. We advise choosing a tomato cage that allows your plants to vine up while receiving sunlight, not vertical, like an arbor, since they require additional support.
Different Types of Tomato Cages
When choosing the proper garden cages, first considerÃƒ”š eco-friendly and homemade cages. These are healthiest for the environment and will save you trips to the store! Using what you have on hand will always save lots of money that you can then put into other garden areas.
If you’d prefer to purchase a cage, metal and wire varieties are available at your local hardware store and garden center. Metal cages easily stick directly into the ground and guide your tomato plant stems up and around their cone shapes.
We also love the aesthetics of tomato ladders and obelisk tomato cages. Ladders give you a unique look while allowing stems to grow both up and down versus just straight up. If you choose to make a wooden cage or purchase a metal obelisk cage, we know you’ll enjoy the unique towering features!
While using tomato cages to grow your plants, you’ll be relieved of pruning, pinching off suckers, or training your plants. Cages provide well-balanced shade for tomatoes and also help prevent sunscald.
Shade also helps plants retain the correct amount of moisture while keeping your plant free from issues such as blossom end rot and cracking!
A few cons to putting tomatoes in cages are the risks of bending or falling due to the plant’s maturity and figuring out space accommodations when planting. In addition, standard metal cages aren’t an ideal choice for small garden beds. Tomatoes will also need longer times to ripen due to added foliage shade.
Staking Tomato Plants
If you choose to stake your tomato plans, it saves lots of space in small garden beds. Generally, staking is very straightforward and keeps your vines and tomatoes elevated. Elevation helps reduce rot which then produces healthier tomatoes.
To maintain a plant’s ripening energy, you’ll have to continue frequently pruning if you choose to stake your tomato plants. Choosing sturdy stakes will also help your tomatoes grow larger and become easier to locate along with the vines.
Wire, Metal, Wood, and Plastic
Our research found the best overall choices are between wire, metal, and powder-coated metals. Wood cages are helpful but will depreciate quickly due to weather conditions. We also say to avoid anything made of plastic. You’ll find plastic will weather way faster than any other outdoor materials.
When’s The Best Time To Use a Tomato Cage?
Due to the fast rates of tomato plant growth, we recommend caging your plants during actual planting. You won’t need support right away; it never hurts to include these early in hopes of avoiding waiting till it’s too late or risks damaging your plant trying to add one in after growth.
When applying garden cages, always make sure never to damage the plant’s roots as you push them into the ground and always space evenly.
Do Your Research
Finally, we encourage you to do a little of your own research!
Plan to ask seasoned gardeners and farmers for personal advice. You’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn while chatting with local farmers and produce growers in your area. Local garden centers also give great insight and guidance regarding home gardening.
Favorite Eco-Friendly and Homemade Choices
Tomato cages work to support vines of indeterminate tomatoes, but limitations can arise regarding store-bought options, whether the size, construction, or cost.
Don’t worry! There are many straightforward ways to make cages for your garden that are less costly and work just as well!
First, make cages using cattle panels or chicken wire and cable ties, or four wooden stakes with twine wrapped, creating a cage with the string. You could also tie tomato stems to wooden stakes or make a tomato teepee tying a handful of wooden dowels together at the top.
We recommend cutting up pantyhose over twine if you need to tie your tomato stems. Since pantyhose is a quick-drying soft material, it won’t ever hurt your branches, cause damages, or create mold.
The Best Alternative Method: Fencing
We interviewed several seasoned gardeners and farmers and heard about the beauty of an alternative method called “fencing.”
Fencing will require less space, and you can also plant your tomato plants closer together! You can also weave your plants as they grow through the grid. Fencing also requires way less plant training, pruning, or tieing down your stems.
Farmers love that you can leave these homemade trellises up all year round after installation and building costs! Then, in the spring, add compost along the sides of the fencing and plant your new plants.
They also talked about the extreme benefits of healthy tomatoes developing due to fewer stem cracking issues, less plant disease, and how fencing is one of the most beneficial ways to grow tomatoes, especially in larger quantities.
Fencing also allows plants to grow good foliage to shade the soil, keeping your tomatoes away from the ground. Keeping food off the ground keeps away additional pests and protects from rotting.
You’ll love the ease of the raised trellis effect in fencing and finding all your tomatoes at eye level. In addition, you’ll also have an even earlier harvest due to the plant’s total exposure to the sun!
Wrapping Up The Best Cages for Tomatoes
After reading our guide, gaining tips, and learning seasoned gardener and farmer secrets, you’ll now have the best harvest successes this season. We also know your plants with thank you all season long when they receive the proper support.
At Minnetonka Orchards, we always strive to bring you the best solutions for successful gardens! Excited for more tomato content? Then visit our tomato page for growing tips, comprehensive guides, and tasty recipes!