Do your indeterminate tomato plants struggle with broken branches and diseased fruits come harvest time? Vining tomatoes need a sturdy support structure to keep leaves and branches off the ground. Proper trellising encourages healthy fruit production and helps your plants avoid soil-borne pathogens.
The best tomato trellis provides adequate support throughout the entire growing season. Many types of tomato trellises are available, so it’s wise to do some research to find the right one for your garden.
What is the Best Tomato Trellis?
If you are growing indeterminate tomatoes, then you need a sturdy tomato trellis. A quick internet search reveals countless different trellis ideas, from DIY tomato trellis systems to wire tomato cages.
With so many choices, it can be hard to determine the best tomato trellis for you. This guide will help you understand the individual pros and cons of different tomato support systems.
The first factor that you should consider when choosing the best tomato trellis is the growth habit of the tomato variety you planted.
Determinate tomato varieties are usually labeled bush tomatoes, and these stocky plants don’t need much extra support. At most, you can put a simple wire tomato cage around the plant to reinforce upward growth.
If your seed packet describes the tomato plant as a pole or vining variety, you are growing indeterminate tomatoes.
This type of tomato requires a trellis and more maintenance than bush tomatoes, but the extra effort is worth it. Well-supported and pruned vining tomatoes produce gallons of fruit all season long.
All the best tomato trellises come in many shapes and sizes. When shopping for the best tomato trellis, you should keep in mind how high your tomato plants will grow.
Determinate plants rarely grow upwards of five feet, but indeterminate tomatoes can grow over ten feet tall. You will need to get taller cages for such plants or consider an alternative support method.
Are you interested in an attractive wooden A-frame trellis, square tomato cages, or wooden stakes and heavy-duty twine? No matter the support you need, here are the best tomato trellises for any garden.
Burpee Tomato Cage (Best Tomato Trellis Overall)
You can’t go wrong with a name like Burpee. This extra heavy-duty tomato cage has a rust-resistant green coating that accents any garden perfectly. The large holes allow you to prune and harvest your tomato plants easily. This cage is reliable, easy to use, and the best tomato trellis for beginners and experts alike.
Gardener’s Blue Ribbon Tomato Cage (Best Tomato Trellis on a Budget)
If you are new to trellising tomatoes, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money trying out your first type of support system. The Gardener’s Blue Ribbon Tomato Cage is one of the best tomato trellises for beginners because it is easy to use and works well without a hefty price tag.
Hortonova Trellis Netting (Best Tomato Trellis Netting for Large Gardens)
Do you have an extensive garden bed bristling with tomato seedlings? If so, the Hortonova Trellis Netting is the best tomato trellis option for you. This trellis netting is extremely durable, and the material won’t spread diseases from season to season.
42-Inch Heavy-Duty A-Frame Support (Best Tomato Trellis, A-Frame)
A-frame tomato supports are the best tomato trellises for a small garden bed. This easy-to-use tomato trellis enables you to support a four-by-four patch of vining crops with no fuss.
Gardeneer Dalen Trellis Netting (Best All-Purpose Tomato Trellis Netting)
This trellis netting is the best tomato trellis solution for a row of tomatoes. The durable, tangle-resistant webbing features large holes that make plant care easier.
Happy Trees Large Heavy-Duty Tomato Cage (Best Heavy-Duty Tomato Trellis)
The Happy Trees galvanized steel tomato cage is a tough, U.S.A.-made garden trellis that will last you many years. The sturdy cage can support even the largest fruits, and you can collapse it after harvest for easy storage. This is the best tomato trellis when you need to support heavy fruits.
Gardeners Blue Ribbon Tomato Twist (Best Single Stake Tomato Support)
This whimsical-looking trellis is a cute idea for small tomato plants. Pop this tomato stake into the ground near your plant and watch the vines creep up the unique curves.
Gardeneer Trellis Netting for Vertical Gardening (Best Tomato Trellis for Vertical Gardening)
Vertical gardening is a great way to save space. If you live in the city, your garden might be limited to your patio or balcony. This trellis netting is a fantastic way to get plump, juicy tomatoes anywhere you live.
Glamos Wire Plant Support (Best Colorful Tomato Trellis)
If you want to add a pop of color to your garden, then the Glamos tomato trellis could be just the piece you’re looking for. This wire trellis is available in six bright colors, so you are sure to find the perfect match.
Why Should You Trellis Tomatoes?
Indeterminate tomato plants continue growing until an external factor halts growth. This is because indeterminate plants do not have a genetically defined upper growth limit. To avoid ending up with a tangled mess of vines, you should prune and trellis indeterminate tomatoes.
When vining crops are allowed to creep along the ground, they get exposed to many diseases in the soil. Tomato plants can get infected when leaves and suckers come into contact with the earth. Additionally, fruits that ripen on the ground will likely get eaten by pests before they make it to your dinner table.
Climbing plants that grow along a sturdy trellis develop healthy stems that can support heavy fruit at harvest. A proper trellis system keeps your tomato plants healthier and more productive throughout the entire summer. The best tomato trellis should be sturdy and allow for adequate airflow.
How to Trellis Tomatoes
Indeterminate tomatoes are tenacious and will vine along any suitable surface. The many tomato trellising methods are limited only by your imagination!
If you are new to growing vining tomatoes, you might first want to stick with store-bought tomato cages. Once you have a handle on the basics of supporting your crops, you can get creative with your method of trellising.
Tomato cages are a fairly straightforward way to support your plants. Simply place a sturdy cage around your young tomato plant after its first pruning—once it’s around 12-18 inches tall.
The vines should naturally seek out the cage walls and grow upwards. Be gentle with the stems to prevent damage when you need to give them a nudge. You can attach stubborn vines to the cage with tomato string or tape.
There are significant benefits to using a tomato cage as your trellis system. The sturdy wire walls can easily support the weight of a full-grown tomato plant.
Still, there are some drawbacks to using a tomato cage that you won’t encounter with other trellising methods. Once the vines are attached to the cage, it can be difficult to prune the plant. The best tomato cages allow plenty of room to reach in and trim when necessary.
Netting is the most popular tomato trellis method among experienced gardeners. If you have a large tomato plot, then trellis netting is the simplest inexpensive way to tame your plants.
To get started, you need to drive wooden posts deep into the soil on the corners of your tomato plot. Ensure the posts are deep enough that they don’t wiggle, then attach the netting to each with twine. You will need to pull the trellis netting tight so it can bear the weight of the mature plants without sagging.
You can encourage the young tomato plants to grow up the netting by gently weaving the vines through the holes. They should continue to grow this way naturally as they mature.
Are you gardening on a strict budget? The best tomato trellis system doesn’t need to be expensive, and it doesn’t get any cheaper than the Florida Weave. All you need is two sturdy posts and a ball of twine.
This trellising works best on long rows of tomatoes, so you might consider other options if you are growing plants in pots.
Creating a Florida Weave trellis is relatively simple once you understand the process. First, drive two wooden or metal fence posts into the ground on either side of your row.
Next, tie a string to one of the posts, around 8-12 inches off the ground. Pull the line taut, weave it through the row of tomatoes, and then tie it to the other post. As your tomato plants grow taller, add another string every foot, alternating the weave each time.
You don’t need to guide vine growth when using a Florida Weave trellis. The alternating weave of each additional string pins the stem vertically and encourages upward growth.
A-Frame Garden Trellis
A-frame tomato trellises combine the simplicity of a tomato cage with the accessibility of trellis netting. These structures are easy to set up and can support multiple tomato plants.
Setting up an A-frame trellis is straightforward. All you need to do is open the frame up and straddle it over a plot of tomato plants. You might want to drive some stakes around the edges to secure the structure.
Gently coax the vines of each plant through the netting and let them grow. If you space it right, you can support up to four small rows of tomato plants on a single A-frame trellis.
Tomato stakes are the bare minimum support you can provide tomatoes. Each stake can only support one tomato plant, so you will need to purchase or fashion a stake for each plant you are growing.
Simply drive the stake deep into the ground, about six inches away from your plant, then gently secure the vines with string or tape. Be careful not to bend the stems too much. It’s better to let your plant grow a bit more instead of pulling the vines taut to tether it.
DIY Tomato Trellis Systems
If you want to get creative, you can turn nearly any freestanding structure into a DIY tomato trellis. Some of the many homemade trellis ideas include:
- Wooden Pallets
- Concrete Mesh
- Chain Link Fence
- Livestock Panels
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different trellis structures to find the perfect fit for your garden.
How high should a tomato trellis be?
A tomato trellis should be tall enough to accommodate a full-grown tomato plant. Indeterminate tomato varieties can grow over ten feet tall, while determinate plants rarely reach five feet. Vining tomatoes can grow on both sides of a sturdy cage, so you should ensure your tomato trellis is at least four feet tall for the best results.
Should you cage, stake, or trellis tomato plants?
A support structure for pole tomatoes is crucial for healthy growth and fruit production. There are many ways to achieve this goal, and some gardeners have devised very clever solutions. As long as your tomato plants are supported, the structure you use is up to personal preference.
Which plants grow on trellises?
Many vining plants grow best on trellises. Pole beans are a common indeterminate plant that requires support. You can also stake melons and squash to save garden space. Any crop that grows on a vine will benefit from adding a trellis system.
Finding the Best Tomato Trellis for Your Garden
Are you growing indeterminate tomato plants in your garden this year? If so, make sure you give them plenty of support to promote healthy growth. There are many options when it comes to selecting the best tomato trellis. After reading this guide, you should better understand which type of trellis is right for you. Check out more of our in-depth articles to learn everything there is to know about caring for tomatoes.