If you’re looking for a gardening adventure to keep you well-supplied with tasty addition to your mealtime, you should consider growing cherry tomatoes in pots.
Unlike more traditional planting, growing cherry tomatoes in pots means you’ll have far less hassle keeping the soil free from weeds. And if you place the pots on your porch or patio, getting a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes is as easy as taking a few steps out the door.
Read on for some tips on growing cherry tomatoes in pots, from choosing a variety to dealing with pests and diseases.
Choosing the Cherry Tomato That Is Right for You
When choosing which cherry tomato variety to grow, you’ll be confronted with an array of choices. Whether you’re looking for high yield, great taste, or even just something to add a splash of color to your porch, you can find a cherry tomato that’s perfect for you.
Read on to find out about just a few of the cherry tomato varieties you might want to consider for growing in pots.
If you can’t wait to add a sweet and juicy tomato taste to your salads and other dishes, the Tiny Tim tomato is great for growing cherry tomatoes in pots.
The Tiny Tim produces fruit much earlier than other varieties. You can expect tomatoes on your Tiny Tim vines within two months.
The Tiny Tim can be grown in pots less than 6 inches wide and reach only 12 to 18 inches.
If you’d like to add an interesting note to your container gardening, the Black Cherry tomato will add a splash of unique color to your efforts.
A fairly rare variety of cherry tomatoes, the Black Cherry is almost bronze-colored because as it matures, it retains some of its early-growth green pigmentations as its red pigmentation develops. Your Black Cherry tomatoes will grow in clusters of 1-inch fruits, with a smoky tinge to a largely sweet flavor profile.
Like lots of tomatoes? Well, as you’re thinking about growing cherry tomatoes in pots, you should think seriously about growing the Baby Boomer tomato. Baby Boomer plants can each produce as many as 300 1-ounce tomatoes during their growing season, stretching to the first frost of the year.
Baby Boomer plants will grow up to 2 feet tall, and can stretch as wide as 3 feet, so be sure to grow them in a space that will allow for that expansion.
Adding a golden-orange splash of color to your container gardening, the Sungold variety is a fun choice for growing cherry tomatoes in pots. And with a touch of tanginess in its sweet flavor, the Sungold cherry tomato will add both taste and color appeal to salads or for snacking.
Interestingly, Sungold cherry tomatoes have been on the market for just a very short time. Developed originally by a Japanese seed company, Sungold cherry tomatoes weren’t introduced in America until 1992.
Selecting the Right Pot for Growing Cherry Tomatoes
As a first step in choosing the right pot for growing cherry tomatoes, you’ll need to know whether the tomato you’ve chosen to grow is a determinate or indeterminate variety.
Determinate tomatoes grow to a set height, usually around 4 feet tall, and all of the tomatoes it produces will ripen at about the same time, usually over about two weeks.
Indeterminate tomatoes routinely will grow taller than determinate varieties and likely have a longer growing season. Unlike determinate tomatoes, indeterminate varieties produce tomatoes until the plants succumb to the first frost of the growing season.
Choose the Correct Width and Depth for Your Pot
If you are growing a determinate cherry tomato, you’ll need a pot about 18 inches wide. If you’ve chosen an indeterminate variety, your pot should be 2 feet across. In both cases, you’ll want a pot that is at least 12 inches deep.
Also, regardless of variety when growing cherry tomatoes in pots, you should choose a container that can accommodate at least three to five gallons of soil.
How to Plant Cherry Tomato Seeds in Pots
When growing cherry tomatoes in pots, you can start either with seeds or seedlings. Cherry tomato seeds are readily available online from Hoss Tools. Seedlings likely will be available from your local home supply store or garden center.
Once you have your seeds or seedlings, you’ll need to choose top-quality potting soil. Your best choice will be organic potting soil, which won’t include any synthetic fertilizers.
If you’re starting cherry tomatoes from seed, plant them indoors in trays about six weeks before you plan to place them in their container. Your timing for transplanting seedlings should roughly coincide with the season’s last expected frost.
Placing Seedlings Into Your Pot
While some guides to growing cherry tomatoes in pots recommend placing seedlings into 3-inch pots before moving them to their final pot, you can plant them directly into that final pot.
Make certain that your pot is well-drained. If it doesn’t already have drain holes, drill quarter-inch to half-inch holes every few inches around the edge and drill some holes in the center of the pot.
When planting your seedlings into a pot, simply make a depression with your fingers that is large enough to accommodate the seedling and some of the soil around it.
As you’re potting your seedlings, make sure your pot is in a full-sun location that will get at least six hours of sunlight daily.
How to Support Your Cherry Tomato Plants
Another thing to know when growing cherry tomatoes in pots is that your plants will need support as they mature. Because they grow in clusters, the tomatoes that appear on your plants can weigh it down, straining branches and otherwise stressing the plant.
There are a couple of options for supporting your cherry tomato plants. You can stake them using a wooden or bamboo pole or even a simple stick, to which you’ll tie sections of the plant.
Otherwise, you can use a tomato cage at your local garden center. Simply insert the cage into the pot, and your cherry tomato plant will be supported as it grows.
Watering and Fertilizing Cherry Tomatoes in Pots
Growing cherry tomatoes in pots can be a bit tricky in terms of watering. Because they’re located in places that get a lot of suns, the pots in which your cherry tomatoes are growing can dry out quickly.
Check your cherry tomato pots frequently for dryness, and strive to keep the soil evenly moist. It’s likely that your cherry tomatoes will need daily watering.
As far as fertilization for growing cherry tomatoes in pots is concerned, you can use a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer, containing 20% of each of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, to keep your plants healthy and growing.
Pests and Diseases in Cherry Tomato Plants
Like their larger counterparts, cherry tomatoes are subject to many diseases and pests, including tomato hornworms, wilt, blight, and viruses. Soap-based insecticides can help keep some pests away and are also biodegradable and non-toxic.
In terms of diseases, prevention is probably the best strategy for successfully growing cherry tomatoes in pots. To keep diseases at bay, ensure your cherry tomatoes have plenty of room to grow and be certain their supports keep them from contact with the ground.
Harvesting Your Cherry Tomatoes
You’ll know your cherry tomatoes are ready for harvesting when their coloring is deep and shiny and they are somewhat tender to the touch.
When picking your cherry tomatoes, get them off of the vine with a gentle tug, twisting them as you pull them away from the vine.
As your tomatoes begin to ripen, keep a close eye on them to make sure that they don’t split open before you have a chance to take them off the vine.
Wrapping up How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes in Pots
We hope this post has provided you with everything you need to start growing cherry tomatoes in pots. For more on tomatoes, check out our tomato page.