Growing cherry tomatoes can be a lot of fun. And since you are here, you must be looking to collect every bit of knowledge and tips to grow the perfect cherry tomatoes in pots.
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to grow cherry tomatoes are in pots or containers. But proper plan and care are necessary to grow flavorful tomatoes.
In this article, I have laid out tried and tested tips for growing cherry tomatoes which will help you grow the best juicy tomatoes with high yields.
Tip 1: Pick the Best variety of Cherry Tomatoes to Grow in Pots
You can almost grow all varieties of cherry tomatoes in pots. But why not grow the best varieties that are known to grow well in pots. Preferably look for determinate (stays short) or dwarf varieties.
I have selected and tabulated some of the best cherry tomatoes to grow in containers. Have a look at the Taste and Brix (sweetness) column to get an idea of how it tastes. The Pot size column will tell you what type of pots you need to buy.
*Brix – Indicates the sweetness of the tomatoes, a value of 8 is great and a value of 12 or more is extraordinary.
*Pot size – sizes the table are approximate values to give you an idea, a little bigger or smaller is fine.
|Variety||Type||Plant Height||Pot Size||Pot Depth||Tomato Size||Matures||Taste||Brix||Hanging||Cage|
|Tiny Tim||Determinate||1 ft||5″||5″||0.5″-0.75″||60 days||Sweet & tart||Avg.||Yes||No|
|Terenzo F1||Determinate||16″-20″||15″||14″||1.25″||56 days||Sweet tasting||6%||Yes||No|
|Sungold||Indeterminate||6′-12′||18-36″||14″-16″||1″||65 to 70 days||Rich & sugary||9.3%||No||Yes|
|Little Bing||Determinate||18″-24″||5 gallon or more||12″-16″||1″||60 to 65 days||Big flavor, not too sweet||6.6%||Yes||Yes|
|Supersweet 100||Indeterminate||8′-12′||10-15 gallon||14″-16″||1″||65 days||Very sweet with nice acid||12%||No||Yes|
|Sweet Million||Indeterminate||4-6′||10-20 gallon||15″-16″||1″-1.5″||50-79 days||Sweet & tangy||6%-8%||No||Yes|
|Tidy Treats||Indeterminate (dwarf)||3′-5′||10-15 gallon||14″-16″||1″||50-55 days||Sweet||–||No||Yes|
|Micro-Tom||Determinate (dwarf)||6″-8″||4″-6″||4″-5″||2cm||80-90 days||Tastes nice when ripe||Low||Yes||No|
|Gold Nugget||Determinate||24″||10-20 gallon||14″-16″||1″-1.5″||65-85 days||Sweet (well balanced)||6.5%||Yes||Yes|
|Heartbreaker||semi determinate||20″||5″-6″||5″-6″||1″-1.5″||70-84 days||Sweet and sour||8%||Yes||No|
Let me quickly tell you a bit about some of the best cherry tomatoes to grow in pots –
Tiny Tim: 1 foot tall dwarf plant with a cluster of tiny tasty tomatoes.
Terenzo F1: 16-20 inches tall plant produces compact red cherry tomatoes, easy to grow.
Sungold: 6-12 feet tall plant provides bountiful sweet golden orange cherry tomatoes.
Little Bing: Under 2 feet plants, grows flavorful red cherry tomatoes with high yields.
Supersweet 100: Large clusters of sweet tomatoes, plant is heat tolerant, can grow 8 ft or taller with long vines.
Sweet Million: Produces bountiful large clusters of grape-like red-colored cherry tomatoes. They are drought tolerant and can grow 4-6 feet tall. This is an easy grower.
Tidy Treats: 3′ to 5′ tall compact plant produces small bite sized one-inch fruits with unique flavor.
Micro-Tom: Only six inches tall dwarf plant can be grown in 4″ pots. Produces a bunch of mildly sweet tomatoes. It’s probably the shortest cherry tomato plant and is a decorative eye candy as well.
Gold Nugget: 1-2 feet tall plant produces golden yellow cherry tomatoes. Thin-skinned, juicy and delicious with low acid, grows well in hot climate.
Heartbreaker: Dwarf variety suitable for growing in hanging planters. Produces deep red colored heart-shaped tomatoes with sweet & sour flavor.
Tip 2: Pick the Right Size Cherry Tomatoes Pots
You should at least use a 14 inch wide pot with a depth of 12 inches for cherry tomatoes. Ideally use a 20 inch wide pot with a depth of 18 inches for larger varieties.
Pots for tomatoes should be more wide than deep, because the root system of tomato plants spread out more than go deeper.
Try to avoid using cheap clay or plastic pots, they can dry out faster and are less durable. However, if you are on a budget, plastic pots are certainly an option. Half wine or wooden barrels, glazed clay pots or 10 gallon grow bags are the best options for growing tomatoes.
5.5 inch Plastic Pots (5 pack) – Check on Amazon
Grow bags (Fabric, 6 pack, black) – Check on Amazon
Tip 3: Loosen your Soil with Coco Coir
A common mistake many home gardeners make is using soil straight from the backyard. Your backyard soil can have a lot of clay content and when watered regularly, the soil will compact & sink hampering the root growth of your cherry tomato plants.
If you want to make your own soil use 1 part garden soil, 1 part perlite, 1 part Coco coir, and 1 part compost. If you don’t have access to perlite, replace it with coco coir.
Coco coir is an excellent material for loosening soil and retaining moisture. It helps root growth and allows adequate airflow to roots resulting in healthier plants with higher yields.
If you are buying a ready soil mix, you can still add some coco coir to it to further enhance the soil mix. Your cherry tomatoes will love it!
Coco Coir (small bag) – Check on Amazon
CoCo Coir (large bag) – Check on Amazon
Coco Peat Block (10 lbs) – Check on Amazon
You can save some money with a little bit of work. You can buy Coco peat block instead of Coco coir. All you need to do is to keep adding water slowly (add some and wait 5 mins) until it breaks apart completely. It will give you at least 5 times coco coir than of its original volume!
Tip 4: Use Nutrient Rich Soil & Fertilizer
Cherry tomatoes like to feed a lot. So the first thing you should make sure is to use a high quality potting soil mix rich with nutrients. Bone meal, alfalfa meal, peat moss, worm casting, crab meal, kelp meal, perlite, coco coir, etc. are all good signs of a quality soil mix. You can click here to find our best soil mix recommendations for tomatoes.
You can add more fertilizers to the soil at the time of flowering or when the plants just start to produce fruit. Cherry tomatoes prefer fertilizer’s rich in potassium and phosphorus, plus some calcium can help prevent blossom end rot.
Personally, I recommend JimZ’s Tomato secret. You can checkout my top tomato fertilizer recommendations here.
While some level of Nitrogen is obviously required, but applying overly nitrogen-rich fertilizer will result in heavy foliage growth and fewer fruits.
Indeed, it’s economical to use garden soil as you can easily scoop out some from your own backyard. However, you will also be inviting weed seeds, pests, and fungi.
Tip 5: Add Mulching to your Cherry Tomato Plants
Mulching is the technique of covering the top layer of the soil around the base of the plant with organic or inorganic materials. Mulching your cherry tomatoes will help hold moisture in the soil, disrupt weed growth and regulate soil temperature.
You can use a 1-2 inch layer of wood chips, dry leaves, pine needles, hay, sawdust, coco coir, tree bark for mulching your cherry tomatoes. Make sure to add the mulching right after you transplant the baby plants to the pots.
Avoid using hay for mulching as it may contain various seeds which will sprout out when watered.
Tip 6: Get rid of Bugs with Neem!
Bugs hate Neem! They hate it with all their heart.
Bugs & pests are not usually a major problem for cherry tomato plants in pots. But if you have placed your pots in the patio or in the garden, some bugs may still meet your plants on their way to the office and decide to suck on your plant sap instead!
If your cherry tomato plants are attacked by gnats or bugs, sprinkle a few tablespoons of neem cake or neem cake powder around the pot. Bugs will run for their life and will stay out.
Plus add a few tablespoon of neem cake to your potting soil mix as well. That will take care of any larvae or pests in the soil. It acts as a fertilizer as well.
If you see any pests on the leaves, spray Neem oil diluted with water every week for a few weeks to get rid of them permanently.
Neem Cake – Check on Amazon
Neem Oil – Check on Amazon
Neem products do have an unpleasant smell but it is highly effective for repelling bugs, and the smell eventually goes away.
Tip 7: Support your Cherry Tomato Plants with Cages
Tomato stems/vines are not sturdy enough to hold the weight of tomatoes when fruiting. Both shorter variety determinate and taller indeterminate varieties will bend and tip over unless you provide some support. You must use a tomato cage to support your tomato plants.
You can buy a standard tomato cage or make up your own using some stakes and metal wire. Set up the cage on the pot before you transplant the plants. Doing it at a later stage can harm the roots.
The cage support also makes the plants grow more and spread its branches faster in all the directions.
Tip 8: Plant your Cherry Tomatoes Deep Enough
When transplanting baby cherry tomato plants to the actual pots, plant them deep so that 2/3 of the plant is under the soil. Cut out any leaves or stems near the bottom before settling the plant in the hole.
This is will create a solid base for the plant. Roots will grow from the sides of the buried part of the stem. Tomatoes, not being a very sturdy plant will benefit from a strong root system in terms of absorbing nutrients and holding it upright.
Tip 9: Don’t Overcrowd you Cherry Tomatoes
Ideally, plant only one cherry tomato plant in a single 14 inch pot, the bigger the better. If you are using a raised bed or giant pot, then you can consider planting more than one tomato in a single pot.
The cherry tomato plant spacing will depend on the variety you are growing. If you are growing dwarf variety space them 1-2 feet apart. If you are planting a larger variety space them 3-4 feet apart.
Pots have limited space and nutrients. Overcrowding will make the tomato plants fight for nutrients, root congestion and too much shade will attract pests to attack the plant.
Tip 10: Check the Soil with your Finger before Watering
Cherry tomatoes require regular watering to keep the soil moist. But overwatering can also cause the roots to rot if the soil becomes waterlogged. It can also result in blossom-end rot.
Before you water your cherry tomatoes, poke a finger 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil near the edge of the pot. If the soil is not moist enough or feels dry, water the plants. Keep soil moist but not soggy.
Tip 11: Give your Cherry Tomatoes enough Sunlight
Don’t skimp on Mr. Sun. Let your cherry tomatoes drench in the glorious rays of the direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Tomato plants love warm conditions and grow best when the daytime temperature is between 65F to 85F.
Temperature below ~55F will hamper the growth of the plants and will stun fruits and flowers. Because at extreme cool temperatures, it makes it difficult for the plants to carry out photosynthesis to convert sunlight into sugar
On the other hand, high temperatures can cause blossom drops and result in a barren plant with no fruits.
Since you are growing your cherry tomatoes in pots, you have the flexibility to move your pots around and control the sunlight they get.
Tip 12: Support your Cherry Tomatoes Indoors with Grow Lights
So, can you grow cherry tomatoes without sunlight? Yes, you can.
If you have planted your tomatoes too late in the season and winter has caught up before you have harvested grown any fruits, you can still save your plants using grow lights.
Modern grow lights can mimic full-spectrum sunlight or light that provides all the necessary wavelengths that tomato plants need to grow a healthy harvest. Using grow lights you can actually grow cherry tomatoes and other vegetables indoors all year round. How cool is that?
If you want to grow them indoors, you can basically get a grow tent (optional) and suitable LED grow lights for that space. If you want to learn more about grow lights and buy one, click here.
Advanced Platinum P300 Grow Light (people have successfully grown tomatoes with this indoor light) – Check on Amazon
Tip 13: Prune your Cherry Tomato Plants to Maximize Yields
You can increase your yields by pruning your cherry tomato plants. It will produce more tomatoes and taste better.
What type of cherry tomato plants to prune?
– You should only prune indeterminate (keeps growing taller and taller) type cherry tomato plants.
– You should not prune dwarf and determinate (grows to fixed height of 1-3 feet) variety cherry tomato plants
Why prune cherry tomato plants?
The main goal of pruning is to remove tomato suckers and excess stems. Sucker is a new stem growing from the joint of the main stem and a leaf stem.
Tomato suckers and excess main stems can suck up too many nutrients and convert them into excess foliage, rather than using the nutrients to grow more healthy tomatoes.
So when to prune cherry tomato plants?
Prune your cherry tomatoes plants from time to time as it grows bigger and especially when it nears flowering or fruiting.
How to prune cherry tomato plants?
You should aim to keep 1 or 2 main stems when growing tomatoes in pots and get rid of any excess stems from the base and any suckers in the bottom two-thirds of the plant.
Prune Tomato Suckers
Leave the top 1/3 of the plant untouched. Remove suckers from the bottom 2/3 of the plant. To remove a tomato sucker, just pinch it off from the joint.
Prune Excess Stems
Check the base of the plant, if there are too many stems growing out, cut them off with a sharp knife or scissors. You can however keep the main stem and one or two additional stems for 5 gallon pots. For larger pots, you can keep a few more.
What else to Prune?
- Pluck out any yellow leaves (they are dying anyway)
- Cut off any sick leaves
- Remove any leaves that are infested with bugs
Pruning removes unnecessary load from the tomato plants and help it direct more nutrients towards flowering and fruiting, resulting in more yields and more flavorful cherry tomatoes.
After pruning, rub some turmeric diluted in water (1/2 tsp turmeric + 2 tpsp water) on open cuts to prevent pests from sucking plant sap and starting an infestation.
Let’s recap through all the tips for growing cherry tomatoes in pots –
- Choose cherry tomato varieties that are suitable for pots.
- Choose the large enough pots.
- Loose & aerate your soil with coco coir.
- Use nutrient-rich soil & fertilizer.
- Add mulching to your pots.
- Use cages to support your cherry tomato plants.
- Keep bugs away using Neem products.
- Transplant baby plants deep (at least 2/3 of the plant).
- Don’t plant too many plants in a single pot, ideally plant one per pot.
- Use your finger to check soil moisture before watering.
- Make sure your cherry tomatoes get 6-8 hours of sunlight.
- If you want to grow cherry tomatoes indoor, use a grow light.
- Prune your plants from time to time to increase yields
I am sure, if you take note & follow these tips, you should be able to grow cherry tomatoes in pots with bountiful harvest.
Growing cherry tomatoes can be a lot of fun, involve your kids, and then it becomes super fun! Just imagine the joy when you pluck those sweet red juicy tomatoes and take a fresh bite 🙂
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