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Grow Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets: Balcony Gardening

Grow Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets: Balcony Gardening

Did you know that growing tomatoes in hanging baskets is a great option if you’re short on space or are curious to try something new in your kitchen garden?

If you choose the right tomato variety and follow a few simple guidelines, you can grow heaps of them without taking up any floor space on your balcony or deck.

Tumbling Tom small tomatoes hanging in clusters from a pot.
Small cherry tomatoes hanging in clusters from a pot

Jump to: Best Hanging Containers |Best Tomato Varieties for Hanging Baskets |Growing Tips

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Why Grow Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets?

I’m all about growing your own produce here at HeathGlen Farm, even if you don’t have a garden plot or any land.

It’s not difficult to grow your own tomatoes on a small deck or balcony, and using a hanging planter or basket is actually the perfect way to do so without using up lots of space.

Advantages of growing tomatoes in hanging baskets include:

  • No need to bend down to pick or water the tomatoes, as they’re right at eye level.
  • Hanging baskets can be easily moved around if need be.
  • Good air circulation.
  • More difficult for disease, fungus and bugs to spread.
  • A mature, cascading tomato plant in a hanging basket looks fantastic!
Yellow cherry tomatoes hanging in clusters.
Sun Gold cherry tomatoes hanging in clusters.

Best Containers for Hanging Baskets

There are many different types of hanging planters types marketed for growing tomatoes.

The “upside-down” or “topsy turvy” planter has become particularly popular in recent years, but this type of hanging basket does come with a few downsides.

If you want to try the upside down type of planter with tomatoes, this article on the topsy turvy planter will help you avoid some mistakes.

Most gardeners prefer to opt for a sturdy (sturdy is important!) metal basket with a strong chain and hook that can bear the weight of a mature tomato plant laden with fruit.

Here are some things you should look for in a hanging basket meant for tomato growing:

  • At least 12″ wide
  • At least 12″ deep.
  • Has at least one drainage hole.
  • Can support a good bit of weight.
  • Lined with landscaping fabric or coco coir so the soil doesn’t fall out.
3 hanging baskets of various flowers and plants, hanging from a tree.
Sturdy metal hanging baskets

Best Tomato Varieties for Hanging Baskets

As you can probably imagine, not all tomato varieties are suitable for a hanging planter. We love heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, for example, but both the plants and the fruits can get absolutely humongous!

It’s better to opt for small tomato varieties unless you have a large heavy-duty basket at your disposal.

My favorite choice of a tomato well-suited for a hanging basket would be a determinate variety called Tumbler.

The ‘Tumbler’ tomato produces its entire crop of small fruits in one go over a 4-6 week period and it has a cascading growth pattern that makes it perfect for hanging baskets.

Other small varieties that would work well for growing tomatoes in hanging baskets include:

  • Tiny Tim: usually doesn’t grow past 18″. Determinate.
  • Whippersnapper: a prolific vining cherry. Determinate.
  • Tumbling Tom: beautiful cascading vines, perfect for a hanging planter. Determinate.
  • Garden Pearl (Gartenperle): created especially for hanging baskets. Determinate.
  • Hundreds and Thousands: another cascading tomato. Determinate.

Tips For Growing Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets

Once you’ve selected the type of basket and tomato you like, it’s time to get this show on the road. You can opt to start your own seeds, but it’s also possible to purchase seedlings at your local nursery if you’d like a little head start.

If you can’t find the variety you want to purchase and you are going to try your hand at starting from seeds, be sure to check out the category on indoor seed starting. It contains all the info you need to produce healthy tomato plants.

Location

It’s important to choose the right location for your hanging tomato basket, especially if you are growing them on a balcony. Balconies and rooftops can get quite windy, and harsh winds can wreak havoc on a fruit-bearing tomato plant dangling from a chain.

On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so sheltered as to be shaded, because tomatoes prefer 6 hours or more of sun.

Water

If you’ve grown plants in containers before, you’ll know how quickly they can dry out during a hot Summer. It’s important to keep a very close eye on your tomato plant, because they do like plenty of moisture!

You’ll probably have to water daily in the heat of Summer, maybe even twice a day in some cases.

Tip: If you stick your finger in the soil and it is dry down to 1″, it is time to water.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes grown in containers will need more fertilizer than if they were grown in the ground, as the nutrients will leach out a bit with each watering.

If you have sterile compost, mix some into the potting soil when you first plant the seedling in the basket,. The compost will add nitrogen to the potting soil and help stimulate growth.

Apply liquid tomato food periodically throughout the growing season, according to the directions on your particular fertilizer package.

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