Fruit growing

Growing tomatoes in hanging baskets

Last updated on January 26th, 2022

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Tomatoes are a favourite for many gardeners, with so many varieties available and different ways they can be grown it isn’t hard to see why.

One of the best ways to grow tomatoes (even when you may have very limited space) is in hanging baskets. The most popular, and probably the best types to grow in hanging baskets are cherry tomatoes. These are typically bush tomatoes that require very little work and pruning (if any), unlike cordon types which do because there is no need to remove side shoots or prune.

Trailing vs bush tomatoes. Trailing wins every time

There is a lot online about growing tomatoes in hanging baskets and which varieties are the best. But one thing that I wish to point out is that for the best results you want to choose tumbling tomatoes, and these are also known as trailing tomatoes. By choosing trailing varieties such as ‘Tumbler’ or ‘Tumbling Tom’ they will cascade over the side of the basket and totally cover the basket all the way around and look absolutely fantastic.

Another variety that is also suitable is ‘Balconi Red’. This is a small compact cherry bush tomato that is probably best grown in a pot where it can be admired from above. These bush tomatoes can also be good in window boxes that are lower down.

To learn more about growing tomatoes in pots read our guide here.

You also learn more about halo pots and grow bag waterers that keep tomato plants hydrated whether you are growing them in pots, in the ground or in grow bags.

Growing from seed and buying plug plants

If you choose to grow your tomatoes plants from seed you will need to sow them between March to April and this should give them enough time to germinate. This usually takes around 7-14 days at a temperature of 21C (70F). They can then be grown on before being planted outside around the end of May. They can only be planted outside when the risk of frost has passed.

If you buy plug plants (these can be purchased from many mail order nurseries) and even off and will save you a little time and work. You need to think about getting them around April/May where they can then be grown on in 9cm pots in quality compost mixed with 20% perlite to improve drainage.

Where to buy trailing tomato plants

How to grow tomatoes in hanging baskets

growing tomatoes in hanging baskets

Tomatoes need a lot of sun to grow successfully and ripen, ideally, they should get at least 5-7 hours of sunlight per day. Firstly you need to decide where you want to put the hanging basket when it is ready.

What size hanging basket to use

Preferably, a 14-inch hanging basket will do the job just fine. However, some people may use a smaller one whilst others may choose to use a larger basket. You can even buy specialist baskets for tomatoes.

hanging basket for tomatoes
Mitefu Upside Down Hanging Vegetable Strawberry Tomato Planter with Six Holes Mini Fruit Planting Bag for Patio,Garden,Terrace and Balcony
  • It is made from plastic and PE material, breathable, corrosion resistant,durable,and not easy to deform
  • diameter:9.4inch / height 15.3inch The space is enough for your plants to grow
  • By hanging it up, we can make full use of space. Besides, it can keep your fruits or vegetables from dirt to some degree
  • Just water it from the upper funnel. You even don't need to bend. Gravity pulls the water and nutrients directly to the roots.This new watering system helps distribute water over a longer period of time
  • You don't need to dig holes or get down on your knees to pull weeds.It can eliminate cutworms, ground insects, and ground fungus

Planting the hanging basket

Choosing the best compost

The first step is to use good quality potting compost that should have fertiliser mixed in already because this will give the tomato plant a good start.

Miracle-Gro 119770 Moisture Control Compost - 10 Litre BAG, (New 2020 Range)
  • Perfect for hanging baskets, patio pots and houseplants
  • Exclusive Aquacoir formula stores and releases water when plants need it
  • Absorbs twice as much water as ordinary multi purpose compost
  • Feeds for up to 6 months

Mix the compost with 20% perlite to help improve drainage and let more oxygen get to the roots, this has been proven to help tomato plants.

Gro-Sure Perlite, 10 L
  • Naturally occurring material
  • Improves aeration and drainage
  • Ideal for healthy root growth
  • Ideal for use when rooting cuttings
  • Ideal for potting on seedlings

Finally, mix some water-storing granules and fertiliser tablets into the compost as instructed on the packaging and mix in well. The water granules will help retain the moisture in the compost for longer.

Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Plant Food Gel 250g
  • Save time and reduce the amount you need to water your plants
  • Crystals absorb up to 150 times weight in water, releasing as plants need it
  • Works all season, simply mix into compost
  • Ideal for pots, tubs and hanging baskets inside and out
  • Sufficient for 15-20 average size (30 cm) containers or baskets

How many tomato plants to use in each basket

A lot of gardeners only use one tomato plant in their hanging basket and while this works fine and usually gives a good healthy plant that will spread nicely and fill the basket, we find that by putting 2 or 3 plants (I actually use 3 in mine) in the basket, you will get the most amazing show and even more tomatoes.


Once you have grown on your tomatoes plants in 9cm pots (which is usually around May) plant the tomato plants into the basket, evenly spaced if you have used more than one. If you have planted just one then place it in the middle of the basket. They can be planted slightly deeper with the compost up the stem as they will root from the stem.

Hardening off the tomatoes before planting out

Now you have planted your basket all you need to do now is grow them on. Grow them somewhere warm like in a heated greenhouse, warm conservatory, warm porch, window ledge. Basically anywhere warm with plenty of light. When the weather turns warmer, and it is warm in the afternoon you can start putting them out during the day and bring them in again at night. Do this for a week or so and then around the end of May when the risk of first has passed they should be ready for hanging outside in their final positions.

The next step is probably the most important:

Watering and feeding

Your tomato hanging basket will probably need watering daily as tomato plants need lots of water and what you want to try and do is keep the compost moist, but not too wet. It is actually quite hard to overwater when the plants are established, especially if you do follow our advice and use 3 plants per basket. On warmer days they may even need watering twice a day

When the yellow flowers start to appear, it is time to feed them with a high in potash feed. Any tomato feed will do the job and it is recommended that you feed every 7 days although the instructions on the label may vary so check first. Continue feeding right the way through summer whilst they are producing fruit.

Levington Tomorite Concentrated Tomato Food 1 Litre
  • Easy to apply simply mix with water in a watering can according to instructions
  • For tomatoes and flowering pot plants
  • With seaweed extract for maximum growth and better crops
  • Produces high quality, full-flavoured tomatoes
  • Can also be used with crops such as peppers and aubergines

Recommended hanging basket tomatoes

Our favourite tomato plant varieties for using in hanging baskets are all trailing in habit and make excellent plants when grown in a basket.

Tumbling tomatoes


Tumbler is probably our favourite and is known for its trailing habit and sweet cherry tomatoes. You can’t really go wrong with this variety.

tumbler tomato ideal for hanging baskets
Tumbler tomatoes in a hanging basket

‘Tumbling Tom Red’

This vigorous tomato plant is an excellent trailing tomato that will trail all the way around the basket, fill out in all directions and produces heavy crops of sweet cherry-sized tomatoes.

‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’

Just as vigorous as the red variety with the same growing habit, producing masses of yellow tomatoes.

Buy from Thompson & Morgan

Buy from

‘Cherry Cascade’

Thompson & Morgan describe this variety as ‘Possibly the world’s most prolific cascading cherry tomato’ and for good reason. It has an unbeatable trailing habit and produces masses of small cherry tomatoes.

Last update on 2024-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at


  1. Kathleen Campbell

    Do I need to nip out the top if the plant in the hanging basket or just leave it alone?

  2. John

    If you have Tumbler or Tumbling tom tomatoes or similar then just leave them as they are and they will easily fill the basket without any pinching out.

  3. Should I support the stems or let them naturally fall ?

  4. John

    If they are a variety like tumbler or tumbling tom, then just let them fall naturally no support need. Hope this helps

  5. Donna Bentley-Carr

    If the weather turns cold or blustery should how can I protect my hanging basket. The plants are not trailing below the base of the hanging basket so could sit on the draining board in the kitchen.

  6. John

    Hi Donna, in general once the end of May has passed we tend to think the weather will not be bad enough to damage the tomato plants, however if in doubt or concerned you could bring them indoors over night as this will not do them any harm. Personally we never had any problems once into June, the main worry is usually a late frost.

  7. ionel pop

    can you please let me know if ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ ,need pruning ?

  8. John

    Hi Ionel, we have grown them for years and have never pruned them and they grow great, the main thing is to keep them well fed with tomato feed.

  9. John

    Hi Ionel, we have grown them for years and have never pruned them and they grow great, the main thing is to keep them well fed with tomato feed.

  10. Hi,

    I bought a Tesco hanging tomato basket and I’m really worried because there are so many stems coming off the basket it is leaning to one side and I can see the strain on some of the bends (where the stem has bent over the side of the basket and then pulled down as it grows).

    I don’t know what to do, if I should cut off some stems and branches to even the basket out I wouldn’t know where to start due to the amount of flowers/toms. Please help!!! ? ?

  11. roy stevens

    i i put some trailing toms in a hanging basket they are growing tall with flowers on but i dont think they are trailing what should i do

  12. John Moore

    Hi Roy, If you have planted tumbler (my favourite) or tumbling tom then they will trail once they are a little more established. I never pinch our trailer varieties and they always do really well. They can look upright at first but they will trail once they start to fill out


    hi do you have to remove the yellow flower heads or just leave alone

  14. John Moore

    Hi Bryan, I just leave them alone and always worked well for me.

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