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.
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 Amazon.co.uk 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
‘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.
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 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API