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Mastering the Art of Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Pots: Expert Tips Inside

Cherry tomatoes make for a delicious and versatile addition to a garden, and growing them can be fun. However, it can also be a frustrating experience if you don’t follow the right steps, especially when it comes to growing them in pots.

That’s why I have come up with this guide with a detailed step-by-step method for growing cherry tomatoes in pots. So, read each step carefully to make sure you maximize your yields.

Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Pots: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here are all the steps you need to grow cherry tomatoes in pots effectively.

Step 1: Choose the Right Cherry Tomato Variety

While it’s possible to grow almost all types of cherry tomatoes in plant pots and fabric grow bags, you should consider using the ones that generate high yields. I’ve created a list of the best varieties to choose from.

Make sure that you understand the following definitions before going through the table.

  • Determinate: These cherry tomato plants reach a certain height, after which they stop growing. Additionally, all the fruits (yes, tomato is a fruit) on determinate plants ripen at approximately the same time.
  • Indeterminate: Usually, indeterminate tomatoes have a longer growing season, and they also reach taller heights than the determinate ones. In addition, these plants continue to produce fruits until they reach the first frost.
VarietyPlant HeightFruit SizeTasteMatures inTypeHanging
Heartbreaker20 inches1-1.5 inchesSweet and sour70-84 daysDeterminateYes
Gold Nugget24 inches1-1.5 inchesSweet65-85 daysDeterminateYes
Micro-Tom6-8 inches0.75-1 inchesSharp and sweet80-90 daysIndeterminateYes
Tidy Treats3-5 inches1 inchSweet50-55 daysDeterminateNo
Sweet Million4-6 inches1-1.5 inchesSweet and tangy50-79 daysIndeterminateNo
Supersweet 1008-12 inches1 inchVery sweet (a bit acidic)65 daysIndeterminateNo
Little Bing18-24 inches1 inchMild sweet (Flavorful)60 to 65 daysIndeterminateYes
Sungold6-12 inches1 inchRich and sugary65 to 70 daysDeterminateNo
Terenzo F116-20 inches1.25 inchesSweet56 daysDeterminateYes
Tiny Tim12 inches0.5-0.75 inchesSweet and tart60 daysDeterminateYes

Step 2: Select the Right Pot

Once you have selected the cherry tomato variety you want to grow, the next step is to choose the right pot for your plants. The pot size will depend on the cherry tomato type.

If you’re going with a determinate one, you’ll need to opt for a pot at least 15 inches wide. But if you’re planning to grow an indeterminate type, I recommend you opt for a pot with at least 24 inches (2 feet) of width.

In both cases, the pot depth must be at least 12 inches, and it should also be well-drained. It’ll allow you to easily place 3 to 5 gallons of soil in the pot, which is important for cherry tomatoes.

Step 3: Wait for the Right Time of the Year

All cherry tomato varieties thrive in sunny and warm climates. They need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily to grow healthy. Therefore, you’ll need to wait until the soil temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal air temperature for these plants. If you plant them when the air temperature is lower than that, they’ll show very slow growth, and their likelihood of falling victim to pests and diseases will also be high.

If the air temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the fruits won’t ripen or drop from the flowers. Therefore, you want to ensure you choose the correct time to maximize the yields.

Step 4: Choose the Right Spot

As mentioned in the previous point, cherry tomatoes thrive in the heat. So, choose a spot for your pots that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. While 8 hours are ideal, 6 hours can also work if you strictly follow the temperature guidelines provided earlier.

Step 5: Plant the Seeds/Seedlings

Once everything is ready, you can start planting the seeds or seedlings (as desired). You can buy any of these options from a local nursery or garden center. But make sure you fill your pots with high-quality organic soil which doesn’t contain synthetic fertilizers.

If you go with seeds, make sure that you plant them in trays and keep them indoors for about six weeks before transferring them to pots. It’ll turn them into seedlings that you can plant in your pots.

While many gardeners suggest that you should plant the seedlings into a small pot (3–5-inch diameter) for some time before transferring them to the final planter, it’s not necessary. You can add them directly to the big pot if all the steps discussed so far are followed properly.

To plant your seedlings into the pot, use the following steps:

  1. Press your fingers into the soil gently to create a small hollow/depression.
  2. Make sure the depression is spacious enough to easily fit the seedling and surrounding soil.
  3. Place the seedling into the depression while making sure that its roots are well-centered and spread out.
  4. Cover the roots with the surrounding soil and press it down slightly (if needed) to ensure stability.

Step 6: Support the Plants

Once the plant is in the pot, it’ll start to grow, and you’ll need to ensure that you provide it with everything it needs to thrive and remain healthy.

Most cherry tomatoes grow in large clusters, weighing the plant down. Not only will it strain branches, but it can also stress the entire plant. The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to stake your plants using bamboo or wooden poles.

Additionally, you can also buy a cage from a local nursery for the same purpose. You’ll only need to insert the cage into your planter, and the plants will start using this support automatically as they grow.

Step 7: Meet the Plants’ Watering and Fertilizing Needs

One of the trickiest parts of growing cherry tomatoes in pots is meeting their watering needs. That’s because they’ll receive a lot of sunlight during the day, which can dry them out pretty quickly.

Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that you inspect your plants frequently. It’ll allow you to water the plants whenever needed and prevent them from drying out.

But it’s important not to overwater your cherry tomato plants, as it’ll make them weak and affect the yield. Your goal is to keep the soil evenly moist, and it can be achieved by watering your plants once a day.

Other than that, you’ll also need to fertilize the plants so that you can have a large harvest. I recommend you go with 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer. It means it should contain 20% of each nutrient, including potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.

Step 8: Deal with Diseases and Pests

Just like large tomatoes, these plants are also susceptible to some diseases and pests. The common ones include viruses, blight, wilt, and hornworms.

Consider using non-toxic, biodegradable, and soap-based insecticides to keep pests at bay. Whereas you’ll need to follow prevention techniques to protect your plants from diseases.

Here’s a list of tips that you can follow.

  • Place your plants with sufficient space between them to promote good air circulation, which can help reduce the spread of diseases.
  • Water the plants at the base to keep leaves dry, as wet foliage can encourage disease development.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to prevent soil-borne pathogens from splashing onto leaves during rainfall.
  • Inspect your plants regularly for any signs of disease, and remove and dispose of affected leaves to prevent further spread.
  • Pests can weaken plants and make them more susceptible to diseases, so keep a watchful eye and take action if pests are detected. See also: How to Use Neem Oil on Tomato Plants
  • Clean and sanitize gardening tools between uses to avoid transmitting diseases from one plant to another.
  • Prune the plants from time to time to promote good air circulation and reduce overcrowding. It can help you keep diseases at bay and increase the yield as well.
  • Maintain soil health through proper fertilization and amendment, which can enhance the plant’s natural resistance to diseases.

Step 9: Harvest the Cherry Tomatoes

Once your cherry tomatoes have become shiny and their color has turned deep (it takes around 60 days for most varieties), it’s time to harvest them. You can also determine if the fruits are ready by touching them. 

If they feel somewhat tender to touch, you can remove them from plants.

Make sure that you remove the tomatoes with a gentle tug instead of twisting them because it can cause harm.

Important Note: If you fail to harvest your cherry tomatoes in time, they’ll split open.

Final Words

Growing cherry tomato plants in pots can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can provide you with a handsome tomato yield that you can use all summer long.

But it’s important to make sure that you follow the steps discussed in this guide carefully to keep your plants healthy and achieve desired results.

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