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  • Writer's pictureW. H. Perron

Growing tomatoes in containers

Yes, tomatoes can be grown in a container. You live in a condo or apartment and would like to grow your own fruits and vegetables? No worries, certain veggies are easy to grow in containers or window boxes.

Before you start

· Location : tomato plants grow a lot and need space, foresee space for at least 80 cm to 140 cm (30’’– 50’’) in height.

· Exposure: tomatoes need at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.

· Production: easy, but needs regular attention.

· Harvest: summer or autumn, depending on the variety.

Required equipment

· Tomato plants.

· Clay or rock beads for drainage.

· Horticultural composts.

· Pruning shear.

· A dark coloured container of at least 30 cm.

· Plant tutor.

· Straw.

Fill up ¼ of the container with clay or rock beads.

When to replant your tomatoes?

Replant your tomatoes between the end of May and mid-June. Cool nights can slow down your plant’s growth. The seedling must be strong before its transplant.

Young plants, grown under stable conditions (interior), can easily be shocked to find themselves outside, under variable conditions and intense sun.

The goal of the acclimatization process is precisely to prepare plants for exterior conditions. By gradually exposing the plants, they will adapt and start producing a thicker cuticle on its leaves and harden its stems that will help tolerate the sun, wind, rain, etc.

This process should start 7 to 10 days before the plant is permanently set outside. Often before the last frost date. If it is colder than usual at this period, it is better to delay a bit the process. Ideally, a night temperature of at least 15°C, the day to plant outside. Start by placing in the shade and shelter from the wind.

If the night temperature is lower than 15° C, bring the plant inside the house at night, if not, it can stay outside. Repeat for 2 to 3 days. After this 3-day period, place the container in a semi-shaded area of the balcony (under a chair or table). The plants must receive the morning direct sun, but shade for the rest of the day; this process should also be done for another 2-3 days. The last step is to place the plant under the sun for 2-3 days, leaving it outside during the day and at night. Then you can transplant in a container. Tomato growth is optimal at 21° C to 24° C or more.


· Use a 30 cm container (12’’).

· Fill ¼ of the container with clay or rock beads.

· Fill up with breeding grown.

· Dig a hole in the ground to insert the plant.

· Dip the plant in water for 5 minutes.

· Delicately detach the roots allowing for the plant to ease better in the ground.

· Insert the plant in the ground and settle the soil around the roots. To have a strong root system, insert 15 cm of the stem in the ground.

· Insert a tutor in the container and attach the plant.

· Put straw at the top of the container to avoid evaporation.

Plant care

· Tomatoes grow fast. To allow the fruits to develop harmoniously, trim the tomato stalks with shears.

· At the base, cut the new growths on the main stem. This allows the sun to better reach the plant.

· Use tutors to keep the plant straight.


Suckers - pruning

Suckers-pruning consist in removing, at an early stage, all new small stems found at the base of the leaves. You can remove them by using your hands or with pruning shears. We favour the main stem on which 4 or 5 flower and fruit bearing branches grow. The reason to remove suckers is to obtain larger and more uniform fruits that will mature at the same time.


· Watering must be regular (the soil must stay humid).

· Water the base of the plant, avoiding to wet the foliage.

· When temperatures are quite high, water each day.

· Avoid using a self-watering planter, with a reservoir or plate, stagnant water may cause roots to rot.

· Use a 1,5 L plastic bottle and make 3 or 4 holes in the cap. Fill up the bottle with water or a fertilizer solution, depending on your needs, replace the cap on and insert heads down in the soil making sure the lid is in the soil.

· You can monitor the water inflow by making more holes or making larger holes.

Which tomato variety to grow?

· Cherry tomatoes called ‘’patio collection’’, are easier to plant and will give you a very good harvest while taking the less growing space.

· For example : Hyb. Sweets'n'Neats, Hyb Tumbler or Hyb. Strudy Jo

Hyb. Sweet'N'Neat Yellow

Very compact tomato ideal for patio containers or window planter boxes.

Series: Sweet'N'Neat

Plant habit: determined

Maturity: 55 days

Color: yellow

Fruit shape: cherry

Fruit Weight: 25 g

Hyb. Sturdy Jo Patio Patio Collection

Versatile tomato that adapts to the size of its container. After harvest, the plant keeps a vigorous regrowth that can reach 3 times its size at harvest. Fruits are velvety, juicy and very sweet. Sturdy Jo was recognized as the sweetest tomato in the world!

Plant Habit: determined

Maturity: 55 days

Color: red

Fruit Weight: 7-8 g

Hyb. Tumbler

This variety produces fruits of about 3 cm in diameter. These elegant and prolific plants have a falling bearing and can produce up to 2.7 K of cherry-tomatoes.

Plant Habit: determined

Maturity: 45 days

Coulor: red

Fruit Shape: cherry

Fruit Weight: 25 g

The Oxheart or Heirloom Marriage Hyb. Big Brandy are ideal if you want big tomatoes for cooking or to stuff.

Heirloom Marriage Hyb. Big Brandy

This new tomato, born for a cross of 2 ancestral varieties, is a new pink beefsteak tomato. It is an early variety with a great yield and a great taste.

Plant Habit: determined

Maturity: 78 days

Color: pink

Fruit Weight: 350-425 g

· For different varieties: Chocolate Cherry (dark chocolate color), Chocolate Spinkles (chocolate color) or the Indigo Fireball (yellow with an indigo crown).

Hyb. Chocolate Cherry

Improvement of the Black Cherry variety with its tolerance to cracking. Chocolate Cherry has a rich red color mixed with some dark chocolate. Very sweet taste. It can be cultivated in the garden, in a container on in a greenhouse.

Plant Habit: indetermined

Maturity: 70 days

Color: red and black

Fruit Shape: cherry

Fruit Weight: less than 25 g

Hyb. Chocolate Sprinkles

The first cherry-tomato with a chocolaty color with a good tolerance to disease. It produces more fruits and is more flavourful than similar open pollinated cherry-tomatoes. Grow in open-field.

Plant Habit: indetermined

Maturity: 55 days

Coulor: red with some speckled of green

Fruit Shape: cherry

Fruit Weight: 20 g

Fruit Harvest

End of May plants will give their first fruits in mid-July. For large fruit plants, first harvest will be in August or September. If the season if hot, harvesting can run until autumn.

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