Tomatoes are perfect for hanging baskets. In the garden, they need support as few tomatoes stay upright on their own. In hanging baskets, this situation is perfect because tomatoes naturally fall over the edges, tumbling their branches, flowers, and gorgeous tomatoes over the sides.
Advantages to Growing Tomatoes in Hanging Baskets
- Extend the growing season, moving hanging baskets to protected areas or indoors in cold weather.
- Hanging at eye-level in convenient locations makes harvesting a breeze.
- Allows growing delicious tomatoes without using up valuable garden real estate.
8 Best Tomato Varieties to Grow in Hanging Baskets
In Small Baskets…
Plants that will stay small and survive in a smaller basket would be great choices for small places. When flipping through the seed catalogue or chatting with the helpful people at the garden center, look for plants that can tolerate smaller containers, have a smaller mature growth size, and might have dwarf, bush, or determinate in the name.
1. Tiny Tim Tomatoes
Tiny Tims grow only about 18 inches tall and can survive a 6-inch pot. They produce ¾ inch, bright red cherry tomatoes in approximately 60 days.
2. Tumbling Tom Tomatoes
These are excellent for hanging baskets because of their 18-inch-long cascading habit. They produce cherry tomatoes that are up to 1 inch in size in about 70 days.
3. Red Robin Tomato
Red Robin is a delicious, extra-sweet determinate-dwarf bred specifically for growing in containers. Plants are compact, reaching 8 to 12 inches tall, producing 1 ¼ inch fruits in 55 days.
4. Early Resilience Hybrid Tomato
These are especially disease resistant, growing healthier, happier, compact plants that produce great tasting roma-style tomatoes up to 2 inches in size and have a perfectly balanced tomato flavor.
In Larger Baskets…
Here are some larger tomato varieties that have potential for tomato growers who really want to experiment and show off their tomato growing prowess.
Hanging baskets should be at least 18 inches and best at 24 inches across for success in growing large tomato plants. If there are not enough strong arms for lifting these massive baskets, there are pully systems available for raising and lowering large-sized hanging baskets.
5. Celano Hybrid Tomato
This is a larger, semi-determinate type which grows super-sweet ¾ oz fruits in heavy yields. Plants will need at least 18-inch containers to support the 40-inch plants.
6. Hundreds and Thousands
Grows massive amounts of bite-sized, sweet, and delicious tomatoes on vigorous, cascading plants that are easy to grow and perfect for hanging baskets.
This is a gorgeous, prolific grower of large cherry tomatoes that span the tomato rainbow from light pink to almost red on vigorous branches that spill all over.
8. Midnight Snack
Midnight Snack makes pretty, purple cherry tomatoes with delicious rich, sweet flavor in high yields on indeterminate, vines in about 75 days.
For the brave and experienced grower of tomatoes, maybe you want to push the envelope with wilder, vine-type, indeterminate tomato plants. It makes sense that if a tomato plant will grow 8 feet tall, it might hang from ceiling to floor. I say, give it a try.
Be prepared though, it will weigh a ton so a sturdy fixture and basket will be necessary, think professional basketball hoop. It will also be hungry and thirsty, so be ready to have it on a thorough, frequent watering and feeding schedule.
The Perfect Basket
Firstly, starting out strong is a no brainer. We are hoping for prolific plants with mounds of delicious tomatoes. They will also need lots of water and nutrients. So flimsy, cheaply made baskets won’t be the first choice.
Investing in re-usable wire metal baskets that support high-quality liners and have sturdy, robust hanging chains and hooks is a great solution. There are heavy plastic or composite hanging baskets that could fit this situation also. Strength is what we are after to support successful beautiful and productive tomato plants.
As important as strength if not more so, any plant vessel must have drainage holes and hanging baskets are no exception. If the basket has a solid construction, please drill holes in the bottom or the plant roots will be waterlogged and drown in a murky yucky mess.
Preparing the Basket
Depending on the basket style, an appropriate basket liner will help with soil aeration and filtration. The hope is that when you water the hanging basket, excess water can escape but soil stays in place. Using a coconut mat liner or landscape fabric can do the trick. Often, baskets are sold with custom plastic disks or mesh that fit inside the basket that are sufficient.
Best Soil for Hanging Basket Tomatoes
The hanging basket is completely at our mercy and we must provide it with everything it needs. Since this is not just ornamental, but we hope to eat some delicious tomatoes too, excellent soil quality is a must.
Enrich a high quality potting soil with organic matter, compost, and some natural or organic root and bloom fertilizer from the beginning to help the tomatoes thrive.
Use a soil mix that is good at water retention such as one with peat moss, coconut fiber or other material.
This Mother Earth Potting Soil is an ideal medium for starting your tomato plants.
Where To Place Your Hanging Baskets
Full sun and protected from wind will be the best place to put the hanging baskets. Tomatoes love heat and will thrive and be productive with yummy, juicy tomatoes in warm locations.
Make sure the tomato baskets are easy to access. We all have great intentions when planning and planting in the spring.
Putting the hanging baskets in full sun across the yard where you need to haul water twice a day seems reasonable in May. Come August, when there are a zillion other things to do and its hotter than heck, it better be easy to sprinkle water on those poor toms hanging out in the hot sun.
Planting Up the Baskets
For most varieties, just one tomato plant will be enough for each basket. For baskets outside, wait until all fear of frost has passed.
Make a central hole in the soil. Unlike many plants, tomatoes can be planted quite deep up their stems and they love it. It also helps to tickle the root ball to loosen it up before pressing it into the soil. Give the tomato plants a good drink after planting.
Tomato Companion Plants for Hanging Baskets
Tomatoes have lots of great friends in the garden. Anything blooming and attracting bees and butterflies near the hanging baskets will be welcome. You could interplant the basket with some flowering friends such as French marigolds or calendula.
Tomatoes and basil grow great together, and they compliment each other perfectly in many delicious dishes.
Caring for your Hanging Basket Tomato Plants
As mentioned earlier, your hanging baskets are completely dependent on you for everything.
Tomatoes love consistency. If at all possible, an automatic watering system is highly recommended to make sure you and your tomatoes don’t get stressed out from lack of water. Because they are up in the air, tomatoes in hanging baskets are susceptible to drying out quickly, especially on hot windy days. A regular watering schedule of twice a day is not overdoing it.
On top of all the lovely nutrients packed into the basket soil, a liquid spray fertilizer or compost tea on a weekly basis will keep your tomato plants looking healthy and green.
Adding a liquid natural root and bloom fertilizer a couple of times a month will help spur those flowers into delicious tomatoes ripe and ready for munching.
Unless you’ve braved an indeterminate, wildly vining huge tomato plant, very little pruning will be necessary. If you have, probably keep it to 3 to 5 main stems.
For most tomatoes in hanging baskets, they will be smaller, determinate types. With these you might just remove any damaged leaves. These kinds of tomatoes have a finite or predetermined amount of growth so you want to keep as many branches, stems, and shoots as the plant will give you to maximize production.
Enjoy growing tomatoes in hanging baskets and the delicious, easy-to-access fruits of your labors.