Growing heirloom tomatoes in pots is possible. Here’s a list of 5 best varieties you can try. Check out!
If you don’t have space for a garden, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy deliciously, ripened tomatoes. Heirloom tomato plants grow exceptionally well in containers.
Most heirloom tomato plants grow well in a container so long as you know how to grow them properly. Which cultivars are better and easier to manage.
Also Read: Best Tomato Varieties to Grow in Containers
Determinate vs. Indeterminate
Determinate varieties do better in containers because they only grow up to three or four feet tall and are compact in nature. You don’t have to worry about staking and trellising much. There are some other differences besides the height difference; indeterminate tomato plants can reach up to 7 feet tall. Determinate plants produce all of their fruit over a three week period. They won’t continue to produce throughout the entire season.
However, don’t be afraid to grow an indeterminate tomato plant! Even though they are larger and need staking, you simply need to purchase a larger pot to accommodate their growth. You never want to use pot smaller than 5 gallons. For larger heirloom plants, such as Brandywine, you will want to purchase a pot between 15-24 gallons!
Top 5 Heirloom Tomato Plants
One of the top heirloom tomatoes to consider is the Brandywine. Gardeners love it for the unique flavor and size. Brandywine tomatoes can grow up to 2 pounds each! Instead of the typical red color, the fruits are a pinkish shade.
These heirloom tomato plants are indeterminate, so they grow rather large. You will have to stake these plants, as well as practice regular pruning. Some gardeners use cages to contain these plants. They are worth the trouble; their unique flavor makes Brandywine one of the best-tasting tomatoes.
Those of us who live in a cooler climate love Stupice tomatoes. This variety originates in Czechoslovakia. While the flavor isn’t particularly outstanding or unusual, Stupice tomatoes are one of the earliest yielding plants. When you live in a cooler region, you want to extend your growing season as long as possible. Those who live in the northern climates benefit from these heirloom tomato plants, especially if you grow them in containers.
Even though they are an indeterminate tomato plant, they are compact, so you won’t typically need to stake them. Stupice produces fruits that are two inches in diameter, with a long growing season. The plant will produce hundreds of these small fruits.
3. Silvery Fir Tree
Some gardeners like to grow plants that are ornamental as well. Silvery Fir Tree grows well in containers because they are compact in nature. You won’t need to stake these plants because they rarely become taller than 24 inches.
They differ from other tomato plants because of their feathery, silvery gray-green foliage. The fruits are round, contrasting with their beautifully colored leaves. The fruits measure 3 to 3 ½ inches in diameter, weighing 5 to 6 ounces. Silvery Fir Tree tomato plants are a determinate variety, producing delicious fruits close to two months after planting.
4. Japanese Black Trifele
If the flavor is your main goal when selecting the heirloom tomato plants, the Japanese Black Trifele is a plant you may need to grow. While these fruits aren’t as large as Brandywine tomatoes, they are pear-shaped, turning an amazing mahogany color as they start to ripen. They typically weigh 3 to 5 ounces. Best of all, these plants are heavy producers so that you will get a large harvest.
Their flavor is unique, complex with a hint of smokiness. Once you eat one, you will never mistake it for another type ever again. Another feature that gardeners love about the Japanese Black Trifele is that their color stands out against their leaves, making it an ornamental choice as well. These are an indeterminate tomato and will require a strong stake.
These tomatoes are a hearty tomato, developed for gardeners in Canada. Because the seasons are shorter there, you can expect Manitoba plants to produce earlier in the season than usual. On average, the maturity time is 63 days, depending on the weather and temperature. They reach a general height of 3 feet tall. The fruits aren’t as large as Brandywine, but they make an excellent slicing tomato. You can expect the fruits to be round, red and 3 to 4 inches in diameter with a tangy flavor.
Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomato Plants in Containers
- Most tomato plants need a container with a depth of 12 to 18 inches at a minimum.
- A smaller pot can lead to issues such as your soil drying out too fast or blossom end rot. Larger containers prevent the soil from drying out too fast during the hot summer.
- Heirloom tomatoes need 6 to 8 hours of sun each day. Afternoon sun can overload the plant with sunlight that is too hot. Unless you can commit to a morning and evening watering, try to select a spot on your patio that gets ample sunlight earlier in the day.
- If you know you will need stakes because you chose indeterminate tomato plants, put the stakes in earlier. Early staking gives your plants a chance to learn how to grow vertically up with the help of stake.
- Your largest consideration is how often you water the containers. Containers dry out much faster than raised beds. Under-watering and over-watering can have detrimental effects. You should always check the soil before water. If it is dry an inch down into the soil, you need to water.
Just because you don’t have a regular garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy growing heirloom tomato plants. They grow well in containers. While these are 5 of the top choices, each gardener has their personal favorite. Over time, you’ll find the ones you love the most.
Tina Martino: Her passion is gardening. Along with her husband and children, each year they grow a garden large enough to provide their family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, she also focuses her attention on beautifying their home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.