Growing Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets

Tomatoes are one of the most popular crop grown in vegetable gardens. Did you know that growing tomatoes in hanging baskets is easy?

Even if you only have a small garden or a balcony, you can still have delicious tomatoes all summer long. All you need is a bit of wall space ore somewhere outside to hang up a basket.

Or maybe you want to try out some unusual tomato varieties, but don’t use up any valuable space on your veggie plot for this experiment? Well, then a hanging basket might be the answer.

In this article we will show you how easy growing tomatoes in hanging baskets is.

tomatoes in hanging basket

When growing tomatoes in hanging baskets, you have to make sure you choose the right variety, as not all tomato varieties will grow well in a hanging basket.

As a general rule, cherry tomatoes are best suited for hanging baskets. 

Most of them are a bush-variety, which means they don’t grow that tall and don’t need much pruning. 

But there are also tumbling tomato varieties, or trailing tomatoes, as they are also sometimes called. These work great for growing tomatoes in hanging baskets because they will grow down over the edges of the basket. 

That’s not only beautiful to look at, but also handy when picking the fruits.

So here are our recommendations of tomato varieties to try when growing tomatoes in hanging baskets.

Tomato Red Alert

These tomatoes are small but very tasty tomatoes. You’ll get very early tomatoes from this variety which brings the added benefit of very good disease resistance. The tomato Red Alert is ideal for growing in hanging baskets as the plant’s spread is only 45cm (18in).

Tomato Tumbling Tom Red

The most popular variety for growing in hanging baskets and pots. Tumbling Tom Red tomatoes are very sweet, juicy and tasty. And it will look gorgeous with all these tomatoes tumbling down the basket.

Tomato Bajaja

Although this is one of the smallest tomato varieties available, the crops of tiny cherry tomatoes can be amazing – up to 700 per plant. Tomatoes from the Bajaja variety are very small but tasty. The plant is small enough for a 25-30cm (10-12in) hanging basket.

Sowing Your Tomato Seeds

tomato seeds

Even when growing tomatoes in hanging baskets, you have to start with sowing the seeds.

In late March is a good time to begin planting tomato seeds. With good quality soil, fill a seed tray or small pots almost full.

Growing Tip: Water the soil before you sow your seeds, because it will prevent the seeds from being swept to the edges.

Sprinkle the tomato seeds in the tray or put two seeds into each small pot. Then cover lightly with soil. 

Use a spray bottle to moisten the topsoil. Then place in a propagator on a windowsill or a heated greenhouse.

Tomato seeds generally take one to two weeks to germinate. The ideal germination temperature for them is between 15°C – 20°C. If the temperature is lower, it might take a bit longer for the seeds to germinate.

After about eight to ten weeks, the tomato seedlings should now be big enough to handle. It’s now time to pot these into individual pots, each tomato plant will need a 10cm (4in) pot to grow in.

It’s best to use a fork to pick out the seedlings but be careful not to damage the roots. Once potted into the larger pots, water well.

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Growing Tomatoes In Hanging Baskets

Growing Tomatoes in a Hanging Basket

Once the tomato plants begin to show signs of flowering it’s time to pot them on into a hanging basket. This should be around the end of May.

Make sure you only hang out your basket once there is no more risk of frost.

But first you have to prepare your hanging basket.

The Hanging Basket

When growing tomatoes in hanging baskets, the basket itself is very important. So choose your basket wisely.

Keep in mind that it will contain soil, water, the plant and its fruit. This means it needs to be strong enough.

Ideally, you want a metal hanging basket, with a coco liner.

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The coco liner will ensure that any excess water can drain off, which will ensure that the roots won’t get to wet and rot.

Some baskets you can buy will have a plastic lining. A basket with plastic is no good though, as it will hold the water. And it will make it difficult to know if you are overwatering your plants.

You can also buy replacement coco liners if they deteriorate, so you can keep using your hanging basket year after year.

Preparing Your Basket

Fill your basket with a soil mix of good quality compost, organic matter and perlite, which will improve drainage.

You can also add water-storing gel pallets, that will retain the water and release it slowly when needed.

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Once you have prepared your basket, you are ready to plant your cherry tomato plants.

Planting Your Tomatoes In The Hanging Basket

Some people recommend growing multiple tomato plants in one hanging basket, but I recommend growing tomato plants individually in a 30cm (12in) hanging basket.

You don’t want too many plants in one basket, because there are limited nutrients and water, and they will all compete against each other.

As a result, they will produce fewer fruit, and you end up with a lower yield. 

A 30cm (12in) basket will allow enough space for one tomato plant and a few small less hungry plants, such as flowers. This will attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and will look nice. 

I like to plant basil with my tomatoes, because then I only have to go to one basket to get all the ingredients for my favourite summer salad.

Basil also repels the white fly, which can attack tomato plants, so it is a great companion plant for tomatoes.

Once you have completed planting your basket, give the plants a good soak.

Now it’s time to start hardening off your tomato plant. This means you hang out the basket in the sun for a few hours to get the plants acclimatised to being outside.

Do this for about a week, then your basket is ready to find the perfect spot for your hanging basket.

Caring For Your Tomatoes In A Hanging Basket

watering tomato plants

Before you hang out your hanging basket, make sure that the danger of frost has passed.

First, you need to make sure you hang up the basket in the right spot. Growing tomatoes in a hanging basket can only be successful, if you give the tomatoes all they need.

Find a sunny spot that is also sheltered from the wind for your hanging basket, so that your tomato plants can turn their fruits into super sweet tomatoes.

Growing tomatoes in a hanging basket does require some special care. So here are the things you should do:

  • water your plants in a hanging basket regularly, as the soil will dry out quicker than in a bed.
  • Especially in hot, dry weather, it is important to water your hanging baskets daily, best twice a day.
  • Once fruits start to form, it’s time to start feeding your homegrown tomatoes. Use liquid tomato feed and dilute it with water. Feed every 7-10 days.
  • Make sure you pick ripe fruits regularly to ensure the plant will keep producing them.

You can read more about caring for tomato plants in our complete guide about growing tomatoes from seed.

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Pests And Diseases Affecting Tomatoes In A Hanging Basket

No guide about growing tomatoes in hanging a hanging basket would be complete without a section about pests and diseases that could ruin your crop.

Diseases

blight on tomato plant

The biggest threat to any tomato plant grown outdoors is tomato blight. This is a fungal disease that strikes normally in warm, wet weather.

The first signs will be brown marks on the leaves, which will grow. The disease will move to the fruits and cause them to rot.

There is no cure for tomato blight. Once a plant is infected, it is best to destroy it immediately to avoid it spreading to other plants. Don’t compost an infected plant.

Here are some measures you can take to prevent an infection:

  • don’t overcrowd your hanging basket. Make sure there is good air circulation so that the foliage can dry out quickly after rain.
  • water from below right into the soil to prevent the leaves from getting wet.
  • Remove dead plant debris and weeds from the hanging basket.
  • There are some tomato varieties that are said to be blight resistant.

Blossom end rot, is not really a disease as such, it is caused by a lack of calcium. But it is still worth mentioning here.

The signs are quite obvious. You will see round patches at the bottom of the tomatoes. These can be grey, brown or black and will grow and flatten.

The calcium deficiency is, in most cases, caused by irregular watering. So, when growing tomatoes in a hanging basket, watering regularly is a must. 

Never let the soil dry out. Touch the topsoil, if it is dry, give the basket a good watering, from below.

The affected fruits cannot be eaten, so dispose of them.

Pests

When growing tomatoes in a hanging basket, they are still at risk of some pests.

Aphids might still find your tomatoes, even when growing them in a hanging basket.

These are small green insects that suck the sap from the tomato plants. Most tomatoes can tolerate small numbers of aphids, so if you can, tolerate them.

A heavy infestation can attack the plant’s health and reduce the yield. So, if you find that your plant is heavily infested with these little pests, you need to control them.

The best way to do this, is by encouraging the natural predators of these pests in your garden. Such as hoverflies, ladybirds and lapwings. 

Hang your basket near flowers such as marigolds. There are also plants that repel aphids, such as onions or garlic. You could plant one or two of these in your basket.

You can use insecticidal soap to wash your plants with and wash the aphids away.

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Now that we have shown you all about growing tomatoes in a hanging basket, why don’t you give it a go. You will be delighted when you can start to pick your first basket tomatoes.

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