Tomatoes in Hanging Baskets
Hanging baskets are great for growing tomatoes – it’s fun, easy to do
1. Choose your hanging basket – you can grow them top planted which
is easy or if you’re a little more adventurous you can plant your plants
into the sides also. It is also increasingly popular for people to plant
into the bottom of a hanging basket as well.
2. Add a good potting soil along with a slow-release fertilizer as
well as some water retaining or polymer pellets to increase the soil's
3. Add your plants. Select small-fruiting varieties of tomato. Cherry
tomatoes, grape tomatoes and other dwarf tomatoes work well in hanging
Avoid any verity that has fruit larger than a cherry tomato as you
have to constantly tie their stems to the hanging basket chains as the
weight of the larger tomatoes tends to stress the plant and snap the
Celebrity, Tomato Tumbler and Tomato Garden Pearl are some proven
varieties that perform well in hanging baskets.
Also keep your eyes open for the variety called “Hundreds
and Thousands” – soon to arrive to the USA
Sutton’s in the UK say that this is probably the world's most
prolific fruiting tomato and is just perfect for hanging baskets. Plants
are vigorous and easy to grow and produce “literally thousands of sweet,
juicy, grape-sized tomatoes in an inexhaustible supply throughout the
Sutton’s staff counted over 2000 tomatoes from a single basket! –
Also see article below.
4. Set your plants into the hanging basket, and fill in around the root
ball with soil – you can plant your tomatoes a little on the deep side
5. Water your plants and then add more soil leaving a 2 inch lip from
the top of the soil to the top of your hanging basket
Tomatoes grown in hanging baskets will most likely need water every day
in warm weather – sometimes even twice a day if it is hot and windy.
Fertilize your tomatoes every other week with a good liquid fertilizer.
Helpful Hint ….To make life easy on yourself hang your tomato baskets in
an area where watering won't be a problem – like somewhere close to your
Then get your ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Feta Cheese
Caprese salad with your homegrown cherry tomatoes and basil
Best tomatoes for hanging baskets
Tomato plants in hanging baskets can be decorative and productive. In
this exclusive preview of trials carried out by Which? Gardening, we
reveal the best varieties to grow
Tomato 'Hundreds and Thousands' is ideal for a hanging basket
Tomatoes are at their best picked and eaten fresh from the plant. They
can take up quite a bit of room, so if you haven't a got greenhouse or
can't find space on the patio, why not try them in a hanging basket
An increasing number of varieties in seed catalogues claim to grow well
this way. Most of these basket types are bush varieties so don't need
any training or side shooting (on a cordon/upright variety you have to
nip out the side shoots), and by growing them in a hanging basket, they
can be decorative as well as productive.
But how good do they look – and most importantly, how do they taste?
Tomatoes on trial
Last spring Which? Gardening chose 15 tomato varieties recommended for
growing in a hanging basket or pot. We grew 14 from seed and one from
plugs (seeds weren't available at the time of our trial).
We planted up three baskets with a single plant for each variety we
tested. All tomato plants were fed with Chempak Standard Tomato Food.
Each variety was assessed for suitability for basket growing and total
yield per basket.
A taste panel made up of members of the Which? team and Marks & Spencer
tomato buyer George Hebditch rated each variety for appearance, aroma,
texture, flavour and overall eating quality.
Also in spring 2008, a group of Which? Gardening members trialled
'Tumbling Tom Yellow' in a basket and added their results to our
findings. Of the 15 varieties we trialled, we highly recommend the
following six. They all produced ample fruit and were recommended by our
'Hundreds and Thousands'
Hundreds? Yes. Thousands? Not really, but you won't go short of tomatoes
with this variety. A single plant in our 13in basket produced a very
impressive 504 fruits from the start of August until the end of
September. The sweet, mini-cherry fruit measuring just 15mm in diameter
were singled out as the most flavoursome by our taste panel.
Yield: 2lb 6oz
Fruit per basket: 504
From Dobies and Suttons
The spreading habit of this variety is well suited to a hanging basket.
It easily spread to fill our baskets and produced attractive clusters of
fruit on trusses that trailed down from all sides. This variety yielded
almost 4lb 6oz of small, uniform, cherry-sized fruit (30mm in diameter)
from a single basket. 'Tumbler' had a well-balanced, classic tomato
flavour with a burst of sweetness.
Yield: 4lb 3oz
Fruit per basket: 171
From: DT Brown and Simpsons
'Maskotka' didn't produce as many fruit as our other recommended
varieties (81 per basket) but it did yield slightly more than 'Hundreds
It trailed nicely and its juicy, flavoursome fruit made it well worth
trying in a basket. The slightly elongated fruit were a fantastic
deep red and tumbled nicely
over the sides of baskets.
Yield: 2lb 10oz
Fruit per basket: 81
From: DT Brown, Dobies, Simpsons,
Suttons, Thompson and Morgan
This cascading, vigorous variety stands out for its unusual colour and
is well suited to a hanging basket. In our trial, 'Garden Pearl' quickly
spread over all sides of the baskets and the unusual, pearlised crimson
colour and heart-shaped fruit were a hit with our taste panel.
They were divided on the texture – more flesh than juice was the verdict
– but everyone liked the flavour. This was the second-highest-yielding
variety in the trial.
Yield: 3lb 12oz
Fruit per basket: 289
From: Marshalls, Mr Fothergill's, Simpsons, Thompson and Morgan, Unwins
'Tumbling Tom Yellow'
Less vigorous, but just as prolific as its red counterpart, the
spreading habit of 'Tumbling Tom Yellow' was just right for basket
growing. Our taste panel found the small yellow fruit juicy and sweet.
Last year we sent 'Tumbling Tom Yellow' to 965 Which? Gardening members,
who agreed that this variety was suitable for baskets and tasted good,
Yield: 3lb 8oz
Fruit per basket: 234
From: Dobies, Mr Fothergill's, Plants of Distinction, Suttons
'Tumbling Tom Red'
This tomato does exactly as its name suggests – it's a genuine tumbling
variety and is well suited to growing in a basket. The trusses of small,
bright red, cherry-sized fruit trailed nicely from all sides of the
baskets. 'Tumbling Tom Red' was also a hit with our taste panel, who
thought the rich red fruit struck just the right balance of acidity and
Yield: 3lb 5oz
Fruit per basket: 233
From: Chiltern Seeds, Mr Fothergill's,
Plants of Distinction, Suttons, Thompson and Morgan
Two unusual varieties for container-growing
We decided a pot would be more fitting for this variety
than a hanging basket because of its strong, upright habit and lack of
fruit trusses that hung below the basket. The balance of sweetness and
acidity of the mottled red fruit was well liked by our taste panel and
each plant produced, on average, 113 good-sized cherry tomatoes,
weighing in at 2lb 10oz. We also grew
'Balconi Yellow', which produced a
similar yield, but wasn't liked by our taste panel who thought it was
watery and lacked flavour. From: Thompson and Morgan
'Silvery Fir Tree'
'Balconi Yellow', This variety caught our eye thanks to its large,
beefsteak fruit. With an upright habit and generous fruit, it's an
interesting alternative to cherry tomatoes. We harvested, on average, 24
fruit measuring about 60mm, per basket in our trial.
our taste panel weren't keen on the texture or flavour. From: Plants of
Which? Gardening provides independent, expert gardening advice that you
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Grow your own basket tomatoes
1 Line a 13in basket with a polythene-backed sisal and jute liner
(Which? Gardening's current Best Buy liner).
2 Mix a water-retaining product (Chempak Supergel and Phostrogen
Swellgel are current Which? Best Buys) and a slow-release fertiliser
(Westland Feed-all Slow Release Plant Food and Phostrogen Slow Release
Plant Food Granules are current Best Buys) into the compost before
filling your basket. This will help reduce the need to water and feed
3 Sit the basket on a bucket or flower pot to keep it stable and fill
with compost. Avoid using John Innes compost as this will make the
basket very heavy. Don't fill to the brim as you need to allow room for
4 Place a tomato plant in the centre of the basket (sow seed undercover
in April or buy young plants in May or June), firm in and water in well.
5 Keep your basket in a frost-free place until all risk has passed, then
hang in a sunny, sheltered position.
6 Keep your basket well watered to avoid split fruit. This may mean
watering twice a day in hot weather.