Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants that home gardeners grow. This is because at home you can grow heirloom varieties that the local grocery store tomatoes can not compare to for flavor, quality, or freshness.
Tomatoes are easy to grow and give you a plentiful harvest even when grown in small quantities.
Provided you keep their soil nourished and provide large amounts of water your tomato plants will provide you with enough fruits to make your return well worth the effort you put in. Some heirloom tomato varieties are better suited to containers than others.
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Why should you grow heirloom tomatoes in containers?
Growing heirloom tomatoes in containers allows you to control your heirloom tomatoes’ environment better than growing them in the ground where your soil conditions may be hard to optimize.
Container gardening is a great way to grow tomatoes even if you are limited in space such as needing to grow your tomatoes on your patio. Most tomatoes that grow well in containers will thrive in a simple 5-gallon bucket making it very easy to find a quality container for your potted tomato garden.
Determinate varieties of tomatoes tend to be great for growing in containers but can leave you with a limited crop as they do not produce all season long. For the best yield, you want to look for an indeterminate heirloom tomato variety that will grow well in containers yet produce all season long until the first frost.
What is an heirloom tomato?
Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated and the seeds can be saved to grow the next crop year after year. These tomatoes have unique flavors, colors, and even shapes that you won’t find in hybrids sold in your local grocery stores.
Heirloom tomatoes can be bred with other varieties of heirloom tomatoes to make a unique and distinct new variety.
Growing your own heirloom tomatoes at home is well worth the time and effort for a flavorful and beautiful addition to your summer meals and preserving for long winters ahead.
The best heirloom tomato varieties to grow in containers.
These tomato varieties can grow well in large containers giving you a stunningly beautiful, flavorful, and despite the limited grow space plentiful harvest you can be proud of.
The Brandywine heirloom tomato variety is perhaps one of the most popular options for growing in containers. This large indeterminate beefsteak tomato with bright pink flesh is the perfect addition to your summer container garden.
2. Japanese Black Trifele
This tomato looks unique, similar to a mahogany-colored Bartlett pear with greenish shoulders. The compact size of this tomato plant does well in a pot with a strong stake rather than needing a full cage that doesn’t always have the look we are going for. The unique and complex smoky flavor of this tomato will add a pop to your favorite grilled dishes.
The stupice has been around for generations. This tomato is a company plant with a high production that remains steady during the growing season despite being one of the first to bloom each year.
4. Principe Borghese
This tomato is a rather large determinate with small egg-shaped fruits with a strong acidic flavor. These tomatoes hold up well when grown in a large pot at least the size of a 5-gallon bucket with a sturdy tomato cage.
For gardeners looking to dehydrate for winter storage, this tomato variety is perfect for your container garden. This tomato can add a pop of flavor to summer salads with its acidic tang.
5. Green Zebra
Green Zebra is a more compact indeterminate tomato variety. These tomatoes grow to about 5 to 6 feet tall and can thrive in a large container.
Green Zebra tomato is popular for its sour lemon yet balances sweetness to its flavor. The look of green zebra tomatoes adds a fun twist to your potted tomato garden.
6. Cherokee Purple Tomato
Cherokee Purple Tomato is a large tomato that does surprisingly well in potted containers.
This heirloom grows a dusty rose fruit up to about 12 ounces each making a wonderful beefsteak option for your container garden that makes for a sweet addition to your meals. This indeterminate tomato variety will supply fresh tomatoes all season long.
7. Gold metal tomato
This fiery orange and golden-yellow tomato are perfect for growing in containers. With flavorful ripe tomatoes all season long these tomatoes pack a punch for your time and space while adding a stunning pop of color to your garden from about 9 days after planting to the first frost.
8 Eva’s Purple Ball tomato
This variety makes a perfect round and blemish-free fruit about 4 to 5 inches in size. The cherry red color is bright and eye-catching making this a great heirloom tomato that can produce a stunning and commercially even fruit that is perfect for the home gardener that may be looking for an easy-to-sell variety that grows well in containers.
With proper care, these will get tall and outgrow their cage fairly easily so get the largest cage you can find to fit your container.
9. Amish paste tomato
This common variety can grow over 6 feet tall but will still thrive in a large container with the right support. The Amish paste tomato is a great tomato for making sauce for canning at home. They are bright red and have fruits at about 8 to 12 ounces and can quickly fill a stockpot, though they can be a bit watery for making tomato paste despite their name.
Grow these for cooking down or dicing for summer salads. Amish paste tomatoes are indeterminate and will produce all season long until the first frost. Place this container near a wall with a tall trellis to help support your tomatoes after they outgrow a standard cage due to the weight of their fruits.
10. Silvery Fir Tree
The Silvery Fir Tree tomato is a great compact determinate for growing in pots. These will only ripen for about a 2 week period making them a great option if you wish to use them for preservation over the winter and do not want to have to process through the entire season.
This small plant only reaches about 2 feet tall and can grow in a smaller pot of only 2 to 3 gallons making it a great variety for anyone growing tomatoes in a very small space.
After your tomatoes have been harvested you start a bush variety green bean in its place to get another crop in the same pot that will help repair your soil for the next round of tomatoes come next spring.
Heirloom cherry tomato varieties to grow in containers
Cherry tomatoes are great for snacking and adding to salads. If you are looking for a perfect snack off the vine option for your container garden these heirloom cherry tomato varieties are perfect for growing at home.
1. Black cherry tomato
This heirloom tomato grows well in large containers. It produces 1-inch fruits with a dark purplish tone that adds a unique flair to your salads, veggie trays, and charcuterie boards.
Its unique appearance makes this cherry tomato perfect for growing on a sunny patio or deck where you entertain.
2. Gardener’s Delight
Gardener’s Delight is a great cherry tomato for your container garden. This tomato is an indeterminate Germain heirloom with many clusters of small fruits. It produces a large number of tomatoes, helping to provide you with a strong supply of bright red tomatoes with a wonderful classic flavor that can adapt to most gardening conditions.
For new gardeners that are unsure of what they can do with different soil, light, and water conditions this cherry tomato is a great option while you are learning.
3. Gold Rush Currant Tomato
This stunning yellow tomato adds a pop of color to your snack boards, salads, and other summer treats. This indeterminate fruiting plant will produce hundreds of small golden-yellow tomatoes in batches of 10 to 12 all season long.
It tends to grow a bit wild to help produce such a large crop so a quality tomato cage is important for containing this plant. Using chicken wire on stakes along the inner edge of your large container can be a great way to support and contain this cherry tomato. If grown in the full sun these can grow really tall.
4. Matt’s Wild Cherry
Like the gold rush, this cherry tomato can grow a bit wild and needs extra support to container it when growing in containers but the payoff is well worth the time and effort.
This heirloom cherry tomato produces hundreds of bright red full-flavored and deliciously sweet tomatoes perfect for snacking and salads all summer long.
5. Tumbling Tom
This cherry tomato variety is extremely compact at a max size of only 18 inches tall. Tumbling tom produces a large number of 1-inch tomatoes in a container as small as only 6 inches and even thrives in hanging baskets.
This is a Determinate that is ready to harvest in only 70 days making it a great option for growing a second crop in the same container if you start from seed a few weeks before the first has ripened.
And to learn more about growing tomatoes, read these guides next: