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Patio Tomatoes: Grow Delicious Tomatoes in Pots

Updated on January 22, 2013

Growing Patio Tomatoes

If you are thinking about growing patio tomatoes, you must check out the varieties on this page. They represent some of the best tasting and properly-sized tomatoes that you can plant in a pot on the patio.

There are many reasons to grow delicious tomatoes on the patio or deck. One is to save space, and for some the patio is the only place available for growing a tomato.

Another reason is that it's convenient to step outside and harvest fresh home-grown tomatoes without heading to the garden.

Finally, you can control every single contributor to your crop, from water to soil to location in the sun as the seasons and sun angle change.

To get the most out of growing patio tomatoes, check out the suggestions here and get planting.

Great Tomato Varieties for Containers

Here are some great picks for planting tomatoes in containers. All are determinate, meaning they will not grow completely out of control, and all are heirlooms, which makes them big on taste. If you have room for only one tomato in a pot, you can't go wrong with these top picks. You won't find them at the local nursery, but seeds are easy to find online, so take a shot a growing tomatoes from seed fill your tomato containers with delicious tomatoes the inexpensive way.

Black Sea Man

This is a fantastic black Russian tomato variety that has deep red color on the bottom and green to purple color on the top. They are not only pretty, they taste great! Black Sea Man tomatoes have potato leaves and fruit up to one full pound each, making them a great slicer, but the best part is the taste. These awesome patio tomatoes have classic tomato flavor with a spicy taste that is sure to please.


If you like cherry tomatoes and want plants simply loaded with them in a pot, start by looking carefully at Sprite. These little wonders are slightly oblong and have rich, red color. The tomatoes arrive early and keep producing until the season is over. Sprite tomatoes are perfect for eating in a salad or enjoying right off the vine. They are thin-skinned but firm and have a sweet flavor that will compliment any dish they are served with.


Fargo tomatoes are not exactly cherry tomatoes but are a bit larger at 2 inches or more. They are bright yellow and offer delicious fruit for eating alone or slicing, chopping, or cutting in half and tossing into a salad. For fans of the yellow pear tomato which is extremely popular, Fargo is a better choice to the container, since it grows on a much more compact plant. The quality of the fruit, however, is right in the same ballpark.

Rutgers Improved

For a classic red tomato in a pot, you will find it hard to beat the Rutgers Improved variety. This tomato was originally bred by the Campbell Soup Company but later worked on by Rutgers University to offer better disease resistance. The fruit is around a half pound and has a very attractive round shape. Rutgers is a great choice for canning and has a wonderful flavor canned or eaten fresh.

Sophie's Choice

If you growing season is short, Sophie's Choice may be the answer. This heirloom tomato ripens very early, making it attractive to growers in the north. It only stands around 2 feet tall, but produces a large number of big 8 ounce, or bigger, tomatoes. The flavor is a rich and classic taste and color is light red on the skin with darker color inside the fruit. If you need to get from seed to fruit quickly, Sophie's Choice is a great selection.

Containers for Patio Tomatoes

One decision as important as which variety you grow is which container you grown them in. There are countless choice out there, but here are a few ideas to help you get the most from your potted tomato plants.

Container Size

When growing tomato plants, even determinate ones, you need plenty of soil depth and plenty of space. For this reason, you should grow your plants in a pot that has a minimum top opening of 16 inches, though that is small. 20 inches or more is even better, and don't skimp on the height either. A taller pot will give the plant's roots further to go for water and nutrients.

Types of Tomato Containers

Plastic pots have the advantage of being light and easy to carry and store over the winter, but that same light weight makes them easy to tip in a windstorm, so you must help by weighing them down. Plastic pots are a fine choice for tomatoes since they are easy to find in the big sizes needed to support the plans at a reasonable price.

Terracotta pots are OK, but they get hot in the sun and will crack in winter if they are not brought in. Attractive because they are inexpensive, these traditional favorites look good and go with nearly any d├ęcor. If you don't mind the fact that they are breakable, go ahead and go with it.

Self-watering pots are the best choice for growing beautiful container tomatoes. This is because you need to have a consistent water supply to get the most from your plants, and that is decidedly more difficult in a pot than when tomatoes are planted in the ground. Self-watering pots help make the job a whole lot easier by supplying a slow and steady supply of water to the roots of your plant over a prolonged time. You will find that instead of watering the pot every day, you can water only every few days or longer, which reduces your burden. Also, tomato plants don't really like to be watered on the leaves, and self-watering pots keep the foliage dry while getting water right to where the plant needs it most.

Best Soil for Container Tomatoes

When you fill your tomato patio container, make sure to use quality soil. Tomatoes need a soil that will not get too compact, yet one that holds water so they won't dry out too quickly.

Any reputable potting mix is a fine choice, but adding ingredients like peat will help to retain some water while light material like vermiculite will keep the soil light and accepting of new roots.

Since tomato plants get top heavy, be sure to weight down the bottom of the pot before adding the soil. A field of rocks on the bottom will do the trick.

Get Your Patio Garden Started

There's no reason to let a lack of garden space prevent you from enjoying fresh, healthy home-grown tomatoes.

With a productive determinate tomato variety, a sizable self-watering pot, the right soil mix, and a bit of love and attention, you will have an abundance of fruit growing right by the door.

Make this the year that you try your hand at growing tomatoes in a pot. You'll be surprised at how much fun it is and how awesome a simple determinate heirloom can taste when eaten fresh right off the vine.

You can grow delicious tomatoes in pots. It's time to grow a few patio tomatoes now and see for yourself.

Got any advice for growing great patio tomatoes? Please share it!

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    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Nice inspiring hub, I am not really into gardening, but after reading this, I like to give it a try... Patio tomatoes, sound very interesting!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I am so happy I found this! Great article..

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You have very good tips here and i like your description of a Patio Garden . Voted useful and shared with my followers

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Thank you! This will be a great help. Voted up.