Don’t let the lack of outdoor space stop you from growing delicious tomatoes at home. While it may seem impossible to think of growing them in small spaces, there are actually several options available to the savvy urban gardener.
You can grow a surprising number of tomatoes in containers on a balcony or windowsill by selecting varieties that don’t require as much room to thrive. Trellises allow for space-saving growth on plants that would normally sprawl. And for those really tight on space, micro dwarf tomato varieties are an ideal option without sacrificing yield or flavour.
So don’t let limited space deter you from growing your own tasty tomatoes – with these options, the sky’s the limit (well, maybe not literally – but you get the idea). Today I’m sharing with you nine of the best tomatoes to grow in small spaces. Let’s get into it!
1. Orange Hat (micro dwarf tomato) Days to maturity: 60
Have you heard about the Orange Hat? No, it’s not a new fashion trend – it’s a unique tomato variety, one of the few available micro dwarf tomatoes. This pint-sized plant produces hundreds of tiny, ultra-sweet tomatoes that are perfect for snacking or tossing into salads.
What really sets this micro dwarf apart is its longer harvesting season and compact growth habit. Unlike some micro dwarf varieties, the Orange Hat has a vertical growth habit and doesn’t send out too many suckers, making it one of the absolute best choices for extremely small spaces.
While traditional tomato plants can take up a lot of space in the garden or on the patio, micro dwarf’s stay small and can be grown in containers as small as 6″ across. So whether you have a spot on a counter top, a small balcony, or space on a windowsill, the Orange Hat will work.
Orange Hat works best for:
- Gardeners growing tomatoes on windowsills or counter tops without much vertical or horizontal space.
2. Tiny Tim Days to maturity: 45
Plant the Tiny Tim variety of tomatoes if you’re a lover of homegrown tomatoes but have limited space. These compact plants only grow to be about 12-18 inches tall and 12 inches wide, making them perfect for containers on a small balcony or large windowsill.
Despite their diminutive size, these plants still produce an abundant crop of tasty red cherry tomatoes. The Tiny Tim tomato plant is disease resistant and easy to care for – simply give it plenty of sunshine and water, and enjoy your harvest all summer long.
Tiny Tim works best for:
- Growers with minimal space who want to maximise production.
- People who love cherry tomatoes and don’t mind harvesting them often.
3. Silvery Fir Tree Days to maturity: 54-60
The Silvery Fir Tree is the ideal container garden tomato for anyone with a small space or balcony.
While it may be small in size, this little plant packs a big punch when it comes to flavour. It’s drought-tolerant, disease resistant, and incredibly productive – with some plants yielding up to 50 tomatoes per season!
The Silvery Fir Tree tomato is a determinate (bush) variety of tomatoes, so it’s not as tiny as the micro dwarf varieties on this list. Still, this tomato is easy to grow in a container, very productive, and relatively compact.
The fruit is larger than many on this list – you’ll regularly harvest tomatoes of up to 3-4 inches across. They have a unique semi-flat shape that makes them perfect for slicing and adding to salads or sandwiches.
Silvery Fir Tree works best for:
- Gardeners in drought-prone areas (if the plant is outdoors).
- Small-space gardeners who want larger tomatoes.
- Growing in hanging baskets or 5-7 gallon containers.
4. Uluru Ochre Days to maturity: 65
This plant will involve a longer wait to harvest than most of this list, but you’ll still be getting fruits off the plant earlier than you would if you were growing a regular indeterminate tomato plant.
Uluru Ochre is part of the Dwarf Tomato Project, which is a collection of space-saving heirlooms. It’s not a micro dwarf, however, and it will need some space to grow. Dwarf Tomato Project varieties usually top out at about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall and require less work than your traditional vining and sprawling indeterminate.
This tomato regularly receives five-star reviews for taste and produces a nice amount of medium to large orange tomatoes with a hint of smokey flavour. Plant the Uluru Ochre in a 5-7 gallon pot for the best results. They don’t require pruning.
Uluru Ochre works best for:
- Gardeners with room for a tomato plant with 4-5 feet of vertical height.
- Those who want to try something new and different in terms of tomato flavour and variety.
- Growers who prefer a low-maintenance plant since this variety needs little to no pruning.
5. Clear Pink Early Days to maturity: 58
When it comes to growing tomatoes in small spaces, the Clear Pink Early variety is a great option. This determinate, compact plant produces sweet, tangy, and pink salad or slicing tomatoes.
The Clear Pink Early’s compact size is perfect for small gardens or container planting. Plus, its early ripening means you can enjoy the fruits of your labour even sooner. This variety produces an impressive amount of 3-6 oz. tomatoes, making it an efficient choice for space-conscious gardeners.
Clear Pink Early works best for:
- People who enjoy small salad tomatoes.
- Gardeners who want an early-maturing variety.
6. Tumbling Tom Days to maturity: 70
The Tumbling Tom tomato plant is a real trailblazer in the world of small-space gardening. Unlike traditional tomato plants that grow upwards, the Tumbling Tom features a cascading branch structure that spills over the edges of containers and hanging baskets.
It adds visual interest to your garden and maximises space by allowing more plants to be grown in a smaller area. Additionally, each plant bears an impressive amount of 1-2 inch cherry tomatoes without taking up too much room – expect 2-foot-long tresses of tomatoes hanging down from your planters. You can find Tumbling Tom tomatoes in red or yellow.
So if you’re looking for the perfect tomato plant for those tight spaces with room for hanging baskets, look no further than the Tumbling Tom. It’s the ultimate choice for maximising both style and productivity in your small-space garden.
Tumbling Tom works best for:
- People who love cherry tomatoes.
- Anyone with room for a hanging basket or two on their ceiling, near a window, or on their patio.
7. Red Rocket Days to maturity: 60
The Red Rocket tomato is excellent for a bountiful harvest if you have a small garden or cramped outdoor space. These smooth, round, 8-10 inch tomatoes are packed with flavor and have been known to produce up to 100 fruits per plant.
Their compact size makes them great for container gardens, and their upright growth pattern also helps save space. Plus, their disease-resistant properties mean that they require less maintenance than other varieties, and they mature earlier than most tomatoes.
Red Rocket works best for:
- Gardeners looking for a simple, familiar, red tomato variety for a small space.
- Versatile tomatoes that are great for salads, sandwiches, sauces, and canning.
- Fans of early-maturing varieties.
8. Bush Early Girl Days to maturity: 55-60
If you have limited outdoor space but still want to enjoy the homegrown taste of fresh tomatoes, the Bush Early Girl is a perfect choice. This compact plant produces an abundance of small, flavourful fruits that are ready for picking in just 50-55 days after being planted.
And, unlike other tomato varieties that require staking or supports, the Bush Early Girl’s compact growth means it can easily be grown in containers or small garden plots without sacrificing yield. Not only does this make it a great choice for urban gardeners with limited space, but it also helps to cut down on maintenance time spent staking and tying plants.
Whether grown in a container on a balcony or taking up a small corner of your backyard garden, the Bush Early Girl is the ideal option for enjoying delicious tomatoes without taking up too much space.
Bush Early Girl works well for:
- Fans of early-maturing varieties.
- Gardeners looking for a simple, familiar, red tomato variety for a small space.
- Gardeners who want low-maintenance tomato plants.
- Beginner gardeners.
9. Sun gold Days to maturity: 65
The Sun gold hybrid tomato is the perfect plant for your small garden or container space. It’s delicious and versatile, so you can use it in a variety of dishes.
Sun gold is one of the most popular cherry tomatoes for gardeners around the world because of its taste and how easy it is to grow. It boasts high disease resistance and requires little care and maintenance.
Vertical growing is the best way to grow Sun golds, so be sure to give them some support. Sun golds are indeterminate tomatoes, so they will get quite tall but can be horizontally compact and fit indoors or on a balcony without much effort.
Sun gold works best for:
- Gardeners with ample vertical space.
- People who enjoy sweet and fruity cherry tomatoes.
- Gardeners who want an indeterminate variety that will produce all season long.
How to grow tomatoes in small spaces
Many people think that you need a lot of space to grow tomatoes, but that’s not the case. With a little bit of know-how, you can easily grow tomatoes indoors or on a balcony. Keep reading to learn how.
Choosing the right tomato plant
The first step in growing tomatoes in small spaces is to choose the right tomato plant. There are many varieties of tomatoes, and some are better suited for small spaces than others.
For example, determinate tomatoes are a good option for small spaces because they don’t require as much pruning and training as indeterminate varieties. Determinate tomatoes are a good choice if you’re growing tomatoes indoors because they’re less likely to outgrow their pot or become leggy from a lack of sunlight.
Start with seeds or seedlings
Once you’ve chosen your tomato plant, it’s time to start. To grow tomato plants from seed, begin 6-8 weeks before your last frost date in the springtime. Plant the seed in well-draining soil in seed trays or a small, 2-3 inch pot. Water the seeds regularly, and you should see seedlings appear within a week.
Once your tomato seedlings emerge, set them on a sunny windowsill and continue watering regularly. When your tomato seedlings are 3-5 inches tall and have established strong roots, you can pot them up into their final container size.
Carefully remove the seedlings from their containers without damaging the roots and trim off the bottom leaves. Bury most of the stem when transplanting your tomatoes, leaving the top 2-3 leaves above the soil surface. Once your plant is in its final pot, water it well and place it in a sunny spot. Fertilise your plants regularly. Once per week is a good rule of thumb, but adjust your fertilisation schedule as needed.
If you’re growing tomatoes on a balcony, you’ll need to make sure your pots have drainage holes and are large enough to support the roots of your plant. You’ll also need to water your plants more frequently than if you were growing them indoors since they will dry out more quickly in the hot sun and wind.
Pests and diseases
One of the challenges of growing anything in small spaces is that pests and diseases can spread quickly and be difficult to control. However, there are some things you can do to help prevent problems before they start.
- First, make sure to clean up any fallen leaves or fruit from around your plants so that pests don’t have a place to hide.
- Second, avoid overhead watering so that the leaves of your plant don’t stay wet for long periods of time (this can lead to fungal diseases).
- Finally, check your plants regularly for signs of pests or disease and take action immediately if you see anything unusual.
FAQ about growing tomatoes in small spaces
What is the best way to grow tomatoes in small spaces?
The best way to grow tomatoes in small spaces is by using a hanging basket or trellis. Vertical growing will allow the plant to grow up rather than out, saving valuable ground space. Microdwarf tomatoes, however, don’t need that kind of support and can be grown in a small pot.
What are the best varieties of tomatoes for small spaces?
Some of the best varieties of tomatoes for small spaces include Tumbling Tom, Red Rocket, and Bush Early Girl. These varieties are compact and produce an abundance of fruits.
How often should I water my tomato plants?
Tomato plants should be watered about once a week or when the soil is dry to the touch. Be sure to avoid over-watering, as this can lead to problems such as root rot.
What are the best fertilisers for tomatoes?
The best fertilisers for tomatoes include compost, fish emulsion, and seaweed fertiliser. These organic materials will provide the nutrients that your plants need to produce healthy fruits.
When is the best time to harvest my tomatoes?
The best time to harvest your tomatoes depends on your variety. Early varieties can be harvested in 50-55 days, while later varieties may take up to 80 days. Carefully pull the ripe fruits from the plant, taking care not to damage the stem of the plant.
With so many delicious varieties to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect tomato plant for your small space. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown tomatoes all season long.