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6 Steps for Growing Tomatoes Vertically

6 Steps for Growing Tomatoes Vertically

One of the most exciting trends in gardening worldwide is vertical gardening, particularly for those who have limited or no horizontal space.

Not only do vertical gardens beautify a boring fence or wall; some vegetables and fruit – including the smaller tomato varieties – do well and provide urban dwellers with the opportunity to grow their own food. Yes, they are a relatively high maintenance plant, but when you savour the taste of home grown tomatoes – the effort is well worth it.

Here’s 6 important steps for growing tomatoes “vertically”.

STEP 1 – Choose a sunny location

Tomatoes require at least 6 hours of sun, so choose a warm location like a sunny balcony or a wall which receives plenty of sunlight. As many small urban spaces are often overshadowed by surrounding buildings, the first thing you need to check is that you have enough sun.

Grow tomatoes in a hanging pot or wall mounted pocket

STEP 2 – Choose containers

The basic rule of thumb is the larger the pot, the larger the tomato variety you can plant. If you’re going to planting a cherry tomato variety, you can use smaller hanging pots, window boxes or fabric pockets for a vertical wall mounted structure. If the container does not have drainage holes, drill small holes on the bottom of the container before filling it with soil.

To help satiate the tomato’s desire for food and water, it’s best to grow all but the smallest varieties in decent sized pots – 10 litres or more. A container with a water reservoir is a good investment for tomatoes. It makes watering easier and you’ll get higher yields.

STEP 3 – Install a vertical support system

If you’re growing up, then you’ll need to train your tomato vine up a sturdy trellis, tripod, pyramid, wire cages, ladder or even an arbor. Place the support system in your garden or on your patio before planting vegetables. This prevents you from damaging plants.

If you’re growing down (using hanging baskets) then you won’t need a vertical support structure. But do choose the largest basket you can find.

STEP 4 – Chooses the right variety

If you live in an environment that doesn’t have a long hot summer that lasts around 3 months, look out for “early ripening” varieties, as these ripen faster.

For hanging basket or pockets, choose a dwarf bush variety like the Tatura Dwarf, Tumbling Tom Hybrid or Small Fry varieties.

For upward growth, choose any of the thousands of vining varieties. You just need to ensure they are well supported, because the stems can easily snap from the weight of the fruit if they’re not properly supported. Top cherry vining tomatoes varieties for pots include Black Cherry, Gardeners Delight, Sungold, and Blondkopfchen. Grow all four and you’ll have an amazing mix of yellow, red and black tomatoes that will look beautiful together in any bowl.

STEP 5 – Provide a Nourishing environment

Tomatoes need rich soil and lots of food and water. Tomatoes are best grown in a really good quality multipurpose or potting compost, and add worm compost if available.. If you have a wormery, mix in 10-15% worm compost to add nutrients and soil life.

In hanging baskets, line the inside of the basket with plastic with holes for drainage, and cover the top with mulch to reduce evaporation.

Add a nitrogen high slow release fertiliser to the potting mix during planting. At the flowering stage you need to step up the feeding by using a suitable liquid fertiliser.

STEP 6 – Water Often

Tomatoes need regular watering, particularly when grown in pots.

  • Uneven watering will cause the fruit to split.
  • Total lack of water will make the plant curl up and die pretty quickly.
  • Too much water could result in fungal disease, so it’s very important to get the balance right.

If you’re going to be away and unable to water your plants for a day or so, you can try inserting an upturned plastic bottle, with a hole drilled in the lid and the bottom cut off. Fill this up and the water will gently drip into the pot during the day.


Just do it! Get your vertical garden organised now, follow these steps and before too long you could have beautiful tasty tomatoes waiting to be picked.