Ask a Question forum: Grape Tomatoes for Containers

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Aug 20, 2016 6:43 AM CST
Recommendation for a good grape tomato for a container. I was sold 2 plants that were supposed to be container plants but they are now at least 6 feet tall and they are very hard to support due to the container that is too small. Help!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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Aug 20, 2016 8:49 AM CST
Yeah, that's the problem with most of the small-fruited and cherry types of tomatoes. They are what are known as "indeterminate" which just means that they will keep on growing and producing as long as the weather holds or as long as you can grow them. (take them into a greenhouse, you can keep them producing all winter with enough warmth and light)

The type of tomato that stays smaller is known as "determinate" but the problem with this type is that after it stops growing at a nice height for a container plant it then sets fruit and it all ripens at once, then there's no more. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to produce as long as the weather is favorable.

I think your solution is to grow your favorite type of grape tomato, and pinch or prune the plant once it gets close to the biggest size you can handle. If you want a 3ft plant, start when they're 2ft. tall to pinch off the growing tips of the branches. This will make the plant smaller and more bushy, less like a vine and more like a bush. It might delay the first setting of fruit, though as well. Btw a 5gal. container is about the smallest you should use for any tomato. They do get top-heavy!

Tomatoes naturally grow as vines, and they can get huge. They also can sprawl and hang, so another solution if you have the option is to hang the container up and let the plant sprawl downwards. Or, say if you have a deck or balcony with a railing, grow the plant out over the railing and let it cascade. Might be a challenge to pick the fruit, but it will look pretty.

As far as your 6ft. plants right now, you can try pruning, but it might take a while to set more blossoms, and we're getting down to shorter days here. Maybe just pot it up into something large and keep it going for now?

If you would complete your profile, with your location it will help us to help you in future. City/state/country is needed, just a zone doesn't help much because it only tells us how cold you get in the average winter. We need to know more about your growing conditions in the growing season.

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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Aug 20, 2016 8:59 PM CST
Doesn't help much now but next time you might consider Patio Tomato. Its not a cherry or grape type but the tomatoes are small. About golf ball size and the plant stays small. Maybe 3 feet tops.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Aug 20, 2016 9:08 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @bjstulpin !

I was also going to suggest something like "Patio," or "Tumbling Tom," although neither is actually a "grape tomato."

Don't be tempted to grow "Mexico Midget" -- my plant is at least 8 feet tall right now, the name obviously does NOT refer to the plant height!! (the tomatoes are small and tasty, though)
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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Aug 21, 2016 4:25 PM CST
We have been growing Sweetie cherry tomatoes for several years in half barrel containers and they do very nicely. They get about 3 ft tall in those containers and produce lots of small, very tasty tomatoes. But we are in one of the northern, shorter growing season zones so maybe that's why ours don't get so huge. We also have a nice Early Girl growing in one of those same half barrels and it's also producing nicely without getting massive, so maybe it is just our weather and growing season.
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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Aug 21, 2016 5:49 PM CST
Husker red cherry tomatoes do well in containers staying 3 to 4 feet tall. For standard tomatoes Celebrity have done the best, I think they are better tasting then patio.

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