What is the best tomato plant to grow in an apartment?
Few things beat the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato. Sure, you can get one from your local farmer’s market or from a generous neighbor that likes to share their bounty. However, if you want to give tomato-growing a try but lack the outdoor space, you are in luck—it’s possible to grow tomatoes indoors. Here’s a step-by-step guide on growing tomatoes inside.
Why Grow Tomatoes Indoors?
Some individuals are unable to grow tomatoes outdoors for a variety of reasons, including a lack of outside space. “In Britain, many people choose to grow their tomatoes in greenhouses, polytunnels, or inside the house because it’s warmer and protects the plants from getting blight, a fungal disease,” explains Tanya Anderson, author of A Woman’s Garden and founder of Lovely Greens. Many folks in colder climates with short seasons feel the same way. Tomatoes may take 50 to 80 days from seed to harvest, depending on the variety. “Growing a container or two of cherry tomatoes in the conservatory or covered porch is almost a tradition, but they also perform nicely next to a sunny window,” Anderson explains. Nevertheless, don’t anticipate a large crop. “I’d consider it simply for pleasure, not for a lot of food,” says Melissa Will, creator of Empress of Dirt. Will, on the other hand, claims that growing tomatoes inside is enjoyable.
Best Tomato Varieties to Grow Indoors
Before you go out and purchase pots or soil, you should learn about the finest tomato type to grow indoors. Certain cultivars are more adapted to container gardening than others. Also, your available space will influence the variety you choose. Lastly, the bigger the tomato, the larger the pot in which to cultivate it. A 12 to 18-inch deep pot should be sufficient for most varieties, but refer to the growing information on the plant variety you pick.
Stick growing cherry tomatoes or dwarf kinds if you have limited space. “Indeterminate cherry tomatoes, like my favorite Gardener’s Delight, as well as smaller types intended for outdoor pots, like Tom Thumb,” Anderson explains. Indeterminate cultivars, on the other hand, need assistance as they develop. If you don’t want tomato cages in your home, Will has a clever solution to keep your vining indoor tomatoes in control. “I supported mine with Command hooks and rope since it suddenly expanded over a huge window,” she adds. Determinate tomatoes, according to Anderson, are especially well-suited to growing in pots since they don’t need staking or support due to their bushing growth pattern.
How Much Sunlight Indoor Tomatoes Need
Tomatoes need at least six hours of light each day to develop fruit, but eight or more hours will provide the greatest results. Unfortunately, the quantity and quality of light are the biggest hurdles in growing tomatoes or any sun-loving plant indoors. Place the potted tomatoes next to a big south-facing window for the greatest results. Rotate the pots on a regular basis to ensure that the plants develop evenly and do not tilt toward the light. If you don’t have a south-facing window, you’ll have to make do with artificial light. Tomatoes grown with artificial light need at least 16 hours of light every day. If you use a combination of artificial and natural light, you will have to observe how your plant behaves and adjust the amount of artificial light it receives accordingly.
The Best Soil and Watering Schedule
“Tomatoes in containers need frequent watering, especially as the plants mature and begin producing fruit,” says Anderson. While potted plants need more water on average, tomatoes dislike ‘wet feet,’ so proper drainage is critical. Choose a planting medium with sufficient drainage and a container with a drainage hole. Tomatoes thrive in organic-rich, loose, somewhat acidic soil. The majority of all-purpose organic container mixes will suffice.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity
Tomatoes are a warm-weather plant. Most houses, thankfully, have temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants also thrive under ordinary humidity. As long as your potted tomatoes are getting the right amount of light and water, the temperature and humidity in your home should not be an issue. However, keep the plants away from air vents, so it is not exposed to hot or cold drafts.
Feeding and Pollinating Indoor Tomato Plants
“Feed the plants as though they were growing outside,” Anderson advises. Tomatoes are strong feeders that need fertilizer unless your potting mix has time-release fertilizer or other nutrients. You typically fertilize at planting time, then again when the plants start to set fruit, and then every couple weeks until the end of the harvest period.
One disadvantage of growing tomatoes inside is that pollinators have little to no access. “You may also need to hand-pollinate flowers to get fruit unless the plants are growing someplace that’s open at least part of the time for insects to find their way in,” says Anderson. Hand pollination is the manual transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part). There will be no fruit if pollination does not occur.
Maintenance and Pests
Indoor tomato plants need the same care as outside ones. Suckers, or little shoots that grow from the junction of a tomato plant’s stem and branch, should be checked regularly, and vining stems should be tied off as required. Check for bugs on a regular basis. Your indoor tomato plants may not be subject to popular outdoor pests such as hornworms or whiteflies, but you will almost certainly encounter fungus gnats, as with many other indoor plants. While these bugs are bothersome, they are not harmful. “You may stop these bothersome little flies by mulching the top of the potting mix with an inch of horticultural grit,” Anderson says. “This prevents adult flies from laying eggs and freshly born flies from escaping.” Nevertheless, examine for other indoor pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and so on on a regular basis and treat them with a natural pesticide.
What type of tomato grows best indoors?
Choose smaller kinds – plum and cherry tomatoes are your best option for speedy ripening. Vining plants (“indeterminates”) are ideal for the indoors, though they take up more space than bush plants (“determinates”).
How can I grow tomatoes if I live in an apartment?
How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors
- Plant the seeds. …
- Wait for the seeds to sprout. …
- After approximately a month, split the seedlings and put them into the bigger container.
- Water them every several days or if the soil becomes dry.
- Plant pegs should be placed in the pots to support the vines as they develop.
- Harvest the tomatoes before they’re ripe.
What is the easiest tomato plant to grow?
Cherry tomatoes are the simplest tomatoes to cultivate for novices. They produce crop after crop and have very few problems!
Can I grow tomatoes indoors all year round?
Absolutely. They do, however, have certain unique needs. The biggest disadvantage of this technique of overwintering is that indoor tomato plants need a lot of sunshine. Yes, you can put the pots on a bright windowsill, but even in the brightest window, in most cases they will survive the winter with just a few scraggly leaves.