Choosing the best varieties and how to optimise for hanging basket tomatoes
How many tomato plants can I put in a hanging basket?
This is a question that is asked regularly and the answer is one, two, three or at the most four, depending upon a number of circumstances.
Every variety is different and has its own peculiarities and space requirements.
A small upright dwarf variety such as Balconi Red/Yellow, Pot Minibel, Sweet ‘n’ Neat, Tiny Tim or Vilma will take up the least amount of space both below and above the soil.
A trailing Variety such as Tumbling Tom Red/Yellow, Tumbler F1 or Hundreds and Thousands will need more room below the soil and very importantly – will need a lot more water when temperatures are high.
The Size of Hanging Basket
The bigger the better and it is quite common now to see them with a reservoir compartment to hold more water.
The thing to remember is …
the more plants you have in a hanging basket, the more often you’ll need to water it!
How Much Water Can It Hold?
Soil dries out very quickly on a warm day, especially in a container with a wide surface area and shallow depth of soil. It may need watering three times a day on a hot day in the middle of summer.
Furthermore, if the root area is crowded, plants won’t grow to their full potential and tomatoes may be fewer and smaller in size.
The Topsy Turvy Planter is similar to a hanging basket but there is less surface room so I would recommend to grow only one plant per planter, and also the soil capacity is usually less than the amount a medium size hanging basket can hold.
An Ideal Example of Hanging Basket Tomatoes
Just as when choosing flowers for a hanging basket, upright and trailing, the same can be done for tomatoes.
An upright dwarf variety such as Balconi Red at the back and one or two tumbler trailing tomato varieties at the front.
A good choice would be Tumbling Tom.
The sum up – I would plant one or two trailing varieties in a hanging basket at the front, and perhaps an upright dwarf variety at the back.
Tips for Optimising a Hanging Basket
The biggest issue is, because of the limited amount of soil, hanging baskets dry out quickly.
- Add perlite,vermiculte and water retaining gel crystals to help retain moisture
- Line the basket with newspaper or capillary matting
- Choose a potting compost especially for containers
An automatic watering system is relatively inexpensive and may be worth considering – you will need a watering kit and timer attached to an outside tap.
The wweight of a hanging basket can be considerable when filled with wet compost and lots of tomatoes, so make sure that the bracket the basket is hanging from, is firmly attached.
The visual appearance of hanging basket tomatoes trailing over the side is a sight to behold and would make a great feature this summer!
Watering kits are available here and ideal for hanging basket tomatoes.