Like all tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.), grape tomatoes prefer fertile, well- drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. These miniature tomatoes are similar to cherry tomatoes, but typically produce small oval fruits in clusters of up to 30 tomatoes. When provided with eight or more hours of sunlight a day, they can be grown in pots or containers, provided they have enough room for the roots to grow. Choosing the proper pot for your grape tomatoes is important to healthy growth.
Give Roots Room
Grape tomatoes require pots or containers with a depth of at least 12 inches. This allows their extensive root system to grow downward and provide support for the growing plant. If planted in shallower containers, the roots grow close to the surface, and cannot secure the plant when wind and weather challenge it. Shallow roots also dry quickly when the surface soil dries, requiring frequent watering and causing stress to your plants.
Soil Capacity is Important
Grape tomatoes require at least 2 gallons of soil for healthy growth. This allows the roots room to grow and branch out, and holds adequate stores of water and nutrients. Growing them in less soil poses the risk of nutrient deficiencies and makes plant care more time consuming, as they must be watered and fertilized frequently. Like the depth of the container, the volume of soil also helps secure the plant, and protect it from wind or storm damage.
Traditional Hanging Pots
Many choose to grow grape tomatoes in hanging pots to show off the brightly colored tomatoes. If you choose this method, choose a plant pot that is at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter and pay attention to the pot depth. While a 10- to 12-inch pot will hold 2 to 3 gallons of soil, some pots are shallower than others. If your pot is less than 12 inches deep, choosing one with a larger overall capacity may compensate for the lack of depth.
More Than a Pretty Pot
When choosing pots and containers for growing plants, look for pots with wide bottoms, and straight or lightly tapered sides. This shape is the most stable and resists toppling in the wind. While slender, tapered pots may look amazing, they are not practical when it comes to garden vegetables. Keep in mind that the 12-inch depth and 2-gallon capacity recommended for growing grape tomatoes are minimum requirements. They can, of course, be grown in larger containers and may benefit from the added room for root growth.
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