Last Updated: April 25, 2023
No matter where you live, you can probably grow your own tomatoes at home. Growing in containers makes it easy to get started, even for apartment or city dwellers.
However, not every tomato is created equal! If you want to be successful, you need to choose the right tomato varieties to grow in pots.
In this article, I’ll share 10 of the best tomatoes for container gardening. These varieties are all excellent candidates for growing in pots.
I tried my best to find a good range of tomato types, from small cherry tomatoes to larger slicing types. Let’s get started!
1. Fred’s Dwarf Tie Dye Tomato
Growing to a mature height of around 3 feet, Fred’s dwarf tie dye tomato is one of the best tomato varieties for container gardening. The striped fruits range from 4-6oz, making them great for slicing or sauces.
Fruits should ripen within 65-70 days after transplanting, making Fred’s tie dye perfect for shorter growing seasons. The plants tend to produce clusters of tomatoes. So, it is a good idea to use small cages or another type of strong support for the plants.
Dwarf varieties are one of the three main types of tomatoes. Dwarf plants tend to grow slowly, and produce an upright, relatively short plant. This makes dwarf tomatoes a great choice for home gardeners with limited space.
2. Celebrity Tomato
If you are looking for a classic red tomato, then the celebrity hybrid is a good option. While these aren’t small tomato plants, they are still great for growing in pots.
Celebrity tomatoes grow to about 7oz on determinate plants. This makes them great as container tomatoes, as the plants reach a mature size and set the fruits all at once.
This hybrid variety is also disease resistant, making it suitable for growth in a variety of conditions. If you’re looking for even better disease resistance, try the improved ‘celebrity plus‘ variety!
3. Orange Hat Dwarf Tomato
This tomato takes ‘dwarf’ to the next level. The orange hat dwarf tomato is sometimes referred to as a micro dwarf plant. This is because the plants only grow 6-9″ tall!
I have grown a few micro tomatoes, and they are adorable. Perfect for smaller pots, these plants have surprisingly high yield for such tiny plants. Plus, they are a great conversation starter.
Of course the orange hat is edible and tasty, producing handfuls of cherry-sized fruits. They look great in small containers, or can be used to fill in spots in the ornamental garden.
4. Sunrise Sauce
If you like roma tomatoes, then you’ll love this yellow paste variety. It is claimed that this hybrid variety has a much sweeter flavor than other comparable sauce-types.
The gorgeous yellow fruits grow to about 4-6oz on determinate plants. They also mature quickly, needing just 57 days from transplanting to harvest. This will give you an early start on preserving, sauce-making, or just enjoying your fresh tomatoes.
When it comes time to pick, most of the fruits should ripen around the same time. I love the pop of yellow color that these provide, plus they are disease resistant and delicious!
5. Veranda Red
Now this is something special – a dwarf cherry tomato plant that produces continual harvests! Normally, shorter tomato varieties are determinate, meaning all the harvest comes in a short window.
With veranda red, the plants grow to just 12-18″ tall, but produce regular crops all summer long. This combination of dwarf size and indetermiate harvests is perfect for containers.
If you are looking for one of the best varieties for patio tomatoes, you have to try the veranda red. The cherry-size is perfect for snacking, and the plants will continue to produce for you until the cold weather arrives.
6. Arctic Rose Dwarf Tomato
If you love heirloom tomatoes, then this deep pink variety might be for you. The beautiful tomatoes are very early to produce, and grow to around 6oz. Flavor is outstanding, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Arctic rose is a dwarf variety, meaning that the plants grow in an upright pattern and max out around 3.5′ tall. The plant will produce fruits throughout the season, but benefit from mid-season feeding to maximize late season harvests.
These plants can be very bountiful, so be sure to plant in a big container, at least 5 gallons. Fabric pots are cheap and have good drainage, though they do dry out quicker than plastic pots (especially in hot weather).
7. Dwarf Lemon Ice
Lemon ice is the perfect name for this pale-yellow tomato variety. Plus, this is a dwarf variety, growing to just 2-3′ tall at maturity. The fruits are a gorgeous sunshine-yellow, often with subtle streaks of green as they finish ripening.
Flavor is well-balanced, with mild sweetness and a touch of tartness. The shapes range from round to heart-shaped and oblong.
Lemon ice is part of the “dwarf tomato project,” which contains dozens of shorter varieties. This may be a great catalogue of tomatoes to browse if you are looking to grow your tomatoes strictly in containers.
8. Tiny Tim
Another micro-tomato variety, tiny tim grows to just 12″ tall! This makes it a favorite tomato among patio growers. It doesn’t require a cage or support, and produces abundantly considering its size.
These classic red cherry tomatoes are delicious and sweet. I would recommend tiny tim as an ornamental plant among your balcony garden, or even interplanted with flowers. You could even try growing these indoors in an Aerogarden or other hydroponic system!
Since tiny tim is a determinate variety, you may want to succession plant every few weeks for continual harvests. These plants take just 50 days to mature after transplanting, so you can likely fit several into your growing season.
9. Super Sweet 100
If you want a large harvest of cherry tomatoes, then consider growing super sweet 100. While these plants have the potential to grow very tall, they can be pruned and trained to remain more compact.
The benefit is that you will get huge trusses filled with deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes. The plants can become a bit mangy, but trimming excess foliage and suckers can keep them tidy.
Plus, super sweet 100 is one of my personal favorite tomato varieties (that’s saying a lot). The disease resistance, high yield potential, and burst of amazing sweet flavor make this a winner all around.
I’d recommend growing this in a larger pot, around 10 gallons, to get the most. You will definitely want a tomato cage to help keep the plants contained, and a pair of garden pruners to take off any scraggly leaves through the season.
10. Rosella Crimson Dwarf
This determinate dwarf tomato variety has a gorgeous rosy-pink color when ripe. Fruits range in size from 4-13 oz, with an average around 8oz. The flesh is meaty with just enough juiciness, making these perfect for sandwiches.
Since the fruits will ripen in a short window, rosella crimson is a great option for making homemade tomato sauce. These tomatoes are also highly resistant to cracking, even under heavy rainfall.
Since the fruits are quite heavy, these plants will benefit from having a tomato cage or another plant support in place. If you have a small space for a container plant, but still want relatively large fruits, rosella crimson is an excellent choice!
Tips For Growing In Containers
Growing tomatoes in containers is a bit different from in-ground planting. The plants can become tall and top-heavy, require more feeding, and might need more pruning to keep things tidy.
However, the benefits are that you can place them virtually anywhere, and can move them out of the way whenever necessary. Here are some top tips for growing in pots:
- Use large pots. If you want to maximize your yields, use the largest containers possible for your plants. I recommend at least 5 gallons, but 10+ gallons is ideal. Even if you are growing smaller plants, the plants can still have large root systems, taking advantage of the large soil volume.
- Grow in full sun. Though this may not be fully in your control, find the sunniest spot possible for your container tomatoes. More sun means more tomatoes (and tastier ones, too!). If you are struggling to get your plants into the sun, try using a hanging basket to extend your plants into the light.
- Fertilize plants mid-season. Tomatoes are heavy feeders. The plants will likely use up the available nutrients in your potting mix. So, when the first set of fruits begins to form, I recommend adding a tomato fertilizer. This will help the plants achieve maximum production and reduce the chances of blossom end rot!
- Grow near a water source. Container tomatoes always need more frequent watering than plants in the ground. This is because potting soil is often made of peat moss which dries more quickly than top soil. Grow bags also allow wind to dry out the soil even more quickly. So, planting near a water source can help save you time throughout the season.
- Prevent falling over. Potted plants have a tendency to fall over. This becomes more of an issue later in the season when the plants are tall and have heavy fruits. Try grouping plants together or placing bricks around the base of your containers to keep them in place.
If you take this advice, you shouldn’t have many issues with your container tomato plants.
What Are Dwarf Tomatoes?
You may have noticed several “dwarf” tomatoes listed in this article. So, what are they?
Dwarf tomatoes are one of the 3 main types of tomato plants: indeterminate, determinate, and dwarf. They tend to grow more slowly, grow upright, and usually don’t grow taller than 4′ or so.
This makes dwarf tomatoes perfect for growing in containers, as they are more compact. The word dwarf only refers to the plant’s size, not the fruits. In fact, many of the dwarf varieties are full-sized slicing tomatoes!
The range of dwarf types is vast, from yellow and red cherry types, to striped globe varieties. Read more about the dwarf tomato project here.
I hope this article helps you find the perfect tomato plants for your container garden. Growing in pots is a great way to get started, or to keep your gardening passion alive, even on a small balcony!