How to Grow One Tomato Plant Inside

Overview

If you would like to try your hand at growing tomatoes, but don't have the inclination to start a garden, or if you already love gardening but want to enjoy the taste of homegrown tomatoes all winter long, try growing a tomato plant inside. Since you will be growing only one plant, it's practical to purchase your plant at a local nursery or garden store. While you can grow any tomato plant inside, the tomato types that are ideal for container growing are cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes or any other dwarf type of tomato plant.

Step 1

Choose a healthy tomato seedling at your local nursery or garden center. If it is late in the season and there are no longer tomato seedlings available, you will have to start your own from seeds. To do this, put two tomato seeds in a moist peat pellet. Keep in a warm location until the seeds germinate, and then move the pellet to a sunny window. When the seedlings are three inches tall, cut back the weaker looking one and keep the stronger one.

Step 2

Make sure you have an adequate location for your indoor tomato plant. Tomatoes need six to eight hours of good sunlight, so you will need a grow room, or a sliding glass door or large window with good sun exposure, such as the southwestern side of your house provides. If you are growing your plant during fall and winter when the day length is shorter, you will need to be able to move your plant from one sunny side of your house to the other as the daylight moves from east to west. Another option is to install grow lights that can hang down from hooks on the ceiling, available at your local garden center.

Step 3

Select a container for your tomato plant. One that is the size of a 5 gallon pail is ideal. You can purchase large pots for tomato plants, or you can find a container and make your own. Your container needs to have adequate drainage, so if you are making your own you can drill several 1/4 inch holes in the bottom and line the bottom with screening or nylon stocking to prevent dirt from falling out through the bottom. For added drainage, add a 1 inch layer of crushed stone or gravel to the bottom of the container.

Step 4

Fill the container with a commercial potting soil mix. Carefully remove your tomato plant from its current pot and insert it into the container up to its bottom set of leaves.

Step 5

Insert a plant stake about three inches out from the tomato plant's stalk. When the plant grows taller, you may need to tie it to the stake for support. Old nylons work well for this, as they don't dig into the stalk as string or wire will.

Step 6

Once a week use a small amount of a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer on your tomato plant when watering. You can use a commercial fertilizer and dilute it to half the normal strength. The National Gardening Association reports that tomatoes prefer regular, light fertilizing to irregular heavy doses of fertilizer.

Step 7

Keep the plant watered well, so that the soil is moist but never soggy. Place the plant in its sunny location and let nature take its course. Within a short time you will be enjoying the taste of homegrown tomatoes, and you won't even have to go outside to pick them.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your planter does not have adequate drainage, your tomato plant's roots may rot in the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato plant
  • Container
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screening or coarse gravel
  • Old nylon stockings
  • Commercial potting soil
  • Plant stake
  • Fertilizer

References

  • National Gardening Association: Container Tomatoes
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
Keywords: container tomatoes, growing tomato plant, container tomato plant

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.