There are two types of plant growth for tomatoes in bags, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate types produce a compact, bushy plant, while indeterminate varieties continue to grow until frost. Smaller tomato plants such as cherry can be either determinate or indeterminate. Choose the variety that best suits the garden conditions where you will place the tomato bag. Tomatoes may be grown in black plastic bags, rice bags or burlap bags. Cut drainage holes in the bottom of the bag and fill it with good rich compost or potting soil from the garden center. Place the bag in an area that gets six to eight hours of sun per day.
Indeterminate tomato vines can reach up to 8 to 10 feet in height and may need to be pruned to produce large fruit. Pinch out the suckers that grow in the "U" between the main branch and the stem. Remove all but two main growing stems to contain excessive horizontal growth. Indeterminate varieties such as 'Brandywine' and 'Legend Red Slicing' grow best when staked or in a tomato cage. Other indeterminate variety tomatoes to grow in a bag include 'Stupice,' 'German Queen' and the dark purplish tomato called 'Black Krim.' Heirloom tomatoes such as these have at least 50 years of nonhybridization and have a story of origin. The popular 'Brandywine' comes from a Pennsylvania Amish community, and 'Stupice' is from Czechoslovakia.
Determinate tomato varieties reach a predetermined height or number of fruit clusters and do not grow beyond it. They are genetically modified to grow in this pattern. 'Celebrity' is a well-known determinate variety that has medium-sized, bright-red flavorful fruit. 'Siberia' is small to medium-sized with green at the stem.Tomato plants such as these grow very well in bags and may not need to be staked. They also flower, set fruit and ripen in a short time. 'Basketvee' has thick red flesh and is pointed on the bottom. It comes to harvest in 70 days. 'Banana Legs' is an unusual determinate variety tomato that does well when grown in a bag. It has 4-inch-long, yellow, banana-shaped fruit and can be harvested in 75 days.
Cherry tomatoes that do well when grown in a bag include the familiar 'Cherry Belle' and 'Fox Cherry Tomato.' The cherry tomato is an indeterminate variety but can be pruned to do well. It is very prolific and comes to harvest in 80 to 90 days. 'Thai Pink Cherry' has oval-shaped, pinkish red fruit. 'Patio Princess' is a determinate variety tomato that grows to 2 feet in height but has 2 1/2-inch tomatoes. This tomato can be grown in a shorter bag such as a plastic kitchen trash bag. 'Black Pearl' has small reddish-black fruit on an indeterminate vine. When this tomato is chilled, it is said to have a Concord grape flavor. Cherry tomatoes grown in a bag need more frequent watering than garden tomatoes. Check the moisture level by touch, and water when no soil sticks to your finger.