How to Take Care of Patio Tomato Plants


Many tomato varieties can be grown successfully in containers on a patio or balcony. Container grown tomatoes require different care than those planted in a garden. While any tomato plant will grow in a container, dwarf or patio varieties remain smaller, requiring less support. Whether you lack garden space or want to add a splash of green to a patio, tomatoes can be grown in containers with just a bit of care.

Step 1

Place the tomato plants in a location that gets six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Give the tomato plants supplementary light by placing a cool white florescent light and a warm white florescent light 3 to 6 inches from the tops of the plants for up to 18 hours per day.

Step 2

Water the tomato plants every other day until water drips from the bottom of the container. Poke a finger 1 inch into the soil. Hold off on watering for another day if the soil is wet. Add water if it is lightly moist or dry.

Step 3

Dilute with water a liquid fertilizer for vegetables at 25 percent of the strength recommended on the package. Apply it to the tomatoes every one to two weeks. Apply the mixture directly to the soil. Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves.

Step 4

Inspect the tomato plants for bugs if the containers are outdoors. Remove any aphids, worms or other pests by hand. Spray the tomatoes with water infused with two to three cloves of smashed garlic to discourage future invasions.

Step 5

Help to pollinate the tomato plants by shaking them gently after their flowers have opened. Alternately, brush the insides of the flowers with a small paintbrush. This is especially important if the tomatoes are indoors or on a high balcony away from pollinators.

Things You'll Need

  • Florescent lights
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Spray bottle
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic


  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
  • The National Gardening Association: Container Tomatoes
Keywords: patio tomato care, growing patio tomatoes, container tomato care

About this Author

Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other Web sites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.