How to Stake Tomato Plants


Whether you grow a hearty supply of beefsteak tomatoes or a lush harvest of saucy roma tomatoes, there are many factors that affect the taste, size and health of the tomato plants. As the plants grow and the fruit ripens, the stems will sag and become susceptible to damage from insects, diseases and the weather when left unsupported. If your gardening budget or space is limited, and tomato cages are not an option, using stakes to support tomato plants of any variety, will ensure a healthy and bountiful harvest of your favorite tomato.

Step 1

Stake tomato plants at the same time as planting the seedlings or starter plants into the ground. This will ensure that the stake is not driven through the root structure of the plant.

Step 2

Place the stake at least 3 to 5 inches from the base of the tomato plant and drive it far enough into the ground that it will not rock back and forth easily.

Step 3

Tie string or old pantyhose around the stake, then loosely pull it over the tomato plant. Do not tie directly below a cluster of fruit as the weight hanging over the tie may cause the cluster to separate from the plant. Continue to tie the plant to the stake, in the same manner, as it grows taller.

Step 4

Prune off all but the main cluster, stem and two stronger suckers (branches that grow out of the stem). Each time you tie new growth to the stake, prune off new suckers to allow existing fruits to reach their full potential.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not tighten the tomato plant directly against the stake. This can cause the string to cut through the stem and damage the plant. Avoid using treated wood as the chemicals can leach into the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato plants
  • Metal or wood stakes (4 to 6 feet long)
  • String or old pantyhose


  • Mississippi State University Extension Service: Staking and Training Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • Gardeners Supply Company: Bamboo Stakes & Poles
Keywords: fruit clusters, support for tomato plant, wood or metal stakes

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.