How to Care for an Indoor Tomato Plant

Overview

If you have little or no room outdoors for a garden, you can still grow tomato plants inside. While the plants may not be as productive as outdoor plants, they will still supply fresh tomatoes for use in your kitchen. Certain varieties of tomatoes are more likely to grow well indoors, including most varieties marketed toward container gardening as well as dwarf tomato types. Growing tomatoes indoors takes special care to ensure the plants receive all they need to thrive.

Step 1

Plant tomato plants into containers that have pre-drilled drainage holes in the bottom. Use a soil-less potting mix as these offer excellent drainage and also are sterile, which helps to avoid disease problems.

Step 2

Keep the plant in a room 75 degrees F or warmer. Avoid placing the plant where it touches frozen windows or in an area prone to drafts.

Step 3

Set the tomato plant in a sunny window where it will receive eight or more hours of direct sunlight. Rotate the plant every day so all sides of the tomato receive equal amounts of light. In winter or if you don't have a well-lit window, set the tomato plant under grow lights so the light is 6 inches above the top of the plant. Leave the lights on for 12 to 14 hours a day.

Step 4

Stick your finger into the top of the potting soil to check moisture. Water when the top 1 inch begins to feel dry. Add water until it begins draining from the bottom drainage holes. Empty the drip tray after watering.

Step 5

Fertilize plants every two weeks with a soluble general-purpose fertilizer. Follow label instructions for exact application amount and method.

Step 6

Tap the stem of the tomato plant when the blossoms are open. This encourages pollination and fruit set, since there are no insects inside to handle pollination.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are growing a taller tomato variety, you must stake the plant to offer support or the stem may break or collapse under the weight of the fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Grow lights
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
  • Colorado State University Extension: Grow Your Own Tomatoes Inside This Winter
Keywords: growing tomatoes indoors, container gardening, tomato plant care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.