How to Plant Tomatoes in the Desert


Although Arizona is known as a desert region, it may surprise some people that vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish in this environment. The key is to plant the produce during the correct growing seasons for the environment. Tomatoes have specific varieties for hotter or more arid climates, and with some preparation and care, they can flourish in Arizona.

Step 1

Purchase healthy starter tomato plants from a nursery. Choose a tomato variety that will grow well in the desert climate. Ideal varieties include Early Wonders or Early Girl. This is because they have shorter gestational times than other varieties. This means they will fruit more quickly.

Step 2

Plant your tomatoes from February to the end of March. Plant again in August for a fall crop.

Step 3

Choose a planting spot for your tomato in a pot or in the ground where there is partial shade.

Step 4

Dig a hole with the shovel just larger than the root ball of the tomato plant. Put the plant in the hole.

Step 5

Combine good quality potting soil and humus into the pot or hole before planting. Cover the root ball up to the first set of branches.

Step 6

Water the tomato plant generously after planting with a phosphorus-rich starting formula. From this day on, water the tomato plant every other day, making sure to soak all the way down to the root ball. Once the plant has matured, water every couple of days, less during monsoon season if there are heavy rains. In the summer, fertilize every week.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato plant
  • Shovel
  • Potting soil
  • Humus
  • Water
  • Starter liquid, phosphorous-rich


  • University of Arizona: Desert Garden Tomatoes
  • Desert Greenhouse Guide: Growing Tomatoes
Keywords: planting tomatoes in Arizona, Arizona vegetable gardens, planting tomatoes

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.