Last Updated on June 27, 2021 by Sophie
In an ideal world, you would be able to grow your tomatoes in a garden, greenhouse, or even on a balcony. However, if you’re like me and have no outdoor space available to you, then you should know that growing tomatoes indoors is perfectly possible given the right care, time, and attention. Here are my top expert tips for growing tomato plant inside (which are known scientifically as Solanum lycopersicum)!
Pick a shrub-like tomato plant
First things first, you should know that not all tomato plants are made equally. Much like many other plant varieties, the plants can come as climbers (these grow many foot tall and are less than ideal in an indoor situation) and as shrubs.
Obviously a shrub is much easier to maintain and so you should go with growing a shrub based tomato plant in order for it to thrive inside. Plum and cherry tomato varieties grow in shrub formations and the small size of the fruits produced means that they’re the types of tomato plant most suited to growing indoors.
My personal favourite tomato variety for growing inside are cherry tomatoes as these plants yield a high number of fruits on a particularly frequent basis. They are also fairly low maintenance plants when it comes to varieties of tomatoes and so will bring you plenty of joy with limited effort.
Stake the tomato plant (even when growing tomatoes inside)
Even if you go for a shrub tomato variety, you should know that it will still need to be staked. The weight of the fruits can cause the limbs to become very heavy, droop, and even break. As such, be sure to have some small plant stakes with which to tie your tomato plant to as it grows.
Know that buying a small tomato plant is easier than starting from seed
Growing plants from seed takes time, patience, and space. If you’re limited in any one of these areas, then I highly recommend skipping the starting tomatoes from seed aspect of growing tomatoes indoors and instead opting to buy a small tomato plant.
Tomato plants can be picked up cheaply from most gardening centres, big box stores, and even your local supermarket provided that it’s the right season and the shop is large enough to carry such stock!
Be prepared to repot your plant
Whether you’re starting your tomato plants from seed or are opting to buy a rooted seedling/ small plant, you should definitely be ready to repot your brand new plant. After all, those grown for sale are often pretty pot-bound and will not be able to reach their full potential if the remain so.
When it comes to the right soil conditions, you’ll want to pick an organic mix that’s perfect for growing vegetables (as the plants will need many more nutrients than your typical houseplants). As such, you should note that different soil should be purchased than that used to grow your tropical indoor plants.
Find the right place in your apartment for growing tomatoes indoors (adequate light)
When it comes to growing almost any vegetable or edible plant indoors (including an indoor herb garden), then you should note that having adequate conditions is key to ensuring that the plant will produce fruits.
What this means for growing tomato plants inside is finding a place with plenty of bright light, such as on a windowsill or very close by. Basically, if you want your tomato plant to thrive, then you should imitate outdoor conditions as much as possible. Your tomato plants will need at least eight hours of sunlight a day and temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius (70F) consistently.
Rotate your tomato plant frequently
In nature, the tomato plant will receive adequate amounts of light as the sun moves across the sky during the day. Obviously this is not the same in an indoors setting and so you’ll have to recreate these lighting conditions for yourself.
As plants indoors always begin growing towards their light source, you’ll want to be sure to rotate your tomato plant every few days in order to ensure even growth. This is especially important if the tomato plant is only receiving light on one side (i.e. if it directly next to a window).
Fertilise your tomato plants often
Yet another thing you should note is that tomato plants require a lot of nutrients, particularly during the growing season (i.e. spring and summer) when they are consistently putting out new crops. You’ll want to purchase fertiliser that’s ideal for growing vegetables (this can be purchased at any reputable garden retailer) and fertilise your plant at least once a week.
When fertilising your plant, be sure to make sure that the roots are already slightly damp. Fertilising roots without them being damp can lead to root burn, from which it is incredibly hard for the plant to recover. You should also be sure not to fertilise your tomatoes before they’ve produced their first crop of tomatoes.
Water your indoor tomato plants regularly
As mentioned previously, plants which are growing fruits such as the Solanum lycopersicum require plenty of nutrients. They also require plenty of water, which seems obvious when you consider that a tomato fruit is up to 95% water.
Be sure to water your plant regularly but do not overwater it. The soil of the plant should be kept moist but should not ever have its roots be sitting in water as this can lead to root rot, from which there is little chance of recovery.
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