Growing tomatoes indoors may seem like an impossible feat for this heat-loving fruit, but tomato plants indoors are easy to grow. Give your plant the right setting and you will have tomatoes in the house all year round. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor every day.
Growing indoor tomatoes requires the same skills as outdoor tomato plants, but there is the benefit of elementary control. Indoors, there are few pests and very few environmental conditions that will ruin your crops. There are even dwarf tomato varieties that don't get out of hand as there are both dwarf tomato plants and determinates.
Some people don't have the space to grow outdoors, which makes growing tomatoes indoors a much better option. People with different mobilities and abilities can enjoy growing and bearing their plants throughout the season, even in winter. If you want to learn how to grow tomatoes in your home, read on! It's not difficult to achieve.
Cherry tomatoes also thrive indoors in winter. Dwarf varieties like Tiny Tim are excellent because they don't grow to be more than two feet tall. Dwarf tomatoes grow indoors from summer to winter. You can keep the seed in the fruit to grow again over the next year. Check out the different varieties of tomatoes that are suitable for indoor growing in every major seed catalog. Alternatively, collect cherry tomato seeds from the fruits themselves for later germination.
Good products on Amazon for growing tomatoes indoors:
Methods for growing tomatoes indoors
Growing tomatoes indoors can provide you with winter products. Source: Colin-47
There are several ways to grow tomatoes indoors. Perhaps you have space by the window where cherry tomatoes get enough sunlight. Since tomatoes love UV rays, this is an excellent way to grow them. An indoor window protects your plants from the cold and provides tomatoes with the hours of direct light they need every day.
Note that there are no bees in a window to pollinate your plant. Depending on how you care for tomatoes, your setup can take up a lot of space. You may also need to supplement with a grow light. As long as there is enough direct light, you can get a great harvest.
It helps to grow tomatoes indoors under a T5 fluorescent tube when direct sunlight from a sunny window is not an option. Remember, grow lights can easily add to utility bills. Still, they can be the best option for some who have no other option to grow indoors.
Grow tents are another great option for indoor growing. They will house a large plant if you prefer to care for a particular normal size tomato plant. They also offer precise control of light and humidity, which allows optimal conditions to be achieved. But they can also take up a lot of energy and space. So take this into account before buying a grow tent.
Hydroponic setups are also great for tomatoes that you grow indoors. Because they grow in a water-based nutrient solution, they become juicy and tasty. Advances in home growing technology have resulted in many hydroponic options in many different sizes and formats. You can have a setup that takes up a kitchen counter or a bakery shelf. You can also grow tomatoes in a hydroponic tower.
The only downside to growing regular tomatoes or cherry tomatoes hydroponically is higher energy costs. This method also requires a lot of management skills that some may be too busy for. But keep it up and you have winter tomatoes for sauces that stew all day.
Care of indoor tomatoes
After germination, separate or thin your tomato sprouts to get the strongest ones. Source: Ramsay2
Whichever method you choose, there are basic requirements to growing viable, juicy, and delicious fruit. Keep these and you'll have tomatoes year round.
Lighting & temperature
Tomatoes are a plant in full sun and require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. A south-facing window in the northern hemisphere or a north-facing window in the southern hemisphere is ideal for these lighting specifications. If your windows are next to obstructions that block the light, try any of the other methods listed here.
T5 grow lights complement the sunlight in a window with obstacles throughout the day. Give your window plant one of these to mimic additional sunlight. A hydroponic setup can come with lights, but if you're designing your own system for growing tomatoes indoors, use one of these.
The ideal climate for a tomato plant is in the range of 70 to 85 degrees. Therefore, keep tomato plants away from ventilation openings that could change the temperature too much. A cold AC current could stunt the growth you worked for. Dry conditions caused by a heat extraction also damage plants. If your HVAC system cannot escape, close the nearest ventilation hole or use a grow tent to keep the temperature and humidity stable.
Constantly rotate your tomato plants so that they form healthy roots and grow evenly. Outdoors, tomato plants receive the full spectrum of sunlight, so you'll need to simulate this indoors by rotating the planter.
Water & moisture
In hydroponics, your indoor tomatoes will always have water available when needed. Change the solution at least once a week to keep everything fresh and bacteria-free.
Tomato plants grown in containers need at least an inch of water per week and good drainage. Different pots and growing media have different water retention capabilities. Maintain even moisture for best results.
Some pots come with a drip tray to put your plant in. It is generally best to empty the tray as it fills with water to prevent your growing media from getting soaked.
Growing medium & container
If you're growing tomatoes indoors in soil, make sure the mix you choose is rich, fluffy, and well-drained. Soilless potting soil is good for growing tomatoes. Starter pellets made from coconut fibers or a mixture of vermiculite, sand and coconut fibers are sufficient. Remember, however, that a soilless medium needs fertilization as it will lack most of the nutrients. In hydroponic systems, clay balls are an excellent growth medium. However, they are not suitable for the other methods listed here.
Tomatoes need a lot of depth to grow. Dwarf varieties also need deep planting. Therefore, your pot should be at least 5 gallons for dwarf tomatoes and at least 10 gallons for regular varieties. Pots need drainage holes. Self-watering pots are not suitable for tomatoes that are sensitive to overwatering or uneven watering. Growbags are good, but they're porous. If you have a way to catch the water that flows out of the grow bag, it will work. If not, hold onto a large clay or plastic pot.
Even if your potting soil is rich in compost, you need to fertilize tomatoes. Tomatoes in the garden and in the house need fertilizer. Apply a slow-release, tomato-specific fertilizer to your potting soil or soilless growing medium at planting time. Top up every couple of weeks by adding and pouring more in a ring around the plant. Many vendors sell powdered hydroponic tomato nutrients that provide the same benefits as soil fertilizers. For indoor tomatoes in a hydroponic setup, dissolve some powder in water and add at plant time and then every two weeks.
Remove the leaves from the bottom of the stem. Source: tom_bullock
When they are growing their first flowers, pinch them off to encourage plant growth and keep the flowering in place for later when the plant has grown enough to handle the weight of the fruit. Remove the lower leaves of your tomato plants when they reach six inches to prevent media from splashing back on the plants.
Indeterminate dwarf tomatoes are more wild than certain plants. If necessary, prune branches just above the node to shape your plant. Both determinate and indeterminate tomatoes develop suckers and can benefit from removing them. If you enjoy growing tomatoes indoors, you can place suction cups in prepared soil or potting soil to root them and propagate seedlings.
To start your indoor tomatoes from seeds, use starter trays and a heating mat. Sow your tomato seeds about 1/8 inch deep and cover the pots or bowls with plastic wrap to trap heat and moisture. Use a starter mix of equal parts vermiculite, perlite and coconut fiber, or alternatively use a commercially available seed starter mix. The seeds themselves can meet their nutritional needs through germination. Gently heat the heating mat to 60 to 70 degrees, the optimal area for tomato germination. Keep them warm and remove the plastic when the seeds germinate. In a week or two, you will have a tomato seedling. When it matures, transplant it to a larger pot as needed.
For hydroponics, start seeds in coconut pods and keep them warm on a heating mat. In one to two weeks, you will transplant your seedlings into the system with fresh nutrient solution. In both hydroponic and non-hydroponic environments, tomato seedlings should not be overcrowded. Also, if you are growing tomatoes indoors, make sure they are properly spaced. Most tomato plants will house a 5 gallon planter. When tomatoes are overcrowded, they cannot absorb enough light and nutrients to produce flowers. This also inhibits fruit development.
You need to pollinate your own tomato flowers indoors. Source: monteregina
Growing tomatoes indoors means you don't have as many pests and diseases to deal with compared to outdoors tomatoes. Let's cover the problems you might face while growing an indoor tomato garden.
Irregular watering can lead to deviations such as split fruit. Just like when growing outdoors, tomatoes provide ample and regular water when grown indoors. Hydroponic tomatoes have fewer problems here due to a constant supply of water.
Too much water accelerates the growth of fungi and mold. This can lead to Root rotthat can kill your plants. In general, overhydration itself can also be a problem. Avoid overwatering and only give water when necessary.
Bad nutrient absorption can happen when growing tomatoes indoors. Water flushes nutrients out of the pot before your plant ingests them. Keep a fertilizing plan throughout the season. When growing tomatoes indoors, regular fertilization is key. This is one of the main components that will help your plants produce fruit that you will harvest even in winter. In this way, nutrient deficiencies such as flower end rot can be prevented.
When you grow tomatoes indoors, you don't have any extra help from pollinators to boost fruit production. Help your plant pollinate itself with a cotton swab after flowering. Touch the tip of the swab on each open flower to collect and distribute pollen. This transfers pollen from one flower to another and helps your plant produce more fruit than it would otherwise. That way you can harvest more.
Garden tomatoes and house tomatoes are sensitive to Cold damage. In winter a window can and can get too cold lack the right amount of sun needed for healthy green growth. To help your plant through the cold seasons, provide a grow light. With the warmth and light of a T5 fluorescent lamp, you will have rich green leaves and your plants will produce throughout the winter season and well into summer. If it's not quite warm enough, it can be helpful to place your plant on a seedling heating mat.
Alternative, too much sun or too many hours of warm weather above 90 degrees will cause flower drop and singing on the green leaves of your tomato plant. Make sure your lights are on for the appropriate time (especially in the summer months when it's hot) and monitor the temperature around the plant you are growing indoors. Keep it in the 75 to 85 degrees range as much as possible.
Two pests can invade from the outside and enter your plants, especially in summer. These are Mushroom mosquitoes and wide mites. There are a variety of organic pesticides that will help reduce mosquito and mite damage in any pot in your indoor garden.
frequently asked Questions
Your seedlings should be transplanted into a pot that can support their root mass. Source: Airflore
Q: Can tomatoes be grown indoors?
A: Absolutely! With the right care and the right conditions, growing indoor tomatoes is not only possible, but also rewarding. Grow them indoors and have fruit all season.
Q: How long can a tomato plant live inside?
A: Without pest interference and extreme environmental conditions, you will grow tomatoes indoors for over a year.
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