There is nothing like the taste of a home grown, freshly picked tomato. If you want to enjoy this taste but worry that you don’t have the space, growing small tomatoes is the ideal solution.
Taking up surprisingly little space, small tomatoes can be grown in pots, planters, hanging baskets and even on kitchen windowsills. Our list of 12 types of small tomatoes is designed to highlight not only the most compact varieties available but some of the most flavorsome and colorful.
As well as highlighting some of the best varieties, we will also share some small tomatoes care and growing tips enabling you to get the maximum enjoyment out of these compact plants.
Tomato plants are easy to grow at home and rich in flavor.
Different Varieties of Tomato Plant
Tomato plants can be divided into 2 groups:
- Bush varieties,
- Vining varieties.
Bush or determinate types are smaller and more compact than the more sprawling vining varieties. The majority of dwarf tomato varieties are bush types.
Bush types of tomato plants reach a certain height before setting fruit. This then matures during a relatively short time period.
In contrast to their compact counterparts, indeterminate or vining varieties set out long vines which require some support. With a little care and regular harvesting, vining varieties continue to set and develop fruit throughout the summer months. In favorable conditions vining plants often continue producing fruit until the first frosts of fall.
Smaller, bush toms ripen their fruit at the same time.
Growing Small Tomatoes Care Tips
Caring and growing small tomatoes is similar to growing larger tomato varieties. If you have never grown these plants before do not worry, they are largely unfussy, easy to care for plants ideal for inexperienced gardeners and children. Such is their versatility, you can even grow tomato plants indoors.
You can either purchase transplants, these are seedlings ready for planting in the garden, or start your tomato plants from seed. Whichever method you chose, remember to harden off the plants before transplanting to the final growing position.
One of the most important aspects to get right is your growing medium. These plants like well draining rich soil. Work compost into the soil before transplanting. You can also work in a little slow release fertilizer into the soil.
Tomato plants of all sizes grow best in sunny positions. Ideally the plants should enjoy at least 6 hours of sunlight every day.
Regularly water your plants. Allowing the soil to dry out can stress the plants and cause the fruit to split. Remember that plants growing in pots or hanging baskets require more frequent watering than those planted in the ground.
A regular dose of Espoma Tomato Organic Fertilizer, beginning when flowers start to emerge, helps to support healthy growth and fruiting.
Mulching the soil around the plants helps the soil to retain moisture. Organic mulches break down over time, enriching your soil and giving the plants a further nutrient boost.
Vining and larger varieties require support from a Hydrofarm Natural Bamboo Stake stake or trellis. Heavy fruiting bush varieties may also require some support to help keep the fruit off the ground.
Larger varieties require some support.
Many types of small tomatoes are ready for harvest 65 to 80 days after transplanting into the final growing position. Remember, tomates can continue to ripen after they are harvested, so try not to let them sit for too long on the vine. This can cause them to spoil.
However, harvesting the fruit too early can harm the flavor of the fruit. Our guide to harvesting tomatoes explains how to work out exactly when you should harvest your fruit. When harvesting fruit, use sharp garden scissors to cut the fruit from the vine. This guards against accidental damage to the plant. A damaged plant may slow or cease fruit production.
Sometimes you may find yourself approaching the end of the growing season with lots of green fruit on the vine. Luckily there are a number of ways to encourage the green fruit to ripen.
The tomato continues to ripen even after harvest.
Now that you know how to care for a tomato plant, here are some of the best small tomatoes that you can try in your garden.
1 Tiny Tim
Tiny Tim are fast growing, compact small tomatoes. Ideal for planting in pots or planters, Tiny Tim is a determinate or bush variety. This means that the plant grows to a fixed mature size before quickly setting and ripening all its fruit within a short window.
Tiny Tim is popular for its small, bright red cherry tomatoes. These are usually ¾ of an inch or 2 cm in size. Tiny Tim typically produces fruit that is ready for harvest 60 days after planting.
Bright red cherry toms.
2 Golden Nugget
As the name suggests, Golden Nugget produces yellow, small tomatoes roughly 1 inch wide. Another cherry-fruiting determinate variety, the fruit of Golden Nugget is usually ready for harvest 55 to 60 days after planting.
Milder in flavor than other tomato varieties, the fruit of Golden Nugget also has a lower acidity level. Golden Nugget toms are ideal for using in salads or as a fresh snack.
Yellow fruit adds color and interest to salads.
3 506 Bush
506 Bush are small tomatoes producing blemish free, bright red fruit with a mild, sweet flavor. A reliable variety that is pleasingly drought tolerant, 506 Bush needs little encouragement to produce a large, flavorsome harvest.
Another determinate variety that is ideal for planting in pots or planters and growing on patios or balconies, the fruit of 506 Bush matures within 60 to 65 days after planting.
4 Bush Early Girl
A hybrid variety Early Girl is another of the bush tomato varieties that is a great choice for growing in pots, planters, on patios, balconies or in smaller greenhouses where space is at a premium. Reaching a maximum height of 3 ft, each plant is pleasingly heavy cropping. Bush Early Girl produces lots of sweet fruit within 54 days of planting.
Many varieties produce lots of fruit at the same time.
5 Tumbling Tom
A popular choice for planting in hanging baskets or Nicheo Upside Down Tomato Hanging Planters, you can also grow Tumbling Tom tomato plants in pots and planters.
One of the smallest tomatoes on our list, Tumbling Tom plants are only 6 to 8 inches tall. However, they also have a vining habit that can see them spread up to 30 inches in length. This makes Tumbling Tom a popular tomato plant choice for planting in hanging baskets, where their fruit-laden vines drape, attractively down towards the ground.
Maturing in 60 to 70 days each plant can produce up to 4 pounds of fruit. Both red and yellow fruiting varieties are available.
6 Micro Tom
One of the smallest types of tomato plant, Micro Tom rarely exceeds 8 inches in height. Ideal for growing in pots on windowsills, window boxes or in pots this is a dwarf determinate variety of tomato.
A low maintenance, compact plant you do not need to remove any side shoots to encourage fruiting. Despite its small stature Micro Tom is a prolific specimen. Each plant is capable of producing around 40 red small tomatoes. Micro Tom fruits mature in 50 to 60 days.
7 Cherry Cocktail
Producing small, bite sized toms that are rich in flavor, Cherry Cocktail is an increasingly popular variety of tiny tomato. An indeterminate or vining variety the plants do require some support. Either from stakes or a tomato cage. Maturing in around 70 days, regularly harvesting the fruit encourages more to form and ripen.
Some varieties produce yellow or green fruit.
8 Green Grape
As the name suggests Green Grape produces colorful fruit that remains yellow-green even when ripe. Despite a compact, bushy growth habit, Green Grape plants require some support to help keep the fruit off the ground.
With a little care Green Grape produces an abundance of round fruit which measure half an inch wide. Despite their compact size, the fruits of Green Grape are juicy and rich in flavor. Like many determinate varieties, the small tomatoes of Green Grape develop in clusters of between 4 and 12.
9 Baby Red Pear
Enjoying a long fruiting season, Baby Red Pear is one of the few vining varieties on our list of small tomatoes. This means that you will need to support the vines as they grow and develop. The fruit, which develops in clusters, is sweet and juicy.
Many compact tomato plants are also heavy croppers.
10 Small Fry
Small Fry is a popular choice for small tomatoes because it is a low maintenance, heavy cropping variety of tomato plant that reliably produces masses of cherry tomatoes. Reaching a height of around 4 ft, these determinate plants mature and ripen their fruit 70 to 80 days after planting.
Slightly larger than other cherry or small tomatoes, Supersweet are cordon toms. This means that they are trained to produce fruit along one length of a leading stem.
One of the many heavy yielding varieties of small tomatoes, the sweet cherry fruit of Supersweet ripens in clusters from midsummer until the first frosts of fall. Best planted in a greenhouse or a sheltered outside spot, Supersweet plants reach a height of 6 ft but spread just 2 ft wide.
While not the largest in size, the fruits are still rich in flavor.
12 New Big Dwarf Toms
The final entry on our list of small tomatoes is a dwarf plant. Capable of reaching 3 ft in height, New Big Dwarf plants produce larger fruits than many of the other entrants on our list.
Rich in flavor, the fruits are deep pink and slightly flatter than other toms. An ideal choice for planters and container gardens this is a determinate variety. New Big Dwarf Tomato fruits ripen around 90 days after transplanting to the final growing position.