Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:36 pm

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables on the balcony. No wonder: home-grown and freshly picked they taste best. With our tips, the project “planting tomatoes on the balcony” is guaranteed to work.

No summer without tomatoes: The apples of paradise adorn numerous gardens, balconies and terraces in the sunny season. And this is not surprising. Tomatoes not only taste deliciously fruity, they are also considered healthy: since tomatoes consist of more than 90 percent water, they have hardly any calories and instead contain many healthy vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

The plant substance lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red or yellow color, is considered particularly helpful. It is said to be able to strengthen the immune system, protect against heart disease and help fight free radicals in the body. These are said to damage cells and cause cancer.

Reason enough to give the delicious fruits a place on the balcony and plant tomatoes.

Planting tomatoes: Choose from a wide range of varieties

If you only think of tomatoes as the small cocktail variety from the supermarket shelf, you’re missing out. There are thousands of tomato varieties worldwide that vary greatly in size, shape, color and flavor.

The aromatic fruits of the beefsteak tomato, for example, are heavily ribbed and can weigh up to half a kilo. This variety of tomato is considered ideal for Caprese, the Italian appetizer salad with mozzarella and basil.

For those who prefer it a few sizes smaller: an alternative to the cocktail tomato is the Red Marble tomato variety with its small, round and sweet-tasting fruits. As a wild tomato, it has two further advantages for the “planting tomatoes” project: It is extremely easy to care for, does not need to be thinned out (more on this later) and is little(less) susceptible to blight.

The Green Zebra tomato variety, on the other hand, delights with its aromatic fruits and its great color gradient: the riper the green tomatoes become, the more clearly the yellow to orange-yellow stripes appear on the skin. By the way, the Green Zebra tomato variety does not lose its green color completely. According to Stiftung Warentest, however, this is not a problem: unlike other tomato varieties, where the green color indicates immaturity, the ripe Green Zebra contains hardly any toxic solanine.

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Sunviva is a very special tomato variety: thanks to its open-source license, this yellow-colored tomato variety cannot be patented. This means that anyone can grow, cultivate and sell it – and it will never belong to a corporation.

There are often tomatoes on the market that have been explicitly bred as container plants. However, you do not have to resort to these “balcony tomatoes” if you want to plant tomatoes. All tomato varieties can usually be grown in containers or pots – if they offer enough space for the roots.

Planting tomatoes correctly

Planting tomatoes is not rocket science, but there are a few things you should keep in mind: Tomatoes should be planted as deep as possible, preferably to the base of the leaves. This will allow them to grow more roots on the lower stem and get a better supply of water and nutrients. So that you can tie the plant down later, you should insert a long bamboo stick or cane into the pot right next to the plants when planting the tomatoes. This is also possible later, but may hurt the root system.

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

If there is still room in the pot or box, you can sow or plant more tomato plants. Basil, nasturtium and spinach are good neighbors: as ground covers, they shade the soil and ensure that moisture does not evaporate so quickly.

Sun-loving nightshade plants

Tomatoes love sun and warmth. You should therefore plant them on the balcony only in mid to late May, when the night frosts are over. Otherwise, the tender tomato plants will freeze to death.

Too much haste can also be harmful when moving outdoors. Namely, plants can get a sunburn: The leaves begin to curl. So, in order to slowly accustom the nightshade plants to sunlight, it is advisable to first put them outside for a few days, only by the hour, instead of immediately planting the tomatoes outside.

In commercial vegetable production, tomatoes are often grown in a greenhouse or a foil tunnel. There are several reasons for this: Their roofs protect tomatoes from cold, wind and moisture, and thus from fungi and diseases. Accordingly, you should choose the location on the balcony or terrace: It should be protected from the wind, dry, sunny and warm.

Planting tomatoes: The fruits are hungry

Tomatoes belong to the highly consumptive plants, so they need plenty of food to grow, bloom and produce fruit. So it doesn’t hurt to add a portion of horn shavings or other organic storage fertilizer to the soil right when you plant your tomatoes.

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Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

As soon as flowers and fruits develop (see picture above), the tomato plant needs additional nutrients, which it can quickly absorb. Otherwise, the leaves turn yellow. Ideal here are organic liquid fertilizer from the store or self-prepared manure from nettles.

Planting tomatoes: grafting & diseases

To sprout or not to sprout – that is the question for many gardeners in the project “planting tomatoes”. In fact, for most varieties of tomatoes, it is advisable to remove all the shoots that grow from the leaf axils. True, they are not harmful to the plant. But they unnecessarily cost the tomato plant strength, which it needs for flowering and fruiting. The harvest could therefore be smaller. If you want to save yourself the work, you can use wild varieties such as Red Marble or Golden Currant.

Here’s how to properly prune tomatoes:

Powdery mildew, late blight and blight, on the other hand, are serious problems for tomatoes. Once they are there, you can hardly get rid of them. To prevent these and other fungal diseases, it is advisable to cover the plants, place them airy and not too close to each other, and fertilize them carefully (Fertilize tomatoes with natural means). In addition, you can regularly spray milk or broths of field horsetail on the leaves. However, infested parts of the plant must be removed as soon as possible.

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

Planting tomatoes: watering and care properly

Tomatoes consist of more than 90 percent water – and it must come from somewhere. Therefore, the plants should be watered regularly and not stand on dry feet. Otherwise, the fruit can burst open and mold can form. But a wet head tomatoes also do not like: the tender shoots can break in a downpour, moreover, the tomato plant can get sick faster and die.

Exceptions again include wild tomatoes such as Red Marble or Golden Currant. The hardy varieties do quite well without a roof over their heads, as an occasional downpour does not bother them much. So if you’re planting tomatoes for the first time, these low-maintenance varieties are the right choice.

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

However, as a rule, tomatoes should be located protected from the rain and watered not through the leaves, but only “from below”. The ideal time for this is considered to be the cooler morning hours. An irrigation system with clay cones or homemade from bottles will also help the plants survive hot summer days.

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Ground-covering mixed crops or a layer of mulch ensure that the soil does not dry out too quickly. By the way, withered tomato leaves and sprouted shoots are also suitable for this purpose.

Recognize ripe fruit

The project “Planting tomatoes on the balcony” ideally ends with a nice portion of ripe tomatoes on your plate. But when are tomatoes really ripe? Most tomato varieties are ripe when they are red. Then they also contain only a little toxic solanine.

But what about green or yellow tomato varieties? Here, a rule of thumb helps: if the skin is somewhat softer and the fruits can be easily detached, they can usually be eaten.

By the way, you don’t have to throw away unripe tomatoes, as they occur especially in the later months: They ripen quite easily in a shoebox or in a dark place at 18 to 25 degrees Celsius indoors. However, they no longer taste quite as good as sun-ripened tomatoes.

Delicious recipes with tomatoes

Freshly picked tomatoes are a delight – and versatile in the kitchen: raw they taste delicious as bruschetta with garlic on toasted white bread and tomato salad with mozzarella and basil. Large fruits can be filled with feta cheese and prepared in the oven or on the grill.

Planting Tomatoes On The Balcony: How To Do It!

Boiled or blanched, tomatoes form the basis for soups, pizza toppings, sauces and ketchup. For pesto or antipasti, you can also dry the sun-ripened fruit in the oven. Home-processed tomatoes are also great to store for a bit of summer in the cold season.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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