Small tomato plants that deliver big flavor are just right for growing in small gardens and on decks, patios and balconies.
Small tomato plants range in size from 18 inches tall or less to no more than 3 or 4 feet tall. Small tomato plants require no staking or caging—but you can.
Fruits on small tomato plants can range from cherry-size to as large 1 pound, about the same size as many large vining plants.
Flavor from small plant fruits can vary just as with larger plants from mild, to acid-sweet, to full old-fashioned tomato taste.
Like large tomato plants, compact tomatoes require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day—especially if you are growing for optimal flavor.
Also like large tomato plants, compact tomatoes require consistent moisture for steady, even growth and maximum flavor. Keep the soil in your containers evenly moist—meaning do not let it dry out or get soggy.
Feed container growing tomatoes every three weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer high in phosphorus, 5-10-5 is about right.
A 2-gallon, 8- to 10-inch pot or box is right for most small tomato plants; some can grow in pots as small as 6 inches across, about the size of a 1-gallon nursery container.
10 Flavorful Tomatoes for Small Spaces
You should be able to find seedlings for one or more of these small tomatoes at a nearby garden center. All are readily available from seed growers online.
• Better Bush: small, compact bush for patio, deck, or balcony containers; fruits to 8 ounces, with old-fashioned tomato flavor; to from 3 to 4 feet tall; requires staking. Indeterminate, hybrid VFN, 68 days to harvest.
• Bush Beefsteak: compact plant with good-sized beefsteak-shaped fruit, 6 to 8 ounces. Determinate, open-pollinated, 62 days to harvest.
• Bush Early Girl: small, compact plants with top yield of 6- to 7-ounce fruits and very good flavor. Determinate, hybrid VFFNT, 54 days to harvest.
• Clear Pink Early: compact plant with trusses of round, smooth pink fruit; sweet and tangy flavor. Russian heirloom, determinate, open-pollinated, 58 days to harvest.
• Early Wonder: compact plant produces round, dark pink fruit to 6 ounces; full tomato flavor, great taste. Determinate, open-pollinated, 55 days to harvest.
• New Big Dwarf: compact to 2 feet tall; flavorful fruits from 8 ounces to 1 pound. “New” from 1915, so this is an heirloom; determinate, open-pollinated, 60 days to harvest.
• Red Rocket: compact, bush with smooth, flavorful, even sugar-acid blend fruits, 8 to 10 ounces. Determinate, open-pollinated, 60 days to harvest.
• Tiny Tim: small plant for containers growing to about 18 inches tall; use a 6-inch pot; bright red cherry tomatoes to about ¾ inches. Determinate, open-pollinated, 60 days to harvest.
• Tumbling Tom: small plant for hanging baskets, cascading habit to about 18 inches; 1- to 1-inch cherry tomatoes; can grow in 6-inch pot. Determinate, hybrid, 70 days to harvest.
• 506 Bush: small plant to 18 inches tall with medium size, mild-flavored, bright red fruit with hint of sweetness; good drought tolerance. Determinate, open-pollinated, 62 days to harvest.