Supporting Tall Tomato Plants

What's the best way to support your tomatoes?

Doug Hall March 7, 2014

Tomato plants are floppy by nature. Left to sprawl, the plants are more disease-prone and fruit quality suffers. Choose a trellising system that lifts the plants off the ground and allows for air circulation.

Stakes

Install wood or rebar stakes, at least 6 feet tall, at planting time. As the plants grow, tie the stems loosely to the stakes with twine or strips of fabric.

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Photo: Christa Neu

Photo: Rob Cardillo

Tripods and tuteurs

Fashion three stakes into a basic tripod for extra stability in windy regions; train a tomato plant on the upwind stake. Fancy tuteurs made of wood, bamboo, or bent twigs are the classier choice for ornamental kitchen gardens.

Check out our Tomato Tower!

Florida weave

Used commercially for determinate varieties, this training technique supports tomatoes with twine woven horizontally between rows of stakes.

Learn how to support your tomatoes with the Florida weave.


Photo: Don Ferrin

Photo: Rob Cardillo

Cages

Cylindrical or square wire cages keep tomatoes upright without the need for tying the stems. Commercial versions tend to be small and flimsy, but homemade cages fashioned from livestock panels are strong and durable.

Build your own cages!

Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April/May 2014

Decisions, Decisions

Choosing the best variety of tomato.

Tomato Basics

Important things to know before planting.

Troubleshooting

Despite our best efforts, problems will appear. Here are some tips for dealing with them.

Tips

Everything else you never knew you always wanted to know about growing tomatoes.