When it comes to growing tomato plants, there are many varieties to choose from, and all of them are unique and delicious in their own way! One of the most popular and delicious tomatoes is the cherry tomato, known for its smaller round shape and delicious sweet flavor profile.
You will want to grow an optimal harvest of cherry tomatoes, which might make you wonder whether you need a tomato cage to grow a successful cherry tomato crop.
The answer is that it is recommended to use a tomato cage when growing cherry tomatoes, as the cage is a very valuable resource for the tomato and helps to support the vines once they begin to grow.
Even if you do not opt to use a tomato cage, any support, such as a wooden stake, helps your cherry tomatoes stay supported as they grow.
What size tomato cage do I need for cherry tomatoes?
For growing cherry tomatoes, you will want to use a tomato cage at least four feet tall, as tomato plants will grow like crazy once they have a structure. Your local nursery or gardening store should have some available for purchase and can help point you in the right direction.
You can put the tomato cage directly in the pot with your tomato plant, but you can also use it in a garden. Typically these cages are made of steel, which allows them to support the weight of the tomato plant and stay upright in winds and storms.
Is it better to stake or cage cherry tomatoes?
One debate that often comes up concerns the pros and cons of caging versus staking your tomato plants in the gardening world. Ultimately one option isn’t better than the other; there are just tradeoffs that may make one solution preferable for your garden.
Staking your tomato plants into the ground takes up less room in the garden and is also a simple operation to set up, with little install time .
Some people also prefer staking as it keeps the tomatoes further up from the ground, which helps to prevent rotting. With staking, it is also easier to keep your cherry tomatoes clean and to see when they are ready to harvest. Overall, staking is the more low-maintenance option for growing cherry tomatoes.
While these are all major advantages of using the staking method, some cons come along with it. Often staked plants are more exposed to the elements, which can mean that they get too much sun or wind and will need to be watered more often. Staking cherry tomato plants require additional pruning, leading to a lower crop yield.
Caging tomatoes is advantageous if you want to go the safer route with your cherry tomatoes to ensure you have a great harvest. Caging the tomatoes allows you to avoid most pruning, and the plants aren’t quite as exposed to the elements, so they are more protected from critters and sun damage.
The downside to using a tomato cage is that it can get too heavy once the tomato plants take off in size and sometimes topple over, which can cause structural damage to the plant. They are also less sturdy and can fall over during a heavy wind storm. Due to the tomatoes getting less sun exposure in a tomato cage, these plants often bloom later than tomatoes grown on a stake.
Can you grow tomatoes without cages?
Yes, you can also opt to grow your tomatoes without a cage. The cage or stake is a support mechanism for your tomato plant to help them grow and keep them upright, but it is not essential to producing a cherry tomato harvest.
Without a cage or stake, tomato plants often grow out horizontally and may take up a lot of room in your garden. You need to ensure there is room in your planter bed for the tomatoes to grow without stunting the growth of any other plants.
The disadvantage to growing your tomatoes without a cage is that they will flop over once they start to grow heavy and tall and become easy food for other outdoor critters.
It is common for tomato plants that are not staked to be chewed up by bugs, and sometimes other animals will also eat the tomato fruit. You may ultimately not be able to harvest as many tomatoes as you were hoping if you opt for this method, but you will still be able to grow tomatoes!
If you opt to go the no tomato cage route, you will also want to ensure your tomatoes are getting adequate sun and water where they are planted without the cage. If you are going to grow them without the cage, take extra care to prep the soil where you plant your cherry tomatoes for optimal growing health.
What can I use instead of a tomato cage?
If you decide not to use a tomato cage, there are other alternative ways to accomplish something similar. Using a trellis, stakes, a ladder, or letting your tomato plant grow along a fence are all ways to help the tomato plant learn to grow vertically and not horizontally, which will protect your plant from disease and other pests. In general, any support method is better than none when it comes to giving your tomato plants an advantage while growing.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!