How to Plant Tall Tomato

You have perhaps seen these plants at the garden center, or in your own windowsill. Those tall lanky tomatoes plants that germinate and overnight seem to have grown more than a foot tall?

Frequently asked questions about these tall tomatoes follow this line of inquiry:

  • How do I plant them?
  • Do I stake them, or plant them very deep?
  • Are these tall lanky plants still worth planting?

It has been our experience and based on our research and the confirmation of gardeners in this area they are definitely worth planting, and will provide you with desirable, tasty produce.

We have a few tips that will promote growth of a strong plant with a well-developed root system. This plant, if properly cared for, and barring all other risks of bugs, frost or disease, or will provide a bountiful harvest of fruit.

The strength in these plants is in the manner in which they are planted.Here are the suggestions for you to incorporate into your planting practice in your tomato garden.

  • After you have your plants home, and have prepared your garden bed, remove the plant carefully from the pot or pack in which it have been growing.

At this point you may notice some unusual bumps along the lower stem of the plant. These “nubbins” (I have always wanted to use that word), are actually new roots waiting to leave the stem. These bumps may extend a long way up the plant stem towards the leaves.

These roots, once in the soil, will provide the plant with the nutrients and moisture the tomato plant requires.

  • In your garden using your garden trowel form a trough-shaped hole, which is approximately 4 inches deep in the soil and about 10-12 inches in length for each plant. The length is just an estimate and depends on the length of the stem.
  • Remove the bottom leaves from the plant.
  • Lay the plant on its side, carefully/gently bending the top 6 inches or so in an upward curve (you don’t want to break the stem).
  • The top portion will be above ground as shown in the demonstration picture below. The plant may already have a bent stem by the nature of growing in the current nursery pack. The tomato stem should be flexible enough to provide this curve.

  • At this point begin covering the root ball and the lower portion of the stem that is laying on the soil. Make sure there is approximately 4 inches of soil covering the lower portion of the plant stem and root ball.
  • You may want to mark the area where the root ball is located in order to prevent cutting it when you are “enthusiastically weeding” with a hoe around your tomatoes.

  • You may stake or cage your plant at this point before watering.
  • Be careful not to pierce the stem with the cage points as you push it into the ground.
  • Water your plant well and regularly. Tomatoes require a high volume of water in order to provide you with tasty fruit.

The advantage to planting the tomato in this fashion is to develop a stronger root system, in order to provide more moisture and nutrients to the plant above ground.By laying the lower plant stem horizontal in the ground and 4-6 inches deep, (approx.) this allows the roots to be warmed by the sun’s rays and will be closer to the water source when moisture is provided.In fall you may notice after the harvest that the plant is difficult to pull out of the ground because of the massive root system that has developed over the summer season. 

NOTE: The pictures provided for this information shows planting in a pot. This is for demonstration purposes only. If you wish to plant in a container, plant the tomato seedling as deep into the pot as you want. You still will get the same results because the pot is above ground and the roots will be provided with warmth from the suns rays on the side of the pots. Planting horizontally in a pot is not necessary.

After all your hard work in the garden, this is your reward!