Best tasting container-friendly tomatoes?

bananastandMay 31, 2011

Hello everyone,

I've already planted 4 seedlings of Mountain Fresh in containers on my front porch. From what I read this is a commercial hybrid bred for perfect fruits that keep well. That's OK, I'll grow them this year.... but looking ahead to the future, what are your opinions on the best tasting fruits that you can get from containers? I'd like to plan ahead for next year instead of just buying blindly as I often do.


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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

use the search feature as this subject has been intensly discussed . No real one answer.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:15AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

"Best taste/flavor" in tomatoes is highly personal.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:25AM
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Hi Lucilleclifton,

New Big Dwarf is terrific. Also available now are the first releases from the Dwarf Tomato Project. You can do a search on that to get a lot of information on that project, and the various tomatoes available ftom it. The people involved are all tomato lovers, and are selecting mainly for taste (and also for size, shape, and color). I haven't grown any of them yet, since the first releases just recently became available, but they sound outstanding.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 6:13AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The point about "taste" being very subjective, very personal, is true and often pointed out here.

More importantly, you don't indicate the size of your containers and there is really no way to answer without that info. Success all depends on the size of the containers you are using. Big enough containers - 10-20 gallons - and you can grow any tomato variety you like.

Small containers - 5 gallons - really limits your choices. Smaller than 5 gallons is a waste of time and doomed to failure except for a few of the dwarf varieties bred specifically for small containers.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:07PM
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Summertime Gold and Rosella Purple are two of the best tasting
dwarf varieties around.

Both will grow very well in 7+ gallon containers, and give
10~16oz. size fruit.

And both varieties are now commercially available as well!


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 1:57PM
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dickiefickle: what words should we type into the search box? I typed in the subject of this discussion and got this discussion but nothing that really seemed to further discuss this subject. Any help appreciated as I like growing tomatoes in containers and would like to grow those best suited to it and that taste the best as well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

tempusflits - Here you go for starters.

Most effective search is to use the specific forum search bar at the bottom of the page, not the GW wide one at the top of the page. And never include the word 'tomatoes' since that gets you every discussion on the forum.

'Best taste' will get you lots of posts of us telling folks that taste is personal. Everyone has their favorites so all you get is long lists of "I love this one...and hate that one..." and "oh my, how can you possibly eat that tastes like %^$# to me...".

Point is - The same tomato grown in 50 different gardens or 50 different containers in 20 different zones or even in the same backyard will taste different. There are far too many variables that affect taste to label ANY tomato "best tasting".


Here is a link that might be useful: 'Best container' tomato discussions

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Thank you everyone! I do have very large containers-- for two of them, I bought the hugest pots I could find and they are set on either side of my front porch stairs. I literally can't move them without help (or back strain) when they are full of soil. Luckily I have a concrete pad under the front porch so I'm not having to mow around them and what not. The two that are actually on my porch are smaller but I think they are close to 5 gallons. I will have a look.

Now my latest panic is that I realized Mountain Spring is determinate, and apparently I was supposed to plant indeterminate?!?! I googled about it before I bought the plants and I was certain it said determinate were best for containers. Oh well. I'm sure they will grow, I'll just have to top them and keep after them. Right?!?

Thanks for all the info and especially link to other discussions of this nature. I too tried the search and was overwhelmed by results, not able to find what I was looking for. Much appreciated!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:48PM
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OK also... now I'm REALLY confused. Reading some of the FAQ posts linked in Dave's search above confirms that I was correct: determinate are best for containers, and do NOT benefit from topping or suckering. Here is an article I just read from that gives the exact contrary information. And this is why the internet can be a confusing place!! ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: article

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:55PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Lucilleclifton

I have in my Central Florida garden now about 45 different tomato varieties, most of them in containers larger than 5 gallon, only the dwarf are in 5 gallon containers. They are all doing well and producing, most of the ones that I have are indeterminate. From the dwarf tomatoes I prefer one that is really small and gives bigger than cherry tomatoes, I am also growing big dwarf and others.

Like Dave said tomato flavor is kind of personal, you are your own best taster and also depends a lot on the conditions they are grown and on the weather.

Here are my tomatoes this season


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 3:08PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

determinate are best for containers, and do NOT benefit from topping or suckering.

True. But that does not mean that you cannot grow indeterminate varieties in containers. You can IF the container is big enough.

Mountain Spring is a determinate but why do you feel you were "supposed" to grow indeterminates?


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:29PM
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I grow tomatoes on my two balconies 13 stories up. I usually put two tomatoes and stake them with mop or broom handles (get them from our refuse rooms) in the large pots. In a smaller pot I just put one tomato plant in. I use lots of Miracle Gro soil and liquid fertilizer, and have had very good luck on a sunny balcony. The biggest problem is wind so they have to be staked very well. I have had good luck in the four zone with Early Girl tomatoes. They aren't as big as some of the garden tomatoes but they do very well in pots with my method of gardening on a balcony apartment. The pests seem to leave them alone too. I love the Italian paste tomatoes but they have a tendency to get some tomato disease. Also have had good luck with the small baby tomatoes that hang down off my window boxes that are on my balcony railings. I hope this helps you out. Good luck this summer in your gardening endeavors.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 5:52PM
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I'm in zone 5 and don't use containers, but am fond of Stupice for good flavor, and have been told they grow well in containers.

Re: topping, determinate vs indeterminate etc: Much like "best taste", gardening methods are also personal. I'd bet you that anything someone might do in a garden, you will find a post somewhere in which someone says it's the wrong thing to do. (And another where someone insists it's the only way). Take all the advice with a grain of salt, and if something works for you, it's a good method for you.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 6:55PM
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Dave, that article I linked to on says indeterminates are better when container gardening. Everywhere else I've seen the opposite info... including the FAQ here. It was that article that confused me.

OK, so my two smaller containers are only about 2.5 gallon.... I need to repot those guys into bigger containers ASAP. I hope tomatoes are OK with being transplanted... I should get to it early next week, leaving town tomorrow!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:36PM
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The article is wrong. The author has transposed the two terms. Many of those articles are written very quickly by people with little expertise for very little money, hence they sometimes get things wrong.

Determinate tomatoes stop growing and producing fruit at some point. Hence they tend to be bushy, compact and better suited to containers.

Interminate are vining. They'll keep growing and producing fruit until the frost comes, hence they tend to outgrow containers.

As has been pointed out, you can grow indeterminate tomatoes very sucessfully in containers if they are big enough or involve some sort of 'earthtainer' style watering system.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 8:55AM
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Thank you everyone for all the help and advice. Seeing the great pictures is wonderful as well! I will learn a lot here, I can tell.

I broke down this morning and bought a Brandywine start at the farmer's market. One of my Mountain Spring starts got pretty wind crumpled and I already have 3 others of it... so I will be going forth into the great world of indeterminate container tomato growing with one of my plants this year! I'm excited to have some variety.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:42PM
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I am growing Black Prince in 20" containers and the plants are over 3 feet tall and setting fruit. They seem to be just fine in the pots.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:11PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

I put Celebrity plants in containers this year and the plants have gone nuts after I fed them with Algoflash fertilizer for tomatoes. The tomatoes taste all right, but I know many people aren't too complimentary about the taste. I find them better than grocery store tomatoes, but not the greatest I've eaten. The plants are acting more like semi-determinates than determinates. They are still growing and putting out blossoms, though I'm finding that more blossoms are dropping now. Too bad the flavor isn't in keeping with the strong, healthy plants. I don't know what they put in Algoflash, but I also put some on my bell peppers and the older one has a trunk like a miniature tree and the younger plant has gotten taller and wider in just a few days. Too bad the Algoflash is not cheap.

I've staked the Celebrities up with those green plastic stakes from HD and Lowe's.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:25PM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)

I like the flavor of New Big Dwarf and also Grushovka. They are both sweet pinks and small plants

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:14AM
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frenchy_fl(Z10 FL)

I grow many varieties in 32 gallon pots around my caged pool to keep critters and bugs away. To me, the best flavor is Brandywine and Earl's Faux.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 8:26PM
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