Growing Tomatoes Indoors

Learn how to get started growing tomatoes indoors — even in the winter.
indoor tomato plant

indoor tomato plant

As with growing any plant, you may have to experiment with location and lighting supplementation to get the best results growing tomatoes indoors.

As with growing any plant, you may have to experiment with location and lighting supplementation to get the best results growing tomatoes indoors.

If you’re missing the juicy sweetness of a fresh-picked tomato from your backyard garden, here’s some good news: you don’t necessarily have to wait for next summer to start growing a new crop! Here’s how to get started growing tomatoes indoors — even in the winter.

1. When shopping for seeds, choose a variety that can grow in a container, keeping in mind:

  • “Determinate” varieties grow for a relatively short period of time, all the tomatoes will ripen at once, and then the plant stops producing.These varieties can be easier to grow in a container as they require minimal or no staking.
  • “Indeterminate” varieties continue to grow and produce indefinitely and are much more likely to keep you in tomatoes throughout a long winter. But they can require more care so that they don’t grow out of control!
  • Plants that produce small, cherry- or grape-sized tomatoes in abundance generally do better indoors than larger “slicing” varieties.
  • Some varieties to consider: Matt’s Wild Cherry, Toy Boy, Jelly Bean, Yellow Pear and Tiny Tim.

2. Plant the seeds in a small pot in a starter soil mix, about 1/4 inch deep. Water, and maintain moist but not soggy soil, and keep them in a warm area (75-85 degrees: the top of a radiator or refrigerator may be a good choice, or you can buy or make a warming mat.)

In 5-10 days the seeds should germinate, and you can move them to a sunny window (south-facing is best) and/or place them under a bright light if the window does not receive at least 6 hours of bright sunlight daily.

3. When the seedlings are about three inches tall, transplant them into potting soil in a larger “home.” The size of your pot will depend on the seed variety you’ve chosen. Fertilize about two weeks after transplanting and continue to water regularly, and turn frequently to make sure the sunlight reaches all sides of your plant.

4. Stake if necessary — a small trellis or dowel will do the trick.

5. When plants begin to bloom, flick or gently shake the larger stems and branches with your finger to encourage pollination (if the plant is a self-pollinating variety.)

As with growing any plant indoors, you may have to experiment with location and lighting supplementation to get the best results. But with a little time and care, soon you should be able to re-experience that fresh-off-the-vine tomato taste you’ve been missing!

Keep Reading

Next Up

Growing Fruit Trees Indoors

Growing dwarf fruit trees indoors can add a lively touch of freshness to your indoor setting.

Fun Facts About Tomatoes

Delicious, nutritious find out more about the versatile, intriguing tomato.

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Extend the season by ripening year-end crops indoors.

How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Bed

Are your tomato plants not getting enough drainage? Follow these steps on growing tomatoes in a raised bed.

How to Grow Epic Tomatoes

Author Craig LeHoullier shares 30 years' of gardening experience on growing over 200 delicious varieties.

Tomato Cheat Sheet: Grow Tomatoes Now!

Don’t let the challenges stop you from growing the most popular edible.

Supporting, Pruning and Staking Tomatoes

Even the superheroes of the summer garden need support. With a little TLC and thinking ahead, your tomatoes will be healthy, heavy producers.

Grow Your Own Mushrooms

You can grow delectable mushrooms in your house.

Q&A: Tomatoes That Fail to Ripen

Identify the cause for sunken spots on tomatoes and how to treat the problem.

Tweaking Your Tomatoes

Tips for keeping your tomato plants on track.

On TV

Flea Market Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Caribbean Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Mexico Life

10pm | 9c

Mexico Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Caribbean Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Mexico Life

1am | 12c

Mexico Life

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.