Source / By Home Guides SF Gate Contributor, Updated June 24, 2020
Cherry tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme) are a tasty treat that grows well indoors under the right conditions. In fact, growing tomatoes indoors on a windowsill can be very easy. The best way to grow cherry tomatoes indoors is by using a strong source of light, particularly in front of a south-facing window. Without a strong natural light source, cherry tomatoes need artificial lighting to thrive. In most areas, cherry tomatoes are annuals, but they grow as perennials indoors and in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11.
- Mix granular slow-release fertilizer into good-quality potting soil in a 3- to 5-gallon container with drainage holes before you plant the cherry tomato. Use a formulation with an equal concentration of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Most formulations of slow-release fertilizer recommend 1 tablespoon or less of fertilizer to adequately feed a container-grown cherry tomato.
- Place the cherry tomato plant in its container in front of a window that faces south. Growing tomatoes indoors on a windowsill works best, but don’t allow the foliage of the plant to touch the glass. If you don’t have access to a south-facing window, put the tomato plant in front of a window facing east or west.
- Mix a fertilizer with an analysis of 8-16-8 into a gallon of water and store it in a sealable container. Mix 2 tablespoons of this mixture into a gallon of water and use it to irrigate the cherry tomato throughout the season.
- Check the dampness of the soil around the tomato plant two to three times a week. When the soil feels relatively dry to the touch, water it until it is thoroughly moist. Water the cherry tomato slowly to prevent water from pooling on top of the soil. When the water begins to drain out the bottom of the container, stop watering the plant.
- Over time, the cherry tomato will grow toward the strongest light source shining on it. Turn the plant so that one of the sides facing indoors faces directly toward the window once a week.
- Watch the cherry tomato plant for the development of small yellow flowers. Gently grasp the stem of each flower with your thumb and forefinger on the morning they open. Gently shake each flower to fertilize the flower and encourage the development of fruit.
- Harvest cherry tomatoes from the vine as soon as they turn ripe. Hold the stem above the fruit with one hand and pinch or cut the stem just above the fruit to avoid damaging the plant.
- 3- to 5-gallon container
- Commercial potting soil
- Slow-release balanced fertilizer
- Granular 8-16-8 fertilizer
- Measuring spoon
- 1-gallon container with lid
- Fluorescent light
What other fruit bearing plants can you grow indoors during the winter? Which ones will you grow? Why?
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