Shrub tomatoes - plant, maintain, multiply & hibernate


In this comprehensive guide, you will find everything you need to know about vine tomatoes. Planting instructions, as well as tips for propagation and wintering.

© Daniel Ernst / stock.adobe.com Growing vegetables in a small space works well with vine tomatoes. The compact plants can also be cultivated on the balcony or even grow on the windowsill. Vine tomatoes have a strong aroma and do not require extensive maintenance. However, there are a few things to keep in mind for growing vegetables.


  • 1 Grow and plant vine tomatoes
    • 1.1 ➔ Site conditions
    • 1.2 auswählen Select substrate
    • 1.3 pfl Planting tomatoes when?
    • 1.4 pfl Planting vine tomatoes - step by step
    • 1.5 pfl Plant vine tomatoes in a bucket
    • 1.6 ➔ An overview of the most important planting tips
  • 2 vine tomatoes - 3 popular varieties
  • Maintain 3 vine tomatoes
    • 3.1 g Water vine tomatoes
    • 3.2 dün Fertilize vine tomatoes
    • 3.3 ➔ vine tomatoes - cut or pickle?
  • Multiply 4 vine tomatoes
    • 4.1 ehren Multiply vine tomatoes by cuttings
    • 4.2 verm Multiply vine tomatoes by sowing
  • 5 Caring for young plants properly
  • 6 vine tomatoes - identify and combat diseases and pests
    • 6.1 ➔ Herb and brown rot on vine tomatoes
    • 6.2 ➔ Powdery mildew on vine tomatoes
    • 6.3 ➔ Gray mold on vine tomatoes
    • 6.4 ➔ White fly on vine tomatoes
  • Harvest and store 7 tomatoes
  • Overwinter 8 vine tomatoes

Grow and plant vine tomatoes

Vine tomatoes can be grown outdoors, on the balcony and on the terrace. Because of its compact growth, container keeping has become the most popular form of cultivation. Shrub tomatoes grow more in width than in height and require a corresponding planting distance of at least 80 centimeters.

➔ Site conditions

A bright and sunny location is ideal. The tomato plants should be exposed to the sun for at least eight hours a day. A location protected from rain and wind is to be selected. Likewise, vine tomatoes need an airy stand. Otherwise there is a risk that moisture builds up and fungal diseases occur.

Container plants feel most comfortable on a south-facing balcony. Outside areas facing west or east are also suitable for cultivating the bush tomato.

Auswählen Select substrate

Vine tomatoes are heavy feeders. As a result, the plants need a nutrient-rich substrate. The floor must be well drained so that moisture can drain off and no waterlogging occurs. The soil should also contain lime and if possible be slightly acidic. It is advisable to determine the pH of the substrate. This is between 6.5 and 7 in the ideal range.

Do the substrate test!
You can easily check for yourself whether the soil in the vegetable patch is suitable for growing vine tomatoes. Pick up the earth with your hands and try to make a ball out of it. If this does not succeed and the earth falls apart, the substrate for vine tomatoes is just right.

For the bucket, it makes sense to use commercially available tomato soil. This is particularly nutritious and tailored to the special needs of the plants.

The ideal substrate in brief:

  • relaxed
  • permeable
  • calcareous
  • nutritious
  • slightly acidic

➔ Planting tomatoes when?

When to plant vine tomatoes depends on the form of cultivation chosen. The cultivation in the bucket begins when the risk of night frost is averted. The planters can be set up outdoors from mid-May. If you have a frost-free greenhouse, you can plant your vine tomatoes in the ground from mid-April.

➔ Planting vine tomatoes - step by step

  1. Select location
  2. Prepare the soil
  3. Note planting distance (at least 80cm)
  4. Dig out the planting hole
  5. Use plants
  1. Close the planting hole
  2. Press the floor well
  3. Attach climbing aid
  4. Water the plant
Shrub tomatoes grow bushy. They mainly spread to the sides. Most vine tomatoes do not grow taller than half a meter. The climbing aid should be selected accordingly. You can use standard plastic tomato sticks or bamboo and metal sticks. The bush tomatoes can also be guided along trellises.

➔ Plant vine tomatoes in a bucket

© Superingo / stock.adobe.com Planters made of wood, clay or plastic are suitable for growing in a bucket. The plant pots should be of sufficient size. Depending on the variety, a volume of four to ten liters is optimal.

Note: The roots of the plants need enough leeway. Therefore, in case of doubt, it is better to choose the planter too large than too small.

It is also important to ensure that there are sufficient drain holes in the bottom of the vessel. The liquid must be able to drain freely because tomatoes cannot tolerate waterlogging. A drainage of pottery shards in the bottom of the vessel can improve the permeability of the substrate.

Planters with water storage supply the vine tomatoes with water constantly for days. Plant pots with water level indicators are ideal for checking irrigation.

➔ An overview of the most important planting tips

Select locationbright
Prepare the soilrelaxed
Make plantingOutdoor from mid-May
Greenhouse from mid-April
Note planting distance
Attach climbing aid

Vine tomatoes - 3 popular varieties

varietyHeight in cmparticularity
Losettoto 30intense taste
ideal traffic light plant
Maglia Rosauntil 100sweet and sour taste
Harvest early for better flavor
Extreme bushuntil 100sweet and juicy
big fruits

Maintain vine tomatoes

© Olesia / stock.adobe.com

➔ Pour vine tomatoes

The moisture requirement of vine tomatoes is high. At the same time, however, care must be taken to avoid over-supply so that there is no waterlogging. On hot and dry days, tomato plants should be watered twice a day. It is best to water in the morning and in the evening. Then the soil can best absorb the moisture.

When watering, it is important to always irrigate from below. The leaves of the vine tomatoes must not come into contact with the irrigation water. Rainwater is best tolerated by the tomato plants. Alternatively, lukewarm tap water can be used.

" Tip: Tap water should only be used stale so that the lime can settle.

Vine tomatoes pour in key words

  • keep evenly moist
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Water several times a day in summer
  • Water storage in planters is an advantage
  • preferably pour with rainwater

➔ Fertilize vine tomatoes

Vine tomatoes have a high nutrient requirement as heavy feeders. The fertilizers used depend on the form of cultivation. In the field, the substrate can be mixed with compost. If available, manure is also suitable as fertilizer for outdoor plants.

Vine tomatoes cultivated in a bucket receive liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks. Alternatively, fertilizer sticks or drops with long-term effects are commercially available.

In addition to conventional fertilizers, home remedies such as coffee grounds or nettle slurry can be used to strengthen the plants.

➔ vine tomatoes - cut or pickle?

The characteristic growth of the vine tomatoes is formed by several shoots. After the formation of leaves and flowers, the growth of the shoots stops. However, new shoots with more blooms and fruit heads are constantly emerging.

There are no typical miser drives, which limits the maintenance work. Vine tomatoes do not have to be cut or stripped.

Multiply vine tomatoes

Vine tomatoes can be propagated using cuttings or by sowing.

➔ Multiply vine tomatoes by cuttings

© Parilov / stock.adobe.com Since no suitable shoots result from the pickling, the cuttings must be cut from the side shoots. A cutting is about 15 centimeters long and is cut above the first branch.

Then proceed as follows:

  1. Prepare the planter
  2. Remove leaves from the cutting in the lower third
  3. Bring cuttings into the ground immediately
  4. Cultivation in vegetable soil is optimal
  5. use a small wooden stick as a climbing aid
  6. Place in a partially shaded location
  7. water generously from below

If the roots have spread out in the planter and there is hardly any soil left visible, it is high time to move to a larger planter or outdoors.

➔ Multiply vine tomatoes by sowing

© Petra Schuelle / stock.adobe.com The cultivation of vine tomatoes can start at the beginning of March. Cultivation pots made of peat or cellulose are suitable for sowing on the windowsill, as well as cultivation trays.

Sowing vine tomatoes - step by step

  1. Select planter
  2. Fill the planter with growing soil
  3. Spread the seeds over the surface
  4. Maintain a planting distance of about three centimeters
  5. Cover seeds with substrate
  6. Water the seeds carefully
  7. Cover the planter
  8. Keep substrate evenly moist
  9. Place the planter in a bright place
  10. Grow seeds at room temperature

" Tip: The cover of the planter should be regularly ventilated so that mold does not develop.

Germination begins after almost two weeks. Another two weeks later, the young plants have developed the first leaves and can now be pricked off. If a little liquid fertilizer is administered a few days before the pricking off, this is a strengthening for the young plants and they cope better with the intervention.

Prick out vine tomatoes - step by step

  1. Carefully loosen the soil around the plant
  2. Detach the seedling from the ground
  3. Free the seedling from the earth
  4. Control roots
  5. Shorten the roots to about two centimeters
  6. Place the seedling in your own planter
  7. Fill up the planter with soil
  8. Press on the substrate gently
  9. Water the young plant

" Tip: If the roots of the seedling are white and strong, everything is in perfect order. Seedlings with very thin or brownish roots should be discarded. It would be hard to expect any significant return.

Caring for young plants properly

The seedlings spend the first few days after transplanting in the protected interior. On the windowsill, the young plants can slowly get used to the sun's rays. From the end of April, the young vine tomatoes are allowed to go outside for hours.

The outside temperature should be at least eight degrees. The planters are placed in a partially shaded location. Avoid the direct midday sun. The young plants should be protected from rain and wind. In order to cultivate the young plants permanently outdoors, the night temperatures should not drop below ten degrees.

Vine tomatoes - identify and combat diseases and pests

© akiyoko / stock.adobe.com The most common causes of diseases or pest infestation on tomatoes are unfavorable weather conditions and maintenance errors by the hobby gardener.

The following diseases can occur:

  • Herb and brown rot
  • Powdery mildew
  • gray

➔ Herb and brown rot on vine tomatoes

This common tomato disease occurs mainly in wet and relatively cool summers. The first signs of the disease are brown spots on the leaves. In the further course the foliage covers a white patina. The leaves turn black and wither. The fruits spoil within a short time.

What should I do?
All parts of the plant affected must be removed immediately. Extracts from onion skins, garlic brew or horsetail broth have proven their worth as biological weapons.

Herb and brown rot can be prevented by protecting the tomato plants from rain and cultivating them in a sunny and airy location.

➔ Powdery mildew on vine tomatoes

Powdery mildew is promoted by a warm, humid climate. At first inconspicuous white spots appear on the leaves. These develop into a dense mushroom lawn. The fruits themselves are not infected, but can develop less well due to the lack of nutrients in the leaves.

What should I do?
The affected parts of the plants must be removed and disposed of. Liver moss extract can be administered as a tonic. When fertilizing, make sure that the preparations do not contain nitrogen. The affected plants are treated with a solution of milk and water every three days.

A mixed culture with chives, garlic or tagetes can counteract the infestation.

➔ Gray mold on vine tomatoes

If the infestation with gray mold is noticed, all infected plant parts must be removed. Since the fungus can survive on the compost, disposal in the household waste or direct burning is advisable.

The choice of a bright stand and watering from below without moisture coming into contact with the leaves of the shrub tomato can have a preventive effect.

➔ White fly on vine tomatoes

The whitefly is one of the most common animal pests that attack vine tomatoes. These are mini aphids that suck the juice from the leaves of the plants. This cuts off the food supply. The plant begins to wither and can wither completely.

Whiteflies are resistant to pesticides. Predators such as predatory bugs or parasitic wasps have proven themselves in the fight.

Harvest and store vine tomatoes

© maryviolet / stock.adobe.com The harvest time of the vine tomatoes begins when they no longer appear hard and green, but have taken on their typical color. The tomatoes have become softer and can be easily removed from the plant.

The fruits can be consumed immediately after harvesting. But they can also be stored. This should be done separately from other types of fruit and vegetables. Vine tomatoes have a high proportion of ethylene. The ripening gas would accelerate the ripening process of the surrounding fruits and vegetables.

Vine tomatoes do not belong in the fridge. The optimal storage temperature is 15 to 18 degrees. If the temperatures drop, this favors the putrefaction process.

" Attention: Only the fruits of the vine tomato plant may be consumed. The leaves and stems of the nightshade family are poisonous.

The flowers are also unsuitable for consumption. Fruits infested with pests must also not be eaten. The plants increasingly develop toxins to ward off the pests.

Hibernate vine tomatoes

Tomatoes are not actually thought to be hardy and most hobby gardeners dispose of their vine tomatoes after harvesting. However, it is not impossible - especially the compact vine tomatoes can be overwintered. If you want to face the challenge, proceed as follows:

  1. Bring plants indoors in autumn
  2. choose a bright location
  3. Temperatures between ten and 15 degrees
  4. Adjust fertilization
  5. Keep substrate evenly moist

In an unheated winter garden, vine tomatoes are preferred for the winter. If a location with less brightness is found, the use of plant lamps is advisable.