How To Tomato Plant Care Tomatoes

How to use tomato cages effectively

Tomato plants grow upwards quickly when they get support. Besides, they become heavier after holding some matured fruit clusters on the plants. Therefore, tomato cages provide excellent support to set them upwards and save them from unexpected soil-borne diseases.

When should I put cages on my tomato plants?

Cage your tomato plants after transplanting them outdoors. Don’t make delay more than one week after transplanting your tomato seedlings.

However, transplanted tomato seedlings take 7 to 10 days to recover from the transplanting stress. Then they start growing rapidly.

So, if you can’t set up the cage over tomato plants in time, they will grow taller. And taller tomato plants have more chances of toppling over the ground. In addition, once the plant leaves contact with the ground, it will be more susceptible to soil-borne fungal diseases.

Therefore, I recommend you cage your tomatoes within the first week after transplanting. Besides, early caging works as excellent support for tomatoes to grow well.

How to select suitable varieties for caging tomatoes?

Choosing suitable tomato varieties is the most critical factor for caging tomatoes. Determinate tomatoes need low height caging around 3 to 5 feet tall.

On the contrary, indeterminate tomatoes need more significant and robust cages, around 6 to 8 feet tall. So, pick the proper cells according to your tomato varieties.

Which is better, tomato cage or stake?

Tomato staking and caging, both supporting methods, have some advantages and challenges. Besides some other factors may vary which way will suit you best. So, you can’t say any specific approach is best before concerning the following factors.

Tomato varieties:

Determinate and semi-determinate tomatoes grow at a certain height and start producing fruit. So, you can use low-height stakes or cages around 4 to 5 feet.

Indeterminate tomatoes continue growing over the season. So, you need to set longer and sturdier stakes or cages around 6 to 8 feet tall.

Strength of stakes and cages

If you use cheap ring cages, they will be less sturdy to hold large, matured tomato plants with fruits. In that case, you can use rebar instead of cages to stake your tomatoes.

On the other hand, if you can manage thicker and sturdier cages to support your tomatoes, variety doesn’t matter.

Pruning ratio

Staking tomatoes need regular pruning; most of the time, you must grow the plants to one main stem. Caging tomatoes may also need pruning if the cage is not robust enough.

However, heavy and more substantial tomato cages don’t need pruning.


Tomato staking or caging also depends on how much money you want to spend on your garden. You can minimize your cost if you buy some bulk stakes from a gardening store or online store. Besides, the quality and material also vary the price.

Homemade caging costs around ten dollars or more for each cage. They last longer, around 4 to 5 years, if you store them properly over the winter. However, you have calculated your time and labor with the cost.

Store-brought cages are comparatively more expensive than homemade cages. Moreover, the costs vary depending on your chosen materials and brand. The store brought cages also last longer if you store them properly.

How many tomato plants per cage?

No matter how big or small your cage sizes are, each cage should contain one tomato plant to grow well.

Different sizes of cages are used for different tomato varieties. Usually, indeterminate, heirloom, or vine-type tomato varieties need larger sizes of tomato cages. This is because these types of tomatoes continue growing over the season until the first frosts kill them. So they need larger sizes of cages.

On the other hand, determinate, semi-determinate, or bush-type tomato varieties need comparatively smaller tomato cages. This is because they stop growing after a certain height, around 3 to 5 feet, and start producing fruits.

How big should the tomato cage be?

Determinate and semi-determinate tomatoes need cages around 14 to 20 inches wide and about 4 to 5 feet tall.

Conversely, indeterminate tomato varieties need cages about 14 to 20 inches wide and a height of around 6 to 8 feet.

Do I need tomato cages?

Tomato plants become heavier when producing fruits. They will start sprawling over the ground during fruiting if they don’t get any support to grow upwards.

When the tomato plants have contact with the ground, they will be more susceptible to soil-borne diseases and rotten tomatoes. So, you can’t make a good harvest and fresh fruits without setting any cages or other supports on your tomato plants.

Do determinate tomatoes need cages?

Some determinate tomato plant stems are sturdy enough to take the extra load of fruits if the plants’ height and sizes are small. In that case, they don’t need any cages to support them.

Like dwarf or patio varieties, they can grow without cages because they never grow more than 3 feet, and the fruit sizes are petite. And most of the time, they are grown in containers or pots in the home garden.

On the other hand, some other determinate or semi-determinate tomato varieties can grow 4 to 5 feet tall. But, due to their height, they can’t take the extra load of fruits during the harvest. So, they need cages.

However, cages support your tomatoes and save the plants from unexpected diseases. Moreover, they ensure fresh and clean fruits.

Do cherry tomato plants need cages?

Bushy-type cherry tomatoes don’t need cages because their stems are strong enough to support the plant’s uprights. But the vine-type cherry tomatoes need supporting cages.

Do Roma tomatoes need cages?

Roma tomatoes are determinate in type but perform well when they get supporting cages.

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John Michael
John Michael is a self-help writer and a hobby gardener. Michael’s passion in writing is to inspire the beginner gardeners to not just “hang in there” or “make it through” but to thrive. He does this through blogging.

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