Tomato plants die back during the winter months, so if you leave your plant outdoors, it will be at risk of being severely damaged and may die or will look pretty ratty come the spring. Although tomato plants are perennials in most places, the climate is too cold for the plants to grow in winter, and they will die. For this reason, most people grow tomatoes as annuls.
There are a few ways to keep your tomatoes happy through the cold weather. Let’s look at what to do with potted tomato plants in winter.
How to overwinter tomatoes
There are many ways to overwinter a tomato plant so that it survives the winter and will continue to grow again the following spring. The method you use will depend on which tomato variety you’re growing, what the climate is like where you live, and whether you have a greenhouse. Tomato plants will die if the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s best to bring your plant indoors if the temperature is likely to fall below 50F.
How you care for your potted tomato plant will be very different depending on whether you’re growing a small cherry tomato variety or a tall plant.
What to do with potted tomato plants in winter: Decks, balconies, and porches
One way to keep your tomatoes happy during the winter is to bring them onto your deck or balcony. If you are lucky enough to have a covered area on your porch that gets some light, you can also leave them there. You will want to make sure the temperatures do not get too low, or your plants might freeze. If you have an uncovered porch, they will need to be brought indoors when it gets cold.
What to do with potted tomato plants in winter: Move Indoors
If you are unlucky enough to have your tomatoes outside and it freezes for more than an hour, bring your pots inside immediately! The worse thing you can do is leave them where they are. If you bring them inside your home or greenhouse, make sure they are in a warm, well-lit area and open the pots up to help them dry out if necessary.
You will want to make sure they get some light every day if possible. If you can’t put them in a sunny area, just bring them out for an hour or so every day to let them soak up some of that winter sunlight!
Take cuttings from your tomato plant
Bringing your tomato plant indoors may be ok if you’re growing a small variety of tomatoes that can easily sit on your windowsill. If your tomato plant is large and needs to be held up by stakes, you probably won’t want to bring it into your home.
In this case, you can take a few cuttings from your tomato plant and root them in water. You’ll have a head start on the growing season as you’ll soon have plants for next year. Just ensure you keep them somewhere they will not freeze.
- Take three of four cuttings from your tomato plant, which are a length of between 6 and 12 inches long.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom 4 inches of the cutting.
- Place the cutting in water and wait for roots to grow. It’s a good idea to change the water weekly.
- Once roots have grown, you can plant your new tomato plant in a pot.
Look after your young plant carefully, provide water regularly, but don’t overwater. Also, ensure that it’s getting enough light.
You can acclimatize your plant in the early spring by moving it outside in the morning sun and bringing it inside at night when it gets cooler. Don’t leave your plant outside full time until the temperature is at least 50F.
If you follow these tips for protecting your potted tomatoes through the winter, you will have healthy plants ready to go outside again come spring. Alternatively, take cuttings from your tomato plants and grow them indoors in the winter
months. In the early spring, you can fertilize your tomato plant, and once the nighttime temperatures rise above 50F, you can move your plant back outside.