How To Properly Tomato Support and Tie Tomato Plants (& 5 Common Mistakes)


Tomatoes are a popular crop for gardeners, but they need the right help and care to grow well and produce a lot of fruit. Without the right support, tomato plants can become unwieldy and prone to disease, and their fruit can be damaged or lost.

In this article, I’ll talk about how to tie and support tomato plants so that they grow and produce as much as possible. I’ll also highlight three common mistakes that gardeners make when supporting their tomato plants and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, understanding how to support your tomato plants can help you achieve a bountiful harvest.

Continue to learn more!

Use stakes to support tomato plants

Why Should You Tie and Support Tomato Plants?

Tomato plants are vining plants that can grow up to 6 feet tall or more. As they grow, they produce heavy fruit that can weigh down the branches and cause them to bend or break. Without proper support, the weight of the fruit can also cause the stem to snap, which can lead to stunted growth and a reduced yield.

Additionally, tying and supporting tomato plants can also promote better air circulation and help to prevent diseases like blight, which thrive in moist, humid environments. By keeping the plants upright and off the ground, you can also reduce the risk of pests like slugs and snails, which can damage the fruit and foliage.

Proper support for tomato plants

How to support bush and vine tomatoes?

The two types of tomatoes, determinate (bush tomatoes) and indeterminate (vine tomatoes), both need staking, but for different reasons.

1. Bush Tomatoes

Bush varieties for tomatoes

Bush tomatoes grow in a compact, bushy shape and do not require staking or support. There are so many recommendations for eating bush tomatoes.

Supporting bush tomatoes with a metal cage and square mesh netting is a great way to keep them upright and prevent them from sprawling on the ground.

  • Choose a sturdy metal cage: Choose a metal cage that is strong and tall enough to support your bush tomatoes as they grow.
  • You can purchase a metal cage from a garden centre or make one yourself using metal wire or stakes.
  • Place the cage over the plant: Place the cage over the plant when it is still small so that the plant grows up through the cage. This will help to prevent damage to the plant later on.
  • Attach the square mesh netting: Once the plant has grown through the cage, attach square mesh netting around the outside of the cage to provide additional support. The netting should be attached at the bottom of the cage and pulled tight around the plant.
  • Tie up the branches: As the plant grows, tie up the branches to the cage and netting using garden twine or soft plant ties. This will prevent the branches from sagging or breaking under the weight of the tomatoes.
  • Continue to monitor the plant: Check the plant regularly to ensure that it is growing properly and that the branches are tied up securely. Adjust the ties and netting as necessary to provide the best support for your bush tomatoes.

2. Vine Tomatoes

Vine varieties of tomatoes

Vining tomatoes grow tall and require some form of support to keep them from falling over. To support tomato vines, you can use stakes, cages, Florida weave, or trellises.

Here are some general guidelines for each method.

  • Single Stakes: For this method, you will need to drive a stake into the ground next to each tomato plant and then tie the plant to the stake using twine or other soft material.

As the plant grows taller, you will need to continue tying it to the stake at regular intervals to keep it upright. This method is simple and effective, but it requires more individual attention and maintenance.

Stakes are a good option for small gardens and require you to tie the plant to the stake as it grows.

  • Florida Weave: For this method, you will need to drive two stakes into the ground on either side of a row of tomato plants. Then, you will weave twine or string in a figure-eight pattern between the stakes, looping it around each plant as you go.

As the plants grow taller, you will need to add additional layers of string at regular intervals. This method is relatively easy and efficient, but it requires more upfront setup.

  • Square Mesh Netting: For this method, you will need to attach a square mesh netting to a frame or stakes that are positioned above the tomato plants. The netting should be hung loosely over the plants, allowing them to grow through the openings.

As the plants grow taller, you will need to train them to grow up through the netting and tie them to the frame or stakes as necessary.

This method is great for larger-scale operations, but it requires more setup and may be less suitable for smaller gardens.

  • Trellis/Fencing: For this method, you will need to attach a trellis or fencing to stakes that are positioned on either side of a row of tomato plants. The plants should be tied to the trellis or fencing as they grow, encouraging them to grow upward instead of outward.

Vertical gardening can be done with a trellis, but you have to train the plant to grow up the trellis.

How To Properly Tie Tomatoes?

Tie up tomato plants with threads

Tying tomatoes is an important part of tomato plant care that helps support the plant and ensure that it grows strong and healthy.

Here’s how to properly tie tomatoes with tying material:

  • Soft, stretchy twine: This is a popular material for tying tomatoes as it is gentle on the stem and allows for flexibility as the plant grows.
  • Garden tape: Garden tape is a stretchy and durable material that is easy to use and provides good support for the plant. It can be easily cut to size and is also weather-resistant.
  • Velcro plant ties: Velcro ties are reusable and adjustable, making them a good choice for plants that require frequent adjustments. They are gentle on the plant and easy to use.
  • Biodegradable twine or string: This is an environmentally friendly option that is made from natural materials like jute or hemp. It is gentle on the plant and will break down over time, reducing the need for cleanup.
  • Cloth strips or strips of old t-shirts: This is a low-cost option that can be easily found at home. It is gentle on the plant and can be cut to size.
  • Plant twist ties: Plant twist ties are flexible and easy to use. They can be twisted around the plant and provide good support. However, they can sometimes be too tight and damage the stem if left on too long.
  • Bamboo stakes with natural fibre twine: Bamboo stakes are a sturdy and natural option for supporting tomato plants. The twine is soft and biodegradable, making it gentle on the plant and the environment.

Choosing the right tying material is important for the health and support of your tomato plant, so consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid

Pruning for tomato plants

Tying up tomatoes is an essential part of tomato cultivation. It helps keep the plant upright and supports the weight of the fruit.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid when tying up tomatoes:

  1. Tying too tightly: When tying up tomatoes, avoid tying the plant too tightly. It can restrict the growth of the plant and damage the stem. Use a loose knot that allows for some movement and growth.
  2. Using the wrong material: Using the wrong material can harm the plant. Avoid using wire or twine that can cut into the stem. Instead, use soft ties like garden twine, strips of fabric, or plant ties to avoid damaging the stem.
  3. Tying too late: Tomato plants need to be tied up when they are still small, so they grow up with the support. If you wait too long, the stem may be too thick and difficult to tie, and the plant may already be damaged.
  4. Not pruning enough: It’s important to prune your tomato plants regularly to keep them healthy and focused on producing fruit. If the plant has too many leaves, it will be harder to tie up and support.
  5. Not checking the ties regularly: Once you’ve tied up your tomatoes, it’s important to check them regularly to ensure the ties are still in place and not cutting into the stem. As the plant grows, the ties may need to be adjusted to prevent damage.


Tying up tomato plants is an important part of keeping your garden healthy and beautiful. But, if done incorrectly, this task can be dangerous and even harmful to the plants themselves.

This is a basic guide on how to properly tie and support tomato plants. I hope that this helps you get started with your own tomato garden! …

Thanks for reading!

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