Easily Grow Tomatoes Indoors With Lights (9 Simple Steps)

How to grow tomatoes indoors with lights
How to grow tomatoes indoors with lights

Tomatoes are typically grown outdoors in the ground, but with the use of artificial lighting and a few other items, growing tomato plants indoors is easy

The indoor tomato plant grows quickly and can be transplanted into an outdoor garden once it reaches the size you desire.

Getting started is simple and below we have laid out a step by step guide to making growing tomato plants indoors using light simple

Below is what we’ll cover in this guide:

Step 1: Choose the Best Tomato Variety to Grow Indoors.

There are a few factors to consider before selecting a tomato variety. The most important consideration is to select a variety that is naturally resistant to pathogens.

However, you also need to choose whether to grow a determinate (bush) or indeterminate tomato plant (vine) that will affect the plant’s size, how much time you’ll need to devote to its care and maintenance, and when you want it harvested.

Our recommended list of tomato varieties to try is:

Determinate Tomato Plants 

Determinate tomatoes are ideal for people who want a small, easy-to-grow tomato plant.

When growing tomato plants indoors using light then this is we recommend going for determinate tomato plants. They grow to a specific size before stopping and are a good option for container plants or anywhere with just a limited amount of space (like your living room!).

With determinate varieties, you have a smaller plant that may not need stakes or a tomato cage. And while their fruits will ripen early, they will often produce all at once, meaning you have a short season.

This makes it a good choice for people who want to grow a tomato in a small space and don’t want to wait until the end of the season.

This is a list of the indoor tomato varieties, which are either hybrid or heirloom. These varieties can be determinate, indeterminate, and determinate again.

Indeterminate tomatoes are not all the same as they come in different sizes, and they may or may not ripen off of the plant at the same time. They grow into large plants and take much longer to mature.

Determinate tomatoes all produce their fruit at one time, typically from June until August.

  • Celebrity – Hybrid varieties that produce vines that grow quickly and can hold at least 20 large, full tomatoes
  • Tiny Tim – This is a type of cherry tomato that is relatively easy to grow and produce, in terms of fruit size and quality, and they’re ideal for window box and hanging baskets or small garden spaces.
  • Small Fry – a dwarf variety, perfect for small containers
  • Patio – a sturdy, dwarf variety of grasses that grow to about two feet tall. It’s hardy, so it doesn’t need additional support.
  • Baxter’s Early Bush – A heirloom tomato, determinate, 70-72 days, cherry red, (1 ½” round).
  • Silvery Fir Tree – Heirloom, determinate, 55-60 days, orange/red, small-fruited (up to 3” across).

Indeterminate Tomato Plants

You may be wondering what makes indeterminate tomato plants so different from determinate tomatoes.

Indeterminate tomatoes will keep on growing and producing until the weather is too cold for their growing conditions.

In this case, you will likely need to create them and stake them with metal rebar stakes to keep them stable.

Indeterminate varieties are beneficial for a longer period of time than their determinate counterparts because they produce fruit throughout the year. 

However, if you’re planning to plant them indoors, you should go for smaller varieties, such as cherry tomatoes.

  • Pink Ping Pong – Heirloom, indeterminate, The fruit is the size of ping pong balls, and hence the name.
  • Yellow Pear – Heirloom, indeterminate, bright yellow colour, pear-shaped cherry.
  • Tommy Toe – Heirloom tomato, indeterminate, 70 days, bright red, cherry Tommytoe is a heirloom, hardy, disease resistant, fruit-carrying, cherry tomato. 
  • Better Boy – known for superior flavor, typically ripens in around 70 days
  • Early Girl  – medium-sized, popular with indoor gardeners because it fruits quickly
  • Big Boy – large and bright Red is a great variety for summer and fall

Step 2: Picking The Right Potting Mix

Choosing the right potting mix for tomato plants is easy. You can choose from three different types of potting mixes. The first is a standard starting mix.

These mixes contain a little bit of sand, compost, and peat moss. They also have a good amount of fertilizer for healthy growth.

The second type is a potting mix. Potting mixes are similar to the standard starting mixes, but they also contain sand and peat moss.

They also have some compost in them. The third type of potting mix is a soil mix.

Soil mixes are made from just soil, so they are free from additives such as peat moss and compost. However, they do not have any nutrients.

All types of soil can be used for your plants. Ensuring that your plant has proper drainage is the most important thing to do.

Step 4: The best lights for growing tomato plants indoors

It’s the most confusing for indoor gardeners but once you have a good understanding of what makes a good grow light, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when choosing one for your garden.

Fluorescent

Generally, fluorescent grow lights are less expensive to purchase. However, You’ll likely notice fewer tomatoes when you use fluorescent lights because most fluorescent lights won’t give off full-spectrum light.

HID (high-intensity discharge)scent

HID lights are designed to grow plants quickly and efficiently. They have a much higher lumen output than other types of lamps, making them ideal for a professional grow operation.

The HPS and MH lamps are used in conjunction with each other in a grow room.

LED

In a nutshell, the best LED grow lights use the least amount of power and will provide full-spectrum light.

They are safer because they don’t produce hot surface temperatures like other types of lights.

They are fully integrated so you can leave them on all the time and there’s no need to purchase and replace extra bulbs. These are the bulbs my hydroponic setup uses, too.

What Colour Grow Lights Should I Use For Tomatoes Plants?

Both warm (Red) and cool (Blue) lights are needed for the full development of tomatoes plants.

Blue light aids in fruit development. Growers often use full-spectrum bulbs which allow for both warm and cool lights, so there’s no need to invest in separate devices for each.

Grow lights can vary in their light output. Higher numbers generally mean brighter lights and are more appropriate for larger growing areas.

When it comes to intensity, around 7000 lumens are ideal for tomato growth.

How many hours of light do indoor tomatoes need?

Similar to growing your plants outside, growing your tomato plants indoors under the light will still require eight hours of light per day. When growing them indoors, you can give them more or less depending on your needs. 

Step 5: Watering Your Tomato Plants indoors

Tomatoes should be watered at least once a day in the heat and sunshine. The best way to grow tomatoes indoors is to stick your finger in the soil.

If your upper knuckle is wet, you should water it. You should try to keep your pot moist. Tomatoes can split or blossom end rot if there is too little or too much watering.

Step 6: Fertilize Your indoor Tomato Plants

If you want to get more tomatoes, you’ll have to provide some consistent food. One of the best things to give tomatoes is Miracle-Gro, which has a number of different nutrients.

The best place to start is to use a weekly feeding of Miracle-Gro, but you can also use a small amount of liquid kelp or fish emulsion.

There are a number of factors that can cause you to need more or less fertilizer. If they’re producing a lot of leaves and less fruit, you may have too much or too little nitrogen.

If the leaves start to yellow or your flowers aren’t developing, you may need more.

Step 7: Hand Pollinate Your Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are capable of pollinating themselves. Instead of having a pair or more, you could grow a single tomato plant at home.

You need to help pollinate to maximize your yields when you grow indoors. There are a few ways you can do this.

You can use a paintbrush, cotton swab, or electric toothbrush around the flowers. You can shake the stems or gently tap them.

One easy and less intrusive way to help pollinate your tomatoes is by putting an oscillating fan next to them.

The fan should not be on the plants, but it can help the tomato plant move and pollinate itself in the faux breeze.

This will help protect your tomato plant from disease and improve the air circulation around the tomato plants.

Step 8: Pruning Your Tomato Plants

To produce more tomatoes, you should prune your tomato plants. The main reason to prune your tomato plants is to redirect energy to your leaves so they can produce more fruit.

Pruning sucks, but removing suckers is important because they block airflow. Pruning is essential when working with indeterminate varieties.

Step 9: Harvesting Your Tomatoes

It’s really easy to judge when your tomatoes are ripe and ready to harvest. The green leaves should turn yellow at the bottom of the plant.

Then, the fruit will start to ripen. Once this happens, you should test the tomatoes. If they are soft and squishy, it’s time to harvest them. To make sure you get good tomatoes from the garden, you should check the firmness of each tomato. 

Harvesting your tomatoes is easy. You can select the tomato fruit by holding it in your hand and gently pulling the stem off, or you can snap it off right at the calyx, the leaf-like structure at the top. You can break the stem right above the calyx. 

Once you have removed the tomatoes from the plant they are ready to east. Or can be kept in the refrigerator until later

Hopefully, this post has given you everything you need to get started growing your tomatoes indoors using lights. Below are some additional questions you might find helpful.

Frequently asked Tomato Plant about growing tomato plants indoors using lights

Can You Grow Tomatoes Indoors With LED Lights?

Yes, you can. Growing your own vegetables has never been easier thanks to LED lights.

They give you full control of your plants’ lighting, meaning you can grow tomatoes in winter, and even though a heatwave in summer, without needing to worry about the plants overheating. 

LEDs also consume less energy than HPS bulbs. Although LED grow lights are safer for plants than the sun in terms of heat damage, they will still affect the temperature of your crop, which is critical in growing healthy crops.

Make sure that you keep an eye on your crop’s temperature throughout its growth cycle, and adjust accordingly if necessary.

What are the benefits of growing tomatoes indoors?

Growing tomatoes indoors is beneficial for those who live in climates that are too cold to grow tomatoes outdoors. Indoor growing also enables people to produce a greater number of tomatoes, which is helpful for those who want to preserve their harvest from year to year.

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