Think of tomato cages as scaffolding: You need a support system to keep vines from sagging (or snapping off) under the weight of heavy fruit. Match the right size cage (or trellis, obelisk, or tepee) to the kind of tomatoes you’re growing.
Cherry tomatoes can grow in containers against a flat trellis. Large beefsteak varieties will fill their cages and need sturdy galvanized wire or steel supports with large openings to make it easy to reach in to pick fruit. Plum tomatoes, depending on the size and variety, can grow in tepees, obelisks, or A-frame trellises.
Tip: Be sure to space tomato cages at least three feet apart to allow air to circulate around mature plants.
Here are 13 tomato support systems to consider this summer.
Cages Above: A set of four sturdy 10-gauge-wire Tomato Cages with eight-inch-square openings (so you easily can get your hand inside to snag a ripe beefsteak). The 39-inch-high cages fold flat for winter storage and are available in four colors, including black (shown) and green (in the featured photo at top). A set is $59.95 from Gardener’s Supply. Above: Suitable for use to support dwarf varieties of cherry tomatoes, green iron Cage Plant Supports come in two sizes (about 17.5 and 23 inches high, respectively); £32.99 and £39.99 at Crocus. Above: A 54-inch galvanized wire frame Panacea Heavy-Duty Tomato Cage has a tapered silhouette, with a top ring measuring 16 inches in diameter; $4.49 from Southern States. Above: A 47-inch triangular Tomato Cage made of vinyl-coated steel folds flat for storage; $6.48 at Lowe’s.
Obelisks Above: Made of raw metal designed to rust over time, a large Barrington Obelisk Plant Support measures 13 inches in diameter and is nearly 71 inches tall; £50 from Garden Trading. Above: A 52.75-inch-tall Steel Climbing Obelisk with a wax coating will develop a red-brown patina and is €69 from Manufactum. Above: A 59-inch-tall black steel Byland Obelisk has a decorative teardrop finial; £26.99 from Crocus.
Tepees Above: A triangular Heavy Duty Tomato Cage from Mr. Garden has 23.5-inch rust-resistant steel stakes (making it a suitable support for cherry tomato bushes); $14.35 via Amazon. Above: A 72-inch Teepee Peeled Willow Plant Support is sturdy enough for tomatoes and has an adjustable width of up to 48 inches; $17.28 at Home Depot.
Trellises for Containers Above: A steel frame Trellis designed for growing container tomatoes on a balcony or in a small space has polypropylene cords for tomato vines to climb; €40. The trellis legs sit inside a window box or soft growing sack (a black Cotton Soil Sack Cover is sold separately for €35); both are available from Manufactum. Above: Sized to fit two bush-variety tomatoes, a Classic Tomato Planter has vented sides and is $101.15 from Gardener’s Supply.
A-Frame Trellises Above: A 48-inch Cucumber Support Frame also can be used to train cherry tomatoes; it is $24.99 from Gardener’s Edge. Above: A Fold Out A-Frame Vegetable Support is 18 inches wide (suitable for use in a four-by-four-foot raised garden bed) and is made from galvanized steel. It is $8.99 from Gardener’s Edge.
See more tips for growing tomatoes successfully at
Tomatoes: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design
and see our curated
Garden Design 101
guides for more edibles to plant in this year’s garden, including
Finally, learn how to successfully design and create an edible garden with our
Hardscaping 101: Edible Gardens guide.