Cordon tomatoes

How to grow cordon tomatoes

Get advice on growing cordon tomatoes, including tips on pinching out sideshoots, watering and feeding.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Many tomato varieties are known as ‘cordon’ or ‘indeterminate’ varieties, which means that they are trained as one main stem that can reach over 2m tall. Sideshoots are removed as they appear. ‘Bush’ or ‘determinate’ varieties don’t require any training.

Read our guide to sowing tomato seeds.

Learn how to raise your cordon crop, in our step-by-step guide.

Many tomato varieties are known as 'cordon' or 'indeterminate' varieties, which means that they are trained as one main stem.

You will need

  • Tomato plants
  • Growing bags
  • Twine
  • Canes
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Total time:

Step 1

Plant young tomatoes into greenhouse borders or growing bags when 20-30cm tall. Heap up the soil around the stem, to encourage more roots to form.

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Step 2

Tie in the main stem to a robust cane, to keep it supported. Loop some soft string or twine in a figure of eight around the stem to create a buffer between the two. Don’t tie too tightly as the stem will expand as it grows.

Step 3

Check your plants daily, tying them in as they grow. Pinch out any new sideshoots (little stems that appear where the leaf stem joins the main stem) to ensure all of the plant’s energy goes into producing flowers and fruit. Remove the growing tip once four flower trusses have formed.

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Step 4

As temperatures rise, water your plants whenever you think they need it – daily or every other day, depending on the temperature. Tomatoes benefit from additional feeding; in particular potash (found in specialised tomato feeds) will keep the plants cropping well. Check the label of the tomato feed you buy to see how frequently you should use it.

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Pot up your sideshoots

Try rooting the sideshoots that you have picked off in water, then pot them up to raise new plants.