How to Use Cone-Shaped Tomato Cages

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to Use Cone-Shaped Tomato Cages
Cages keep tomatoes vines upright during growth. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tomato cages provide support for the branches and fruit of your tomato plant. Not all tomato varieties are suited to cage growing. Use cages with determinate tomato varieties, which only grow to a certain height, so they are less likely to outgrow the cage. Manufactured cages have a cone shape that's narrow at the bottom and wide at the top. Horizontal wires provide support for the plant. Choose sturdy cages with wire openings that are large enough to reach through to harvest the tomatoes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stake
  • Plant tie

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  1. 1

    Select a cage that matches the expected mature height of the tomato plant. Use a 3- or 4-foot cone cage for dwarf or shorter varieties and a 5-foot cone cage for taller varieties.

  2. 2

    Place the cage over the tomato plant after you have planted the seedling in the garden. Installing the cage at planting prevents root damage that can occur during the cage stake installation. Set the cage so the narrow end is at the bottom.

  3. 3

    Push the cage into the ground. Cages have 3 or 4 wires protruding from the bottom that act as anchoring stakes. Push the cage down until the bottom ring of the cage rests on the soil surface.

  4. 4

    Drive a 2-foot-tall wooden stake 12 inches into the ground behind the cage. Position the stake so it sits right up against the cage.

  5. 5

    Tie the cage to the wooden stake. The stake further anchors the cage so it doesn't fall over during windstorms or from the mature tomatoes' weight.

Tips and warnings

  • Pinch the top of the tomato stem once it grows to the top of the cage. Pinching prevents upward growth and encourages lateral branching, which prevents the tomato from outgrowing the cage.

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