Should You Bring Tomato Plants Indoors For The Winter?

Tomatoes are an engaging plant to enjoy all throughout the warm months of the year. However, when winter is on the horizon, you must make a choice on whether to try to preserve them or let them die off as the weather grows colder. If planted in pots, you may be able to keep them alive, but if they are in your garden, you might only be able to save a portion.

When you grow tomatoes, you go from watching their tiny leaves sprout and blossom each day little by little until they eventually bloom buds. Soon enough, little tomatoes appear and bulk up until you can pick ripe red tomatoes right off the vine. It's a gratifying effort, but all those months of work put into helping these bountiful plants grow can feel like a death when the weather turns cold.

You can bring your tomato plants indoors when the weather dips cold. If the tomatoes are planted in your garden, you won't be able to bring the entire plant inside, but you can propagate the plant from cuttings into an indoor pot. Add 3-4 cuttings into a jar of water placed in a sunny window and allow the roots to grow. Then, plant them in a pot with nutrient-dense soil. 

How to keep tomato plants alive indoors during the winter

If your tomatoes have been in pots all along, you can simply move the pots inside. Keep in mind that tomatoes that have been bearing fruit all summer won't keep doing so throughout the winter, but by bringing them indoors, you can prolong the time that they do.

The best time to plant tomatoes is in warm weather and they grow optimally outdoors so you'll need to replicate inside what normally takes place outside. This is most important in terms of sunlight and warmth. Tomatoes should be placed in windows that have exposure to the most consistent and strongest sunlight available. They also need to be kept in temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pay special attention to any drafts that the plants may be exposed to whether from drafty windows or doors. Though a sunlit window may be good, if there is a draft it can quickly backfire and kill tomatoes. If it's not possible to keep your home at the temperatures needed, heating lamps can come in handy. When warm temperatures come back in spring, place your pots outside in the sun during the warmest parts of the day and slowly lengthen the time spent outside until they can stay outdoors all day where you can continue to grow them in pots or plant them back in your garden.