TikTok's Trellis-Weaving Technique That Will Do Wonders For Your Tomato Plants

Tomatoes are a staple of summer gardens, and with the right care, many varieties grow to be enormous and productive plants. In many cases, the plants become so large and heavy that it's a challenge to support them. Luckily, the "Florida weave," also known as the basket weave, one of TikTok's favorite trellising techniques, can support multiple plants easily.

Tomato plants can range in size from dwarf varieties that don't grow past 4 feet and can be easily supported with a basic wire tomato cage to massive indeterminate tomatoes that can grow more than 10 feet tall and require significant support and infrastructure to keep upright. Regardless of your tomato plant's ultimate size, growing the best tomatoes in your garden requires soil with a slightly acidic pH and plenty of organic material as tomatoes are heavy feeders. Tomatoes also require full sun and temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit to grow well.

How to create a Florida weave

Creating a Florida weave trellis to support your tomatoes is a simple process and requires only string or twine, some stakes, and, of course, your small tomato plants. Be sure to choose stakes that are strong enough and tall enough to support your plant when it reaches its ultimate size. Mark out a straight row where you want to plant your tomatoes and measure to ensure there will be at least a foot of space between each plant. Plant your tomatoes and insert the stakes at both ends of the row as well as between every few tomato plants along the row. Bury the stakes at least 6 inches deep. 

Once you've planted your tomatoes and placed your stakes, you're ready to weave. Tie your string to the post at the end of the row and then weave it between each tomato plant, making sure to make an extra loop around each stake to help secure the string. Once you've reached the end of the row, wrap the string around the stake at the end and then go back down the row weaving the string between the plants again so each tomato plant is supported on each side. Tie the string off when you reach the stake you started on. As your plants grow, repeat the weaving every 6 inches or so.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Florida weave

The Florida weave method of tomato trellising can be a great option as it supports multiple plants with just a few stakes. As long as the stakes are strong enough and are inserted deep enough into the soil, they can support even large plants. The Florida weave method does require the plants to be grown in a row though, unlike some other techniques to support your tomato plants and works best if you're growing multiple plants that will all reach a similar size.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension notes that indeterminate tomato varieties can sometimes grow so tall that supporting them with a Florida weave trellis can become challenging and the plants may need to be cut back. If you prefer not to top your tomatoes, then another option recommended is overhead trellises to support these very large plants. This method requires more complex infrastructure though as the tomato plants are twisted around a string that hangs down from a wire or beam above the tomato plants.