How to Grow Roma Tomatoes (Easy Care Guide for Newbies!)

Whether you love cooking red sauces at home or have a knack for canning, Roma tomatoes are always a top choice! But do you know how to make them super productive even in containers? Here is what I do!

Grow Roma tomato plants with 1) 5–10 gal pots with draining holes, 2) rich well-draining potting mix, 3) approximately 75–120 oz of water weekly, 4) at least 6–8 hours of full sun, 5) temperatures within 60–90°F, 6) humidity levels around 45–70%, and 7) regular application of a complete fertilizer every 2–4 weeks once fruits are visible.

As a hybrid determinate variety, Roma tomatoes have developed certain resistance to diseases. However, it’s important to minimize the chances of these plants getting sick by knowing the right growing conditions for them. So continue scrolling!

Roma Tomato Care Guide Table (Ready to Print!)

Common NameRoma tomato
Scientific NameSolanum lycopersicum ‘Roma’
Perennial/AnnualPerennial in warm weather
Annual due to harsh winters
Planter5–10+ gallon plastic pot
Soil CompositionWell-draining rich loamy soil
5.8–6.8 pH
Watering75–120 oz of water per week
Daily only for very hot & dry summer days
LightFull sun for 6–8 hours
Grow light for 14–18 hours
FertilizerComplete fertilizer 1–2 times a month
(Spring to summer)
Common PestsAphids
Cabbage loopers
Flea beetles
Potato beetles
Sap beetles
Tomato fruitworms
Common DiseasesAlternaria stem canker
Bacterial spot
Blossom-end rot
Early blight
Late blight
Root-knot nematodes
Septoria leaf spot
Tobacco mosaic virus
Disease ResistanceFusarium wilt
Verticillium wilt
Care Guide for Roma Tomato Plants
Simple Roma Tomato Care Guide – Infographic
Simple Roma Tomato Care Guide – Infographic

1. Planter

A Roma tomato plant can be grown in containers as small as 5 gallons because it is a determinate variety. Clay, fabric, and plastic pots are all good options. But plastic containers are best in terms of retaining soil moisture.

Thanks to its bushy and compact growth, the Roma tomato can easily be cultivated by home gardeners with limited growing space using suitable plant containers.

Depending on where you live, the best planter material for your meaty Roma tomatoes can vary drastically. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

When you live in a very dry state like Nevada, it’s best to go for plastic pots with sufficient drainage holes (here on Amazon). Going for such planters will help you keep your tomato moist while also ensuring that its roots won’t drown.

Conversely, clay pots and fabric grow bags are a better option in states like Florida with plenty of rainfall alongside moderately high humid conditions throughout the year. Such porous materials will help wick out excess water in the soil and keep it aerated.

Transplanting a ROMA Tomato 🍅 ~ How to #Repot Container #Tomatoes

You can start your young Roma tomatoes in small containers measuring more or less 12 in (30 cm) in depth and diameter. Then, once the tomatoes grow to about 6–10 in (15–25 cm) transplant them to a bigger planter to provide enough space for them to continue growing.

Pro Tip: Bury seedlings up to their lowest pair of stems after cutting these growths off. Doing this improves root growth and gives you a more sturdy and stable Roma tomato plant.

But keep in mind that mature Roma tomato plants kept in clay pots 10-gallons-big and larger can become incredibly heavy, especially after they are watered.

So if you’ve got a bad back or can’t lift heavy weights well, go for fabric grow bags with handles for easier transport when needed.

2. Soil

Organic soilless potting mixes are best for growing productive Roma tomatoes in containers. When grown directly in the ground, they’ll thrive with fertile loamy soil that’s slightly acidic, with pH values between 5.8 and 6.8.

What not many people realize is that it’s actually pretty easy to make your very own potting soil blend using materials such as coco coir, vermiculite, perlite, and similar mediums.

Discover the pros and cons of each one in our article on growing mediums for plants!

If you don’t have the time to make your very own special potting mix, you can always just go to the local garden depot or nursery and buy a package of ready-to-use soilless potting mix.

Heck, in this day and age, you don’t even really have to leave the house to get one. You can just buy the one below on online shops and sites like Amazon.

Planting Roma Tomatoes The Right Way

Like all other popular tomato varieties, Roma tomatoes do very well with slightly acidic soil. Hence, if you’re planting them directly in the garden make sure to test and amend your soil about 1 year before starting your seeds.

Pro Tip: Mulching your tomatoes by early summer can also help them stay cool and moist even on the hottest days of the year. This addition will also prevent weeds from stealing valuable resources from your fruiting Roma tomato plants!

3. Watering

Deeply irrigate Roma tomato plants with at least 75 oz of clean and fresh water weekly. In the southern hemisphere, they can be lightly watered early in the morning daily in summer to keep them consistently moist and prevent cracking and blossom-end rot.

Whenever you water your Roma tomatoes, don’t just wet their foliage. This won’t allow them to efficiently soak up all the moisture they need.

Rather, it’s best to directly water Roma tomatoes through their soil to guarantee that they are kept moist until their root zone.

Pro Tip: Keep the soil of Roma tomato plants consistently moist but also adjust the watering frequency and amount based on the weather. There’s no hard-and-fast rule to watering them.

Intense summer heat can make the water evaporate quickly from the soil so you may have to water your plants 2–3 times per week or even every single day during such times.

Alternatively, they’ll need little to no watering during the fall and winter months as they don’t actively grow during these seasons.

Remember, Roma tomatoes only produce fruits for a predetermined time and they don’t continuously grow, unlike vining varieties.

4. Light

For optimal growth and increased yield, provide Roma tomatoes with 8–10 hours of direct sun exposure. When grown completely indoors, they can require up to 18 hours of artificial light using full-spectrum grow lights with power ratings higher than 20W.

Your Roma tomato plants should get 6 hours of full sunlight every day, at the very least.

Providing any less than that will give you lanky plants that will produce very little fruit. In extreme cases, they might not even flower at all!

Always bear in mind that sufficient light is key to getting tomato plants to set flowers and fruits. More light generally also results in higher yields of bigger and tastier fruits.

Fruit or vegetable: Is it possible for tomatoes to be both?

Having said that, Roma tomatoes cultivated outdoors, whether in soil or pots, should still be protected from excessively intense sunlight characteristic of summer noons.

Protect Roma Tomatoes From Too Much Strong Light
Protect Roma Tomatoes From Too Much Strong Light

Potted romas can simply be moved to slightly shadier locations during this time. Gardeners can also opt to prop a 30% (minimum) shade net over tomatoes like this one from Amazon.

Inside the house, if you don’t have a sunny southern-facing window you can use a full-spectrum grow light over 20W.

Keep it at least 4–12 in (10–30 cm) from the very top of your Roma tomato and set it on for 14–18 hours every day. Plug it into a timer for convenience if you want to.

5. Temperature

Roma tomato does well with cool nighttime temperatures above 60°F and warm daytime temperatures below 90°F. It is heat-tolerant once established but will easily die due to frost and freezing temperatures if left outdoors without protection.

Although tomatoes are commonly grown as annual plants in the US, they can actually continue fruiting for several years in warmer weather.

To be more specific, Roma tomatoes can be grown as perennial plants in southern states—particularly in zones 9 and above.

But this doesn’t mean that’ll they’ll be productive in scorching hot weather.

Temperatures below 55°F (13ºC) and above 95°F (35ºC) will cause Roma tomatoes to drop their flowers and fail to set fruit.

Now, if you want to try preventing your Roma tomato from dying back in fall or winter, use a season extender like the one below on Amazon. This will keep your tomato plant insulated.

Whenever possible, however, I recommend overwintering tomato plants indoors instead for easier care and management.

6. Humidity

The ideal humidity levels for growing Roma tomato plants range from 40% to 70%, whether indoors or outdoors. Excessively dry or humid air can result in failure to set fruit. High humidity and limited air circulation can also lead to fungal diseases.

Despite being less juicy than other tomato varieties, Roma tomatoes still require moderately high humidity levels for their flowers to successfully get pollinated.

You see, the pollen on your Roma tomato plant will dry up if the humidity drops way below 40%. Meanwhile, humidity levels consistently higher than 70% can make tomato pollen too sticky. So don’t keep them in the kitchen or bathroom!

Humidity and Roma Tomatoes
Humidity and Roma Tomatoes

Either way, pollination is greatly negatively affected and those flowers on your Roma tomato plant will not develop into the elongated bright-red fruits we all know and love.

It also goes without saying that overly humid growing conditions facilitate the development of mold and fungi which can not only reduce productivity but also end with the plant’s death.

Are all mold in the garden harmful? Find out in our articles on yellow and orange molds!

Wondering why that’s the case? It’s because tomatoes were originally grown in arid climates so they can’t withstand problems brought on by humidity that well.

But since Roma tomatoes are all open-pollinated, they have built a tolerance to certain diseases like Fusarium and Verticillium wilt.

7. Fertilizer

The yield of Roma tomatoes can be improved by applying a complete water-soluble fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus and potassium every 2–4 weeks after fruit set. They don’t need to be fed in fall and winter when they’re no longer fruiting.

The best time to fertilize Roma tomatoes is when they’re actively growing—during the spring and summer months.

Use diluted liquid fertilizer solutions instead of slow-release granular feeds as Roma tomatoes are naturally heavy feeders.

Pro Tip: Instead of reaching for a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, select one that’s specifically made to promote fruiting and flowering. These typically have higher phosphorus and potassium content. For example, 6-24-24, 6-12-18, 8-16-16, and 8-32-16.

Without enough nutrients for them to access, they won’t be able to actively form flowers and fruits for your and your family to enjoy.

Growing ROMA Tomatoes in CONTAINERS

Nevertheless, you can also side-dress your growing plants with compost and/or vermicast if you’re not a fan of using readily available fertilizers.

Make sure to incorporate them 2–6 inches deep into the soil.


How do you support Roma tomato plants?

Despite being a determinate variety, it’s advisable to support a Roma tomato plant with a sturdy stake or cage as it can grow up to 4–5 ft (120–150 cm). This allows it to grow upright without it being weighed down too much by the fruit clusters it develops. Such supports also keep the fruits off the ground, away from potential pests and diseases.

Do you need to prune Roma tomatoes?

It is not necessary to regularly prune Roma tomato plants as they have a compact growth habit and they only produce within a certain timeframe. It is only recommended to trim any damaged or diseased stems and leaves when found. Moreover, over-trimming can significantly reduce the yield of determinate Roma tomatoes.

What are common Roma-type tomatoes?

Common Roma-type tomatoes include Heinz, Heinz Super Roma, Martino’s Roma, Plum Regal, San Marzano, and Sunrise Sauce. Early Resilience is a relatively new variety that’s resistant to blossom-end rot. These plum or paste tomatoes are varieties that generally have less water and seed content but have thicker meat, making them ideal for cooking.

Summary of How to Grow Roma Tomatoes

Compact Roma tomato plants thrive with 5-gallon containers, a fertile potting mix that drains well, 75–120 oz of water per week, and 8 hours of full sun exposure. When growing directly in the ground, they prefer slightly acidic loamy soil that’s rich in organic matter.

Encourage both flowering and fruiting in Roma tomatoes with temperatures of 60–90°F and humidity levels of 45–70%. They will also respond well to fertilizer application 1–2 times a month using a feed that’s high in both phosphorus and potassium.


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