Finding the right supports for tomato plants is only half the battle. You also need to find a good way to tie the plants to the supports, right?
So, what should you use for tomato ties? Some common tomato ties you can use include clips, cloth strips, foam ties, plant tie tape, polypropylene cord, soft wire tires, twine, twist ties, Velcro strips, and zip ties. Some of these ties are biodegradable for an organic garden, and others are reusable if you want to save on gardening costs.
Of course, you may need to use multiple methods together. For example, clips will need some type of twine or string to attach to.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 10 types of tomato ties you can use in the garden to attach plants to their supports. We’ll dig into the details so that you can make an informed decision.
What To Use For Tomato Ties
Tomato ties come in all shapes and sizes, and they are made from many different materials, including:
Some tomato ties are biodegradable, some are reusable, some are easy to use, and some are cost-effective.
Let’s examine clips for tomato ties first.
Clips For Tomato Ties
Tomato trellis clips are used to attach tomato vines to a standing length of wire or a twine trellis. The clip goes around both the tomato vine and the wire or twine.
It then snaps to lock, keeping everything securely in place. You can use as many as you want for a single plant, with any spacing between ties that you wish.
Tomato trellis clips can save both time and labor, especially if you have lots of tomato plants to tie.
You have two options for tomato trellis clips:
- Reusable (made from polypropylene plastic, can be moved during the season or reused for multiple seasons.)
- Biodegradable (made from non-GMO corn starch, will biodegrade fully in 13 weeks.)
You can find either type of tomato trellis clip from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. You can buy them in bulk to save on costs if you have a large garden with lots of tomatoes.
- Reusable Tomato Trellis Clips (100 Count) – for a small garden with 10 to 20 tomato plants. Fits up to a ¾ inch diameter stem.
- Reusable Tomato Trellis Clips (500 Count) – for a larger garden with 20 to 40 tomato plants. Fits up to a ¾ inch diameter stem.
- Reusable Tomato Trellis Clips (10000 Count) – for a huge garden or commercial operation. Fits up to a ¾ inch diameter stem.
- Compostable Tomato Trellis Clips (100 Count) – for a small organic garden with 10 to 20 tomato plants. They have a 7/8 inch inner diameter.
- Compostable Tomato Trellis Clips (10000 Count) – for a huge organic garden or farm. They have a 7/8 inch inner diameter.
If you use the compostable tomato trellis clips with biodegradable twine, you can cut everything down (plant, twine, and clips) and compost it all together.
Cloth Strips For Tomato Ties
Using cloth strips for tomato ties is one of the most cost-effective methods on this list.
If you have any old t-shirts, cut them into long, thin strips (perhaps 12 inches long). Make sure the strips are thin enough to tie easily (thick ones might be too difficult and bulky to work with.)
Then, just use the cloth strips to tie the tomato vine to its support. Another benefit of this method is that you can use cloth to tie tomato vines to any type of support: stake, cage, or trellis.
The only possible downside is that cloth might become moldy if it stays wet for too long outdoors or in a greenhouse.
At the end of the season, you might be able to untie the cloth ties and wash them to reuse in a later season. If you want to do this, don’t tie them too tight during the season!
Of course, if you don’t want to reuse cloth ties, you don’t have to. You can cut them off the vine at the end of the season and put them in a compost pile.
Cotton should biodegrade within 5 to 6 months.
Foam Tomato Ties
A foam tomato tie is a great choice if you would rather twist to secure your tomato plants, rather than tie them. Foam ties have wire on the inside and foam on the outside.
The wire makes the ties flexible but sturdy. The foam makes them easy on plants and on your hands.
You can easily untwist foam tomato ties, store them, and reuse them the next year. They will resist UV radiation, so they will last longer than other materials that may crack or peel in the sun.
With a roll of foam tomato tie wire, you can cut them to the exact length you need without waste. The only possible downside is that you will need to cut with wire cutters, rather than pruning shears or scissors.
Plant Tie Tape For Tomato Ties
Plant tie tape is a great choice for tying young tomato plants. The soft and stretchy plant tie tape material is gentler on stems than twine or wire.
You can cut a piece of plant tie tape from a roll to get the exact length you need. You can also use it to tie tomato plants to any support, whether a stake, cage, or trellis.
You can also use plant tie tape with a tapener. This hand-tying machine is fed tape from a roll of plant tie tape.
Polypropylene Cord For Tomato Ties
A polypropylene cord or rope is another good choice for tomato ties. It is flexible and rot-proof, resisting decay even when wet.
It can be used for tying tomato plants to a stake, cage, or trellis. It can also be used to set up a rope trellis system to support an entire row of tomato plants.
Polypropylene cord can also be used to mark off rows (so you can easily plant in a straight line!)
If you don’t tie the knots too tight, you can easily untie polypropylene cords and reuse them for years.
Polypropylene cord comes in various colors, lengths, and thicknesses. For tying tomatoes, you won’t need very strong or thick cord. You might want a thicker cord if using it for a trellis.
Soft Wire For Tomato Ties
Soft wire ties are similar to foam ties. However, the metal wire inside is shielded by a plastic that is more like rubber than foam.
It is sturdy and thick, making it useful for tying tomatoes to supports. If you have large indeterminate tomato plants that produce lots of heavy fruit, this might be a good choice for you.
Soft wire tie is strong enough to reuse year after year and for different purposes. For example, it can also be used to help train and secure fruit tree branches.
Twine For Tomato Ties
Garden twine is an excellent choice for tying tomatoes to their supports. It can also act as the support if you use it to build a trellis system.
Tomato twine comes in several different materials, including:
- Hemp – a durable twine that resists rotting from bacteria or UV light. It is made of natural plant fibers from the hemp plant (a strain of Cannabis sativa). This plant grows fast and is one of the strongest natural plant fibers known. It will biodegrade, but it takes a long time to do so.
- Sisal – a strong twine that is not quite as durable as hemp. It is made from the fiber of sisal (Agave sisalana). It can biodegrade within a year if untreated, and it absorbs water, making it prone to rotting.
- Jute – an affordable type of twine that is not as strong as sisal or hemp. It is made from fibers of flowering plants in the Corchorus genus. It is best for purposes where a lot of twine is needed, and when the twine does not need to be strong and long-lasting. It will rot quickly if untreated.
Twine is also useful for:
- Marking off garden rows (to ensure straight lines or to separate areas of the garden)
- Hanging garlic, onions, or herbs to dry
- Training branches on fruit trees
- Tying straw bales
- Hanging planters
- Hanging garden tools
Twist Ties For Tomato Ties
Twist ties are easy to use for tying tomatoes to supports. They are flexible, and you can twist them into place, rather than tying a knot.
Twist ties have a flexible wire inside and are covered by either paper or plastic. The plastic ones can be reused, but the paper covering will decompose quickly outdoors.
The only drawback is that twist ties might not be long enough for thick tomato stems, or for plants that are a bit farther away from their supports.
Velcro Strips For Tomato Ties
A roll of Velcro ties for tomato plants is another option for securing your plants to their supports. Velcro strips are soft enough to avoid hurting young plants, but strong and secure enough to hold larger plants in place.
Velcro ties are easy to secure and undo. They are reusable, which means that you can get multiple seasons out of them.
If you buy a roll of Velcro tie material, you can cut pieces to the exact length you need to avoid waste.
You can find a 75 foot length of ½ inch wide Velcro tape from Gardener’s Supply Company. They are green, so they blend right in with your plants (this might not be a good thing when you want to find them to reuse them!)
Zip Ties For Tomato Ties
Zip ties are adjustable and usually made of plastic. They can tie as tight or as loose as you want, which makes them an option for tying tomato plants to their supports.
One drawback of zip ties is that it is easy to make them too tight. Since they are made of hard plastic, they are more likely to cut into the stems of tomato plants, especially younger ones.
You can also find a 10-pack of reusable and adjustable PVC ties from Gardens Alive. They can be removed and stored for later use.
Now you know about 10 options for tomato ties, along with when you might want to use each one and where to find them.
You might also be interested in reading more about the various types of tomato supports, including stakes, cages, and trellises or about when to stake and tie up tomatoes.
I hope you found this article helpful. If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.