The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes in Containers

Ever wondered how you’ll enjoy delicious, homegrown tomatoes without a sprawling garden? The unruly nature of tomato bushes and vines might sound hard to contain. But they will be contained. In fact, tomatoes grow quite successfully in only about any quite large container you’ll consider.

Since tomatoes are a favorite veggie, the power to grow them easily in pots on a little patio or maybe on a rooftop within the middle of a bustling city makes them a preferred choice for gardeners. Here are the keys to growing tomatoes successfully during a container.


The right container for your tomato is the initiative on your journey to a strong crop. Large container options are endless. Visit your favorite gardening center where you’ll find clay, glazed, and plastic pots galore. As long as you decide on a five-gallon size or larger, any of the containers will work. However, clay pots are the smallest amount of popular choice for tomato gardening. Clay is porous, and soil will dry more quickly in clay pots. Plastic pots are the simplest choice since plastic holds the moisture in better, which is vital for successful tomato gardening.

If you’re a handy sort, you would possibly construct a container from wood. confirm the wood you’re using has not been chemically treated since you’re using the planter for edibles. an easy 2 ft by 2 ft box will do.

For a thrifty idea, hunt around your neighborhood garage sales or secondhand shops for plastic tubs or pots. Some gardeners have effectively used recyclable grocery bags for his or her tomato container. Believe it or not, a five-gallon bucket from your local ironmongery shop is that the perfect tomato planter. For more inexpensive container ideas, see this Cybele Earth news story.

Your container will get to have several drainage holes. Most pots that you simply purchase will have already got a minimum of one hole. If you go the more inexpensive route and choose a plastic tub or a bucket, you’ll get to create drainage holes. Your container will have to be sturdy enough to drill several holes into rock bottom.

SOIL and site 

Before you add soil to your container, clean your container with warm, soapy water. Place a bit of screen across rock bottom of your container so you don’t lose your soil through the holes over time. the simplest soil to use for container gardening may be a soil that retains water and is filled with organic food.

According to the experts at Ohio State, you ought to mix your soil to satisfy the tomato plant’s requirements for nourishment and moisture level. Use equal parts of potting soil, perlite, sphagnum, and compost. For more tips from the Ohio State horticulture department, visit the Ohio extension site.

Even after you’ve got filled your container with soil, it’ll be light enough to maneuver, which is one great advantage to container gardening. Decide where you’ll place your tomato. Choose a warm location where your plant will get a minimum of 6 hours of full sun a day. Direct sun may be a must, so avoid placement near walls or fences where your plant may spend most of the day during a shadow.


Don’t think that because you’ve got a downsized container garden you’ve got to travel small on size when it involves your actual plant or produces. Most sorts of tomatoes grow well in containers.

It is important to notice that there are two different types of tomato plants. The indeterminate tomato is usually large and vining. it’ll produce fruit continually over the course of the season. A determinate tomato is smaller and bushier. it’ll produce one bulk harvest, then the plant will die.

For the larger-sized plants, try a tomato cage, wire fencing, or bamboo stakes for support. a couple of larger tomato varieties that grow well in containers include “Believe-it-or Not,” “Early Girl V,” or “Yellow Pygmy.”

Here’s an informative YouTube video to assist you to visualize the support large plants need.

And for recommendations on growing larger, vining tomatoes, visit this vegetable corner article. 

If you’d prefer a smaller and more compact plant that you simply probably won’t need to stake, choose determinate varieties. Determinate varieties that are very compatible with container gardening. “Patio V” may be a popular choice with its small plant size, yet tennis ball-sized tomatoes. Yum! “Totem” maybe a dwarf variety that produces nice, round cherry tomatoes. “Tiny Tim” may be a cold-tolerant variety that reaches maturity in 60 days.

Check out this mouth-watering line of best tomatoes for containers at

When you have selected an appealing variety and you’re able to plant, consider your container a one-plant show. Plant 3 or 4 seeds in your container a half-inch deep after the danger of frost. When your seedlings have two leaves, thin to at least one plant.

If you select to get your seedling from a nursery or store, transplant it when the weather warms and your soil is a minimum of 60 degrees. Tomato transplants thrive once they are set deep into the soil, so don’t be afraid to plant it, therefore, the lowest leaves of the plant are buried within the soil.


Tomato plants love an honest balance of water. Your goal is to stay your plant moist in the least times. If you’ve got a wet, rainy period, you would possibly move your plant to the shelter so it doesn’t become too soggy. On the opposite hand, when the weather is hot, you’ll get to water your tomato a day. Container gardens have a bent to dry out quickly, so keep an in-depth eye on your plants.

As was mentioned before, tomato plants enjoy much nourishment. If you employ a superb soil mix to start with, fertilizing your tomato isn’t crucial. During the lifespan of your plant, there are 3 times that fertilizer will offer a lift, though.

When you start your seeds, a touch little bit of a granular tomato fertilizer is ok. together with your transplant, add a scanty few granular tomato fertilizers once you attend set it within the soil. As your plant blossoms and is close to producing fruit, adding a fish emulsion every other time you water will offer replenishment. Remember, an excessive amount of an honest thing isn’t an honest thing, which goes for fertilizing your container tomatoes.

For a handy how-to list for your tomatoes during a container, visit our other container gardening tomatoes page!

For a superb and comprehensive guide to making your own tomato fertilizer, Mother Earth News has another good article.

GROWING TOMATOES the wrong way up 

Container gardening isn’t limited to upright pots lately. the wrong way up planters is a classy new method for a bountiful harvest. Not all tomato varieties are suitable for this sort of gardening, but cherry tomato plants are especially successful when grown the wrong way up.

Upside down containers could be as simple as a milk jug or as specialized as a Topsy Turvey bag. The sun, soil, and watering requirements are equivalent to those for an upright container. the sole extra consideration you’ve got together with your the wrong way up tomato is where you would possibly hang it.

The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes in Containers

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