Tomatoes In Containers

Tomatoes are easy to grow in containers IF you have a proper sized container and IF you pay attention to watering and fertilizing.  Containers can be quick to have a terrible environment for growing tomatoes.  They dry out faster than does the soil in the garden.  Because there is less space for tomato plant roots, frequent fertilizing is required to compensate.  Cheat on the water and fertilizer and you may as well not go to the trouble. 


Size of Container

A container for growing tomatoes must be at the very least 12 inches deep; of course with holes in the bottom.  A container 18 inches deep or deeper is preferable and more likely to produce a nice crop of tomatoes. It should hold at least five gallongs of potting mix.


Select Proper Variety of Tomato

We do not recommend growing indeterminate tomato varieties in a container.  They can grow taller than 7 feet.  Rigging a 7 trellis in a container is difficult at best.  We suggest determinate varieties that usually grow only 3 or 4 feet tall.   


Potting Mix

Use no real soil in a container growing tomatoes.  Use a quality soilless potting mix from the garden center.  Tomatoes are very sensitive to uneven water availability.  A good potting mix will retain water sufficiently so you usually don’t have to water every day. 


Trellis For Containers

Some commercial containers for growing tomatoes come with a trellis.  Otherwise it is helpful to rig some sort of trellis yourself.  It needs to be sturdy to hold a plant full of ripening tomatoes. 


Fertilizer For Tomatoes In Containers

We recommend using a liquid organic fertilizer that is mixed with the water given to the tomato in a container.  Because most containers are too small to allow for full growth of a tomato plant’s roots, frequent fertilizing is necessary.  We usually add a tablespoon of liquid fertilizer every time we water which can be daily when the plants are mature and producing fruit. 






Smart Pot Fabric Plant Container - 5 Gallons, 5 Pack

by High Caliper

By taking advantage of the benefits of traditional plastic gardening containers while eliminating the shortcomings, Smart Pots truly live up to their name! These soft growing containers allow more air to reach the growing medium and roots, improving drainage and keeping the root system from overheating on hot days. Plant roots also benefit from their natural tendency to grow into soft surfaces like the Smart Pot, becoming thick and healthy instead of circling the inside of the pot and becoming root-bound. These pots are aeration containers allowing the air to prune the plant root structure. Simply remove the containers before transplanting. These pots will establish the plants quicker after transplanting.


Continuous Watering Containers For Tomatoes

There are a number of continuous watering containers that work well with tomatoes.  Perhaps the most popular is the EARTHBOX which has a reservoir that holds 3 gallons of water.  It holds 2 cubic feet of growing media which is enough for growing two tomato plants.  The Earthbox offers an optional trellis that is really essential if you are growing tomatoes. 








Upside Down Tomato Growing Containers

The Felknor Ventures company sells what they call the  Topsy Turvy Tomato and Herb Planter.  It is designed to be hung from some sort of support and lets the tomatoes grow down towards the ground.  It has ten holes for planting herbs if that is your preference.  The advice from experienced users is that the system works ONLY IF you are diligent with the frequent watering and fertilizing. 




see all questions...

Do you have a gardening question? Ask Nancy