Growing Tomatoes in Containers: A Complete Guide

grow tomato plants in a pot or container

Table of contents


Essential Materials for Tomato Container Gardening

Step-By-Step Planting Instructions

Suggested Tomato Varieties for Container Gardening

Companion Planting and Pest Control



Today, it is impossible to find people in the world who have not heard the name of tomato. We all know tomato as a popular vegetable. For this reason, tomatoes are sold at slightly higher prices in many places. We can all definitely create our own tomato garden in places where there is not enough space for gardening, such as apartments or small balconies. To grow a tomato garden in a small space, apartment, or balcony, we must use pots or containers and ensure that enough light falls on the tomato plants. Tomato plants cannot grow without light. So, if you want to grow a tomato garden, start today.

Essential Materials for Tomato Container Gardening

Things you must collect to start a tomato garden in pots or containers:

A tomato plant needs a pot of at least 6 gallons; the bigger the better. The container or pot that you use must have a small hole at the bottom for the water to drain out. It is very important for tomato plants to have proper drainage.

You definitely need some good soil for tomato gardening. You can get this soil from your nearest nursery, horticulture, or garden center. When buying the soil, you must ask an expert whether it is suitable for tomato plants, as tomatoes require well-draining soil.

Mixed soils? Which will retain moisture evenly and drain water well. Later, we can use compost with this soil as the seedlings grow.

Tomato seedlings can be purchased from local garden centers or nurseries. You can also sow seeds in containers and make seedlings. If you are new, it is best to buy seedlings. When the seedlings grow up, they slowly bend towards the ground. Therefore, a strong stick or wire cage is needed to keep the plant upright, and you can use a strong one to tie it.

The containers you buy for tomato seedlings must have a small hole at the bottom, and these containers should be placed on a plastic tray. When you water the seedlings, the water should fall into the plastic tray. It will not collect water in the container, and the excess water can be drained away.

Find out from nursery experts how much balanced organic fertilizer a tomato plant needs for the six-gallon container you are using. Balanced organic fertilizer should be mixed with the soil of the container to prepare the soil for tomato seedlings. Then, the seedlings will be planted.

Step-By-Step Planting Instructions

Following the rules, you will plant the seedlings step by step:

First, you can use a layer of porous landscape fabric on the container or create a layer under the container with small pebbles so that the container does not clog the hole.

Second, use a good potting mix in the top layer of the container that allows the plant to sit with the top of its root ball about an inch below the rim of the container. You must avoid using cheap ones because good potting mixes retain moisture while others are harmful to plants. If the container is six gallons, you can add six teaspoons of hydrated lime for every six gallons to maintain the pH balance. This lime is rich in calcium, which prevents blooms from rotting later down the line.

Thirdly, you can use a stick next to the tomato plant to help it grow properly.

Fourth, Backfill the container with a good amount of potting mix around the root ball of the tomato seedling, tamping down until the level of the potting mix is even at the top of the root ball. Add enough water and make sure that the potting mix does not move; add more potting mix if necessary. You can use small amounts of shredded wood mulch, pine, or wheat straw to create a barrier between the tomato plant leaves and the soil, which will help retain moisture.

Fifth, Arrange a cage in the container to complete your planting process.

Suggested Tomato Varieties for Container Gardening

What kind of tomato seedlings will you plant in containers:

Bush Varieties: Being bushy, these varieties of tomatoes are well planted in containers and are very popular with gardeners.

Cherry variety: This cherry tomato works well in limited spaces and because of its grape-like size.

Most tomato plants are suitable for growing in about six-gallon containers. So, plant tags and seed packages will indicate whether it is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants grow to a specific size and ripen their fruits in a short period of time, about two weeks. If you want to make tomato sauce, you can plant tomato seedlings of this variety.

The tomato plants of this indeterminate variety grow very large, requiring about ten gallons in container size. These plants actually continue to grow throughout the growing season, which is why we know them as vining tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato varieties continue to produce and ripen fruit until killed by frost.

Companion Planting and Pest Control

Some important points:

You can plant a basil plant along with tomato seedlings to get delicious tomatoes. This basil plant works to keep tomato plants healthy. The fragrance of basil deters many pests of tomato plants, allowing the plant to produce flowers and fruits properly, although it is not scientifically proven. We know it naturally.

The very important thing is that you have to use pesticides to control the insects. If you really need to, you can use organic neem oil. This is enough to give you peace of mind that you have not used any toxic pesticides on your tomato plants.

Here are two natural ways you can benefit from:

  1. Take one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and one teaspoon of vegetable oil in an empty jar and shake. Now take 2 teaspoons of that mixture and one spoon of water in an empty spray bottle. Apply it on tomato plants every 10 days. Whiteflies, mites, aphids, scale, and other insects present in the plant will be killed. In fact, it is a very simple, less expensive, and more secure method.
  1. The ashes we get after burning wood in the fire, if we take these ashes with our hands and sprinkle them on tomato plants, we can get protection from various insects.
  1. You have another option for controlling and preventing Tomato Diseases.

           Baking-Soda Spray

           Aspirin Fungal Spray

           Tomato Virus Prevention Spray

Additional important tips for crop rotation ( only for  garden )

Plant tomatoes and other vegetables in a different place every year in your vegetable garden. Of course, avoid planting tomatoes with cabbage or potatoes in these family members.


If we can produce tomatoes organically without using any pesticides, then we can stay healthy for a long time, our environment will be beautiful, and our activities will encourage others.

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