Since we have limited growing space, we have to think outside the box often in our gardening. We do this by using buckets, pots and containers to grow tomatoes.
Growing tomatoes in containers is a great way for just about anyone to have a garden fresh beauty for sandwiches, salads or just munching on.
Pros of Container Tomatoes
Container gardening offers other advantages, as well… and not just for tomatoes, but potatoes and dozens of other veggies as we..
The biggest advantage is growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to beginning gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden. It’s so much easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area.
Also, this more portable setup allows you to move your tomato plants around so they can get the sunlight or rain they need.
With just a little bit of planning and minimal effort, container gardening makes it easy to enjoy delicious fresh tomatoes throughout the growing season.
Choosing the Container
When choosing a container, you have some options. The first thing you need to consider is the tomato container size.
You can garden by growing tomatoes in buckets, in large plastic containers, or even in large flower pots.
The biggest thing to remember is to ensure there are holes in the bottom for proper drainage. You will want a container deep enough to hold a stake for supporting the plants as well. Ideally, your container will be at least 10-12 inches deep.
However, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardens. Some get way too big, and need more space than a simple container or bucket will allow.
Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes for Containers
One of the most important decisions when growing tomatoes in containers is choosing between determinate and indeterminate varieties.
Determinate tomatoes are typically smaller, with a more compact growth habit.
They produce a single flush of fruit that ripens all at once, making them ideal for canning or preserving.
Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, are larger and have a more sprawling growth habit. They produce fruit throughout the season, making them a good choice for fresh eating.
Both types of tomatoes have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right variety for your needs.
When growing tomatoes in containers, determinate varieties are often a good choice because they don’t require as much space or support. Indeterminate varieties can be a good choice if you want a continuous supply of fresh tomatoes throughout the season.
Ultimately, the best type of tomato for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Growing Tomatoes in Containers
Do you love tomatoes but don’t have enough space to plant a garden? Don’t worry, you can grow tomatoes in containers! Here are some quick tips for growing tomatoes in containers.
Tomatoes are a delicious and versatile summer fruit, and they can be easily grown in containers.
However, it’s important to plant them deep in the pot, as this will help encourage healthy root growth.
When tomatoes are planted deep, the stem will produce extra roots along its length. These additional roots will help to support the plant and make it more drought-tolerant. In addition, planting tomatoes deep will also help to prevent the fruit from splitting.
So if you’re growing tomatoes in containers, be sure to give them a good depth of soil to encourage strong and healthy growth.
Water and Fertilize Often
With their own private space, tomatoes won’t have to compete for water and nutrients with other plants.
They’ll also be protected from many common diseases and pests. Container-grown tomatoes will need to be watered more often than those in the ground, so be sure to check them daily during hot, dry weather.
On average, you will need to water every other day, but this depends on the location of your containers and whether they are receiving natural rainfall, as well as the maturity of your plants. Most tomato plants need 1-2” of water per week.
They’ll also need regular fertilizing, especially if they’re bearing fruit. By giving them the attention they need, you can ensure your tomatoes will thrive all season long.
Get Them in Some Sun
One important thing to keep in mind when growing tomatoes in containers is that they need a lot of sun.
You should make sure that your tomato plants get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
If you live in an area with hot summers, you may need to provide some afternoon shade to prevent your tomato plants from getting too much sun and drying out.
Trellis the Tall Ones
Left unchecked, tomato plants can quickly take over a garden or container, crowding out other plants and leaving fruit susceptible to rot or damage.
Staking or trellising tomatoes helps to solve this problem by keeping the vines off the ground and allowing air to circulate around the fruit. It can keep the tomatoes from sprawling over the side of the container and becoming damaged.
In addition, staked tomatoes are less likely to be hit by passing animals or insects, and they are easier to harvest when they are concentrated in one area.
Choose the Right Potting Soil
First and foremost, the soil should be well-aerated. This will ensure that roots have access to the oxygen they need to stay healthy.
In addition, the soil should be able to drain properly to prevent waterlogging. A mixture of peat moss, compost, and perlite is ideal.
As a general rule of thumb, potting soil for container plants should be light and loose, with a high organic content. This will help to ensure that plants have access to the nutrients they need to thrive.
Look for a soil that is light and fluffy, with a good mix of organic matter and sand. This will provide plenty of drainage while still holding enough moisture for the plants.
It is so important to ensure that the containers have adequate drainage. To do this, you can either put a saucer underneath the container to collect excess water or drill holes in the bottom of the pot.
If you live in an area with high rainfall, you may need to take additional measures to ensure that your tomatoes do not become waterlogged.
For example, you can raise the containers off the ground using bricks or blocks. By taking these simple steps, you can help your tomatoes to thrive.
Tomatoes grown in containers need to be fed more often than those grown in the ground, as they have a limited supply of nutrients. The best way to feed tomatoes is to use a liquid fertilizer that can be applied every two weeks.
For best results, choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, such as Miracle-Gro Tomato Food. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions, and be sure to water deeply afterwards.
Transplanting Tomatoes into Containers
When transplanting tomatoes into containers, it is important to select a pot that is large enough to accommodate the root system. The pot should also have adequate drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in water.
Once you have selected a pot, fill it with a high-quality potting mix and water thoroughly.
To transplant the tomato plant, gently remove it from its current pot and loosen the roots. Position the plant in the center of the new pot and fill in around it with potting mix.
Firm the mix gently around the base of the plant and water thoroughly. Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
With proper care, your transplanted tomato plant will soon adjust to its new home and produce an abundance of delicious fruit.
25 Tomato Varieties for Containers
If you want to ensure great-tasting tomatoes and the biggest possible yield for your small space here are three great container tomato varieties to try!
1. Japanese Black Trifele
Commonly known as a great tomato container gardening plant. You’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.
The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe. This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious. This variety performs double duty as an ornamental.
As far as flavor goes, it has a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste. For hands-off container tomato gardening, this is a fan favorite thanks to its hardy nature and stunning good looks.
2. Sungold Cherry Tomato
This highly popular cherry tomato can be found just about everywhere. Sungold cherry tomatoes are not overly sprawling plants, making them perfect for container gardens.
Growing cherry tomatoes in pots, like the sungold will give you a fruit with a tropical, fruity flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious warm off the vine. This plant is known to be very strong and requires very little tender loving care.
To keep the cherry tomatoes coming all year long, start one or two extra plants about three weeks after your first plant.
The charming Brandywine variety has earned the title of “my favorite tomato” by gardeners everywhere thanks to its delicious flavor.
In fact, it consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests in the United States and abroad. The highly versatile Brandywine tomato is perfect for container growth.
This particular variety can grow rather large, but a couple of sturdy stakes accompanied by consistent and regular pruning can keep it in line. You may prefer to place your container along your balcony or deck railing to help support its growth.
The patio tomato is a special variety of tomato that is ideal for growing in containers. Unlike other varieties of tomatoes, the patio tomato is compact and does not require a lot of space to thrive.
In addition, the patio tomato is very disease-resistant and produces an abundance of juicy, flavorful fruit.
The best part about the patio tomato is that it can be grown virtually anywhere, making it the perfect choice for gardeners with limited space.
The “Better Bush” variety of tomato is an excellent choice for containers. It is a compact plant that is resistant to disease and produces a large number of fruits. The fruit is tasty and can be used in a variety of recipes.
In addition, the “Better Bush” tomato is easy to care for and does not require a lot of space. As a result, it is an ideal plant for gardeners who have limited space.
The Moby Grape tomato is a variety of cherry tomato that is well suited for containers. It is a determinate variety, meaning that it will stop growing once it reaches a certain size. This makes it ideal for small spaces, as it will not take over the entire container.
The Moby Grape tomato is also a heavy producer, and its small size makes it easy to harvest. In addition, this variety is resistant to cracking and disease.
As a result, it is a great option for those who want to grow tomatoes in containers.
The Jet Star tomato is a hybrid variety that was developed to be resistant to both disease and cracking.
It is a good choice for growing in containers because it produces a large number of small, round fruits that are perfect for snacking or adding to salads.
The Jet Star is also known for its sweet flavor, making it a favorite among home gardeners. In addition, the plant is fairly compact, so it doesn’t require a lot of space.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, the Jet Star tomato is a great choice for your container garden.
The Celebrity tomato is a specific variety of tomato that is well-suited for container gardening. One of the reasons for this is that the Celebrity tomato plant is relatively compact, so it doesn’t require a lot of space to grow.
Additionally, the Celebrity tomato is resistant to many common diseases that can affect tomatoes, making it a good choice for gardeners who want to avoid using chemicals on their plants.
Finally, the Celebrity tomato produces fruit that is Juicy and flavorful, making it a great addition to salads and other dishes. For these reasons, the Celebrity tomato is a good choice for gardeners who are looking to grow tomatoes in containers.
San Marzano tomatoes are a type of paste tomato that is commonly used in Italian cooking. The fruit is noted for its small size, deep red color, and high acidity level.
San Marzano tomatoes are believed to originate from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, located in the Campania region of Italy.
These tomatoes are well-suited for growing in containers, as they do not require a lot of space to produce a bountiful crop.
The fruits also have a thick skin that helps to protect them from pests and diseases. In addition, the compact size of the plants makes them ideal for growing on patios or balconies.
The Black Krim variety of tomato is a popular choice for container gardening. These tomatoes are dark crimson in color and have a rich, slightly sweet flavor.
Black Krims are indeterminate tomatoes, meaning they continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season. They also have good disease resistance and can tolerate hot weather.
One of the reasons Black Krims are well-suited for container gardening is that they don’t require a lot of space to grow.
These tomatoes can be grown in a small pot or container, making them an ideal choice for those with limited space.
Another reason to choose Black Krims for containers is that they are less likely to suffer from problems like blossom end rot, which is common in other varieties of tomatoes.
With proper care, Black Krims will provide you with an abundance of flavorful tomatoes all season long.
The “Tiny Tim” variety of tomato is a small, determinate plant that produces fruit that is about the size of a cherry tomato. This variety is good for containers because it does not require a lot of space to grow and does not produce a lot of fruit.
The plant is also resistant to many diseases that affect tomatoes, such as early blight and fusarium wilt.
Because of its small size, the “Tiny Tim” tomato is also easy to care for and does not require a lot of water or fertilizer. Overall, this variety is a good option for those who want to grow tomatoes in a container.
The Totem variety of tomato is a compact plant that is ideal for growing in containers. It produces an abundance of small, round fruits that are perfect for snacking or adding to salads.
The plant is also very vigorous, and its tall, sturdy stems make it resistant to wind and rain damage.
However, the best thing about the Totem variety is its flavor. These tomatoes are incredibly sweet and juicy, making them a real treat to eat. If you are looking for a delicious tomato that is easy to grow, the Totem variety is an excellent choice.
The Marglobe tomato is a variety of tomato that was developed in the early 1900s. It is a good choice for growing in containers because it is a determinate plant, meaning that it will only grow to a certain height and then stop.
This makes it less likely to outgrow its container and fall over.
The Marglobe tomato is also a good choice for containers because it is disease-resistant and has a high yield.
However, one downside of the Marglobe tomato is that it is not as flavorful as some other varieties of tomato. Nonetheless, it remains a popular choice for growing in containers due to its other advantages.
The Bush Champion tomato is a hybrid variety that is specifically designed for growing in containers.
Unlike other varieties of tomatoes, the Bush Champion has a compact growth habit, making it an ideal choice for limited space.
The plant is also quite productive, producing an abundance of small, round fruits. In addition, the Bush Champion is resistant to several common diseases, including blight and mosaic virus.
As a result, it is a great option for gardeners who want to grow healthy tomatoes in containers.
The “Bush Goliath” tomato is a variety of tomato that is especially well suited for growing in containers. One of the reasons for this is that it is a very compact plant, so it doesn’t require a lot of space.
Another reason is that it has a very strong root system, so it doesn’t need to be staked like some other varieties of tomato.
Finally, the “Bush Goliath” tomato is very productive, so you can expect a good harvest even if you only have a small container. All of these factors make the “Bush Goliath” an ideal variety of tomato for growing in containers.
Of course, the list above is not exhaustive! Some other great varieties of tomatoes for growing in containers are:
- Early Bush Girl – this is a determinate plant, meaning it stays small and requires no pruning or staking.
- Window Box Roma – produces high yields with minimal space. It’s also relatively resistant to disease and pests, which can be a problem with other types of container-grown tomatoes.
- Sun Sugar – the tiny fruits or perfect for snacking or adding to salads.
- Tumbling Tom – ideal for hanging baskets
- Sweet 100 – an heirloom variety known for its unrelenting sweetness
- Carmello – this variety only grows to about two feet tall. It’s also an early-bearing tomato, producing fruit much earlier in the season.
- Manitoba – as well as being well suited for containers, the Manitoba tomato is also a very productive variety, producing large yields of juicy, flavorful fruit.
- Principe Borghese – also a relatively early-maturing variety, so it can be grown in cooler climates.
- New Yorker – this variety is alsoresistant to disease and pests, which is another advantage when growing in container gardens.
- Sprite – Sprite produces an abundance of small, round fruits that are perfect for snacking. The plant is also very disease-resistant, making it a good choice for gardeners who want to avoid the use of chemicals.
As long as it is, though, this list is far from complete. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find many other great options for your container garden once you start looking.
Are you ready to try tomato container gardening this year? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.