How to Plant Indeterminate Tomatoes in Pots


There are two main types of tomato plant--determinate and indeterminate. Determinate plants are generally bushy, only grow to around 4 feet in height and tend to produce an earlier, smaller crop. Indeterminate varieties continue to grow until frost kills the plants, often reaching heights of 6 feet or more. They also produce a later harvest, but continue to fruit until the first frost, so there are often more fresh tomatoes grown. While smaller, determinate tomatoes are usually favored for container gardening, a favorite indeterminate tomato can be grown if proper consideration is given at planting.

Step 1

Fill a 5-gallon container with a soil-less or peat-based potting mixture. Soil-less mixes provide optimum drainage for container vegetables, particularly tomatoes, which do not tolerate wet roots.

Step 2

Plant one indeterminate tomato transplant per pot. Make a hole 1 to 2 inches deeper than the existing nursery pot the tomato is in. Strip the bottom leaves from the tomato plant's stem, then set the plant in the hole. Fill in around it with soil, firming it in place. Planting the tomato slightly deeper in the container encourages a strong, healthy root system

Step 3

Push a 6-foot tall plant stake into the soil behind the tomato plant until it touches the bottom off the pot. Install the stake at planting time; later installation may sever the tomatoes roots and kill the plant.

Step 4

Tie the tomato plant loosely to the stake along the central stem. Use cloth plant ties approximately every 8 inches along the stem as the plant grows.

Tips and Warnings

  • Set the pot in an area that is protected from high winds. The tomato will be top-heavy once it reaches full height, making it more likely to blow over.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon planters
  • Potting mixture
  • Tomato transplant
  • Stake
  • Plant ties


  • Ohio State University Extension: Container Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: growing container tomatoes, indeterminate tomato varieties, container gardening, indeterminate tomato container

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.