Tomato plants are fairly hearty, requiring few elements to be successful. However, to ensure your tomatoes grow strong, sweet and healthy, it's important to take several steps to give them everything they need to thrive. Tomato plants, particularly those grown in containers, can easily sap the soil of essential nutrients. It's important to apply adequate fertilizer and water, as well as supply the plants with a solid source of sunlight.
Plant all seedlings in pots with drainage holes if you're growing them in containers, and arrange the pots on drainage saucers. The holes keep the plant's roots from becoming waterlogged. As long as there's a saucer underneath the pot to catch the draining liquid, the plant can suck it back up and use it later if it's needed.
Place the tomato plants in an area that gets a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.
Water tomato plants regularly, taking care to give them a uniform amount of liquid at about the same time each day. Irregular watering can lead to blossom end rot, a condition that eats away at the plant's fruit and often renders it inedible.
Fertilize the seedlings with a dose of water-soluble fertilizer as soon as you plant them. Because fertilizers vary, follow the directions on the packaging carefully. If the tomato plants are growing in containers, it may be necessary to re-fertilize them every four to six weeks.
Stake or cage tomato plants immediately after planting them. Attempting to do this after they've further developed can seriously damage the root system.
Prune tomato plants as soon as the first flowers develop. Clip away all of the leafy branches below the flower cluster with gardening shears. This will allow the plant to pour the majority of its energy into making fruit.
Cover the ground surrounding the plants with a layer of mulch. This will keep the roots cool and the weeds at bay.