How to Grow Tomatoes in Garden Pots


Regardless of whether you live in an apartment, condominium or lack enough yard space to grow tomatoes, you can still grow them in garden pots. Most varieties will do just find growing in containers. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) belong in the family Solanaceae along with potatoes and are natives to South America's western coast. Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit, but the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1883 for all legal purposes the tomato was a vegetable, due to import taxes. Whether you consider them fruits or vegetables, container-grown tomatoes are relatively simple to grow.

Step 1

Select the variety of tomato you want to grow. Consider that plants have determinate growth, meaning they have a bushing habit, or indeterminate growth, meaning they will be more like a vine. Indeterminate tomato plants generally grow larger with longer branches and require staking.

Step 2

Consider whether you want to plant seeds or tomato transplants. Transplants have an approximate four-week head start on seeds.

Step 3

Select a garden pot to grow your tomatoes in that is approximately 3 to 5 gallons in size. This size pot will house one tomato plant comfortably. Choose a garden pot with drain holes in its bottom, as the tomato plant will develop root rot and die if planted in pots without proper drainage.

Step 4

Mix equal parts of compost, potting soil, perlite and sphagnum peat moss--enough to fill your garden pot. Tomato plants will have the best growth and bloom production if grown in a rich soil medium.

Step 5

Fill the garden pot two-thirds full of potting mix. Dig a small hole into the center of the garden pot.

Step 6

Trim the last one to two sets of bottom leaves off the tomato plant and set the plant into the hole. Plant the tomato plant deep enough where the portion of stem with the removed leaves is covered. Cover the hole with soil. Planting the tomato plant a bit deeper than it was originally growing allows the plant to develop a studier root system, making the main stem stronger as it bears tomatoes.

Step 7

Make a 1/4-inch deep indentation into the center of the soil in the garden pot, if planting seeds. Place a tomato seed into it and cover with soil.

Step 8

Place a tomato cage over the plant or seed. Placing the cage on the plant once grown can injure the branches.

Step 9

Water the garden pot thoroughly, allowing the water to run out of the bottom. Water the tomato plant/seed regularly to keep the soil moist.

Step 10

Situate the container in an area that receives full sunlight, as tomato plants perform best growing in full sun conditions.

Step 11

Fertilize weekly with a 20-20-20, water-soluble fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer after watering the tomato plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato plants
  • Tomato seeds
  • Compost
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Tomato cage
  • Fertilizer


  • Ohio State University: Growing Cucumbers, Peppers, Squash and Tomatoes in Containers
  • Growing Tomatoes: Growing Tomatoes in Pots
  • McGraw Hill: Tomato: The Apple of Peru
Keywords: tomatoes in containers, growing tomatoes containers, tomatoes in pots

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.