How to Grow Container Tomatoes


The tomato plant is one of the most popular garden plants, as it is easy to grow and provides a large fruit harvest. Growing tomato plants in containers is desired when garden space is limited or for people who live in apartments and want a patio garden. Choose to plant a tomato variety that is recommended for container growing and set the plant outside once the there is no longer a risk of frost.

Step 1

Purchase tomato seedlings that are recommended for growing in a container environment. Choose dwarf or compact types that have a short growing season. Good choices are Tiny Tim, Patio Hybrid, Cherry Gold and Husky Red Hybrid.

Step 2

Choose a planting container that is a minimum of 12 inches in diameter and height. The container must have drainage holes in the bottom to prevent pooling water around the roots. Place a piece of wire mesh screen over the drainage holes to prevent soil from leaching out during watering.

Step 3

Fill the container with potting soil mixed with even parts organic compost, perlite and peat moss. Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil to slowly provide nutrients through the growing season.

Step 4

Dig a hole in the center of the container and set the tomato plant in slightly deeper than it was growing in the seedling container. This will force the tomato to produce additional roots on the stem to increase the strength of the plant.

Step 5

Water the container well to moisten the soil throughout. Continue to water on a regular basis to keep the soil moist at all times. Container tomato plants dry out faster than those grown in the ground. Tomato blossoms and fruit growth will be hindered if the soil becomes too dry.

Step 6

Place the tomato container in a location that offers a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight.

Step 7

Support the tomato plant by placing a cage or stakes around the plant to support the fruiting branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato seedling
  • Growing container
  • Wire mesh
  • Potting soil
  • Organic compost
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Water
  • Tomato support cage


  • Ohio State University: Growing Tomatoes in Containers
  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
  • How To Garden: Growing Tomatoes in Pots
Keywords: grow container tomato, plant container tomato, grow patio tomatoes

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.