How to Grow Tomatoes in a Container


Even a renter with only a small patio space can grow vegetables in a container garden. Tomatoes are the perfect beginner plants and can be grown in a hanging container or a ground pot. Most varieties from large slicing tomatoes to cherry sizes will thrive in a quality potting soil with plenty of sun and water.

Step 1

Fill the bottom of a large container with two broken terra cotta pieces large enough to protect the drainage holes from soil loss, or 2 inches of gravel or packing peanuts to help with drainage.

Step 2

Amend a quality potting soil with compost and mix well.

Step 3

Fill the container one-third of the way with the potting soil/compost mix.

Step 4

Place a stake just off center, if applicable, depending on your variety of choice.

Step 5

Place the plant in the center of the container as close to the stake as possible, if applicable. Placing the stake before the plant is growing eliminates the possibility of damage to the roots when adding it later.

Step 6

Fill the container the rest of the way with soil, leaving a 1-inch gap at the top.

Step 7

Pinch off any flowers, as you want your plant to take time to establish before starting to bloom and then produce fruit.

Step 8

Water regularly to keep the soil constantly moist but not soggy. Fertilize with a commercial product designed for tomatoes or any lower nitrogen product. Follow the fertilizer's label instructions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tomatoes that are fed too much nitrogen will grow huge, gorgeous plants with little to no fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with drainage holes
  • Broken terra cotta pieces, gravel or packing peanuts
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Stake or tomato cage


  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Cucumbers, Squash and Tomatoes in Containers
  • Arizona Master Garden: Vegetable Garden: Containers

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
Keywords: container vegetable gardening, urban gardening, patio tomatoes

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.