Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Transfer Tomato Plants to Larger Containers

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ripe tomatoes

Tomato plants grow well in a container as long as the plant receives adequate water and sunlight. Shaded sun and dry soil will decrease blossom and fruit production in the plant. Growing fruits and vegetables in a container allows for fresh produce in environments where the space is limited. Dwarf and cherry tomato cultivars produce low growing foliage, with many varieties having a short growing season. Plant the tomato deep into the soil to maximize root growth and strengthen the plant.

Purchase a growing container that is at least 12 inches in height and diameter and has bottom drainage holes. Choose a container that is at least 3 inches wider in diameter than the root ball if the plant is large. Place a piece of wire mesh over the bottom holes prior to filling with soil.

Combine equal quantities of potting soil, peat moss and perlite to create a well-draining potting mix. Mix in a slow release fertilizer for tomatoes. Fill the container with the soil mix to 1 inch from the container top.

Plant the tomato in a hole that is several inches deeper than the size of the root ball. Set the plant in so the soil level is just below the bottom set of leaves. Cover the root ball with soil and pack in place.

Apply water to the soil until it runs out the bottom drainage holes. Water the plant to keep the soil moist during the growing season. Monitor the soil moisture, because it will dry quickly during hot summer days.

Place a tomato cage around the plant to provide support to the fruiting branches. Inserting 3 to 4 stakes with twine wrapped around them will also work. Manually train the branches so they rest on the support structure.

Place the growing container in an area that receives eight hours or more of direct sunlight during the day. A sunny patio or deck is a good location, since it also offers wind protection.


Things You Will Need

  • Planting container
  • Wire mesh
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Slow release tomato fertilizer
  • Water
  • Tomato support

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.