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How to Plant Tomato Plants in Containers

By Traci Joy ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tomato plant

If you long to have homegrown tomatoes, but are short on space, try planting some container tomatoes. A portable container allows the freedom of putting the container in just the right position for optimum growth when lawn garden space is not available. Planting tomatoes in a container also gives you greater control over the plant's environment, which you can manipulate to help encourage growth. Planting your container tomatoes is a simple, yet rewarding, process.

Select a pot that is at least a foot high by a foot wide. The pot should also have drainage holes drilled in the bottom, and a drip tray that sits underneath it.

Purchase a potting mix soil. Some ingredients to look for are peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, sand, pumice and compost material such as leaves, bark, sawdust or manure.

Fill the pot three-quarters full with the potting mix. Use your hand to hollow out an area in the middle.

Remove the tomato plant from its original container, and set it down into the center of the potting mix in the pot. Spread out the root system as much as possible without damaging it. Pour more potting mix into the container, and tap it down. The soil level should be at 1 inch below the top of the container.

Water the tomato plant thoroughly, so that the soil is moist all the way through, but not saturated to the touch. If the soil settles down after watering, add more soil and tap down again. It is not necessary to re-water.

Stake your tomato plant when it gets larger. You can use a small tomato cage, but if this is your preferred method of staking then you need to insert the cage before the plant grows taller. You can also choose to use a 3-foot stick or a bamboo garden stake. The benefit of inserting the stakes before the plant grows larger is preventing damage to the root system. When the plant is between 20 and 24 inches tall, attach the main stem to the stake with a piece of clothesline rope that runs from the stake, around the stem and back to the stake where it is tied.

Place your tomato plant container in an area that receives full sun, but is protected from strong winds.


Things You Will Need

  • Tomato plant
  • Container
  • Potting soil mix
  • Small tomato cage or garden stake
  • Clothesline rope
  • Water


  • Fertilize your tomato plant weekly with either a liquid fertilizer or fertilizer spikes. Follow package directions for whatever brand of fertilizer you choose.


  • While your tomato plant needs moist soil, if you keep it too wet you increase the chance of root rot. To check soil moisture, insert your thumb into the soil and if it is dry at the bottom of your thumb, you need to water.

About the Author


A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."