Growing Tomatoes In Pots | How Big Of A Pot For Tomatoes?

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Time to Read 5 Minutes.

Growing tomatoes in pots are more effortless than garden beds. If you do not have a larger backyard or garden, they will grow comfortably in larger containers with the right containers, even in the balcony or backyard. Selecting the best size pot for tomatoes is crucial.

Tomatoes are good vegetables and good fruit, and this vegetable can make delicious sauces, salads, jam, soup, and much more. This delightful vegetable can grow organically in extra space in your backyard, balcony, patio, or small greenhouse.

One of the common questions that most new gardeners face is how big of a pot do tomatoes need? This article covers how big a tomato pot should be and what kind of pot is best for tomato plants?

Growing Tomatoes In Pots
Growing Tomatoes In Pots

Do tomatoes grow well in pots?

Tomatoes plant grows perfectly on pots and produces a lot of tomatoes. Basically, any tomato can be grown in pots with the proper techniques, though some types are considerably more straightforward than others. Plants that are more suited to growing in pots are generally more compact, smaller (dwarf plants). However, larger tomato plants can thrive in larger containers. The larger the pot, the higher the yield of the plant.

The main requirement for selecting tomato containers are to provide enough room to develop the root system, maintain moisture levels, and retain enough nutrients to thrive. This plant has pretty extensive root systems, and depending on the tomato varieties, their pot sizes differ.

The main challenge in using containers is potting soil nutrients leaching out with excess water. Tomato is a heavy calcium feeder, and proper moisture requires absorbing calcium from the soil. Lack of calcium causes blossom end rot and splitting tomatoes. Therefore it is essential to maintain constant moisture levels all the time.

You can get a lot of tomatoes even in containers, and growing tomatoes in containers are similar to growing in a garden. Tomatoes can thrive in pretty small spaces, even larger tomato varieties. When it comes to container materials, there are many options, including plastic, terracotta, clay, and fabric. Selecting pot material is also essential.

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Dwarf Tomato Plants
Dwarf Tomato Plants.


What size pot for tomatoes plants?

The best size pot for tomatoes is 5 to 20 gallons, and this size requirement depends on the plant variety. Smaller plants can thrive in 5-gallon pots, and larger tomato plants need 10 to 20-gallon containers. Indeterminate tomato varieties need larger containers because they grow 6 to 10 feet tall, and determinate types prefer smaller containers because they’re compact and 4 to 5 feet tall.

For smaller tomato plants like Micro tom, Red Robin, BushSteak, Sungold, Bush Early Girl, New Big Dwarf, Tumbling Tom, Tiny Tim tomato plants can thrive on 5-gallon containers. These plants do not need a tomato cage.

Larger tomato plants require over 10 gallons to 20-gallon container size. Plants like Beefsteak, Black Beauty, Early Girl, Brandywine, Big Boy, Roma are a few examples of the largest tomato plants in the world.

You can grow indeterminate tomato varieties (larger tomato plants) in smaller containers like five or 7-gallon size pots, but they produce fewer harvests. Because in such a small space, plants do not thrive to their full potential. Therefore, the right pot size for tomatoes is essential for harvesting a lot of tomatoes. Furthermore, the right time to transplant seedlings is also crucial.

pots for tomatoes


How many tomato plants per pot?

How many tomato plants per container depends on the plant variety and size of the pot. Depending on the plant size, we can categorize tomato plants into two, and 5-gallon containers can plant one determinate variety, and 10-gallon containers can plant a single indeterminate variety.

If you have a 20-gallon container, you can plant around four smaller tomato plants or two larger ones. In addition, it is essential to maintain the distance between each tomato plant.


Tomato plant spacing in pots.

When planting on larger containers, you have to provide enough spacing between the plants to absorb enough nutrients, water, and air circulation. Tomato plants spacing in a pot should be 24 to 36 inches (61-91cm) apart for best results. When potted plants too closely, it can cause many diseases. Furthermore plants unnaturally compete for resources when they are potted too tightly together, especially for essential nutrients and sunlight.

See also  When To Transplant Tomato Seedlings | Explain Everything


How deep does a tomato pot need to be?

How deep should a pot for tomatoes be, depending on the plant’s variety. Since tomato is a heavy fertilizer feeder, it has a robust root system. Well-developed tomato plant roots can grow 1.5 to 3 feet deeper, and smaller plants can grow around 1 foot deeper. However, the primary root system is positioned 12 inches below the topsoil layer.

When planting indeterminate tomatoes, choose over 10 gallons with 2 or 3 feet deeper pots. For determinants, tomatoes prefer 5 gallons with 1 or 1.5 deeper containers.

Lot of tomatoes


Best pot material for tomatoes.

We can find different types of tomato pots on the market. Plastic, terracotta, grow bags, fabric, and wood are common materials that we can find. Depending on the plant location, we have to choose the best pot for tomatoes.

Indoor tomato plants can be grown in plastic containers because these containers have adequate drainage holes for flow-out excess water. For outdoor tomato plants, fabric, plastic, wood containers are best.


Plastic containers. These containers are not breathable, and they’re lightweight and can be used indoors and outdoors. In sunny conditions, the temperature of the plastic tomato pots’ outside wall rises, and this heat can be transferred to the potting mix.

Therefore tomato potting mix water evaporation can be high. But we can reduce it with mulch on potting soil. Plastic is long-lasting, and these pots can be reused for many years. Use recyclable (number 2 embossed) plastic buckets that are safe for growing plants.

Fabric containers. This type of container is excellent breathable. Since this material can easily leach out water, it is not suitable for indoor use. Fabric tomato pots can last several years.

Grow Bags. These containers are made out of plastic and last for several years. Because they are not breathable, air circulation is restricted, and it is less expensive than other possibilities in terms of price. Grow bags can be used both indoors and outdoors.

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Terracotta containers. These containers are breathable and suitable for indoor as well as outdoor gardens. Terracotta pots are heavier than plastic and fabric. Since they have a thicker wall, these containers have little impact on transferring outer temperature to potting soil. So water evaporation is limited.

Terracotta has a couple of years unless its outer layer gets damaged. When exposed to intense cold, the pots’ walls can crack. Another con is that terracotta pots are very poring. Its outer layer absorbs potting soil moisture quickly and dries out the soil. This quick soil dry out is not suitable for tomatoes.


Final Thoughts.

Whether you’re new to cultivating tomatoes in containers, there are several options. Plastic, fabric, and grow bags are the best tomato containers types that you can use. Growing tomatoes in terracotta pots are not recommended since it absorbs moisture from the potting mix and dehydrates the tomato plant.

The pot size for tomatoes depends on the tomato variety. You have to choose the right size (width, height) containers and use the correct distance between plants to harvest a lot of tomatoes in pots.

The best size pot for tomatoes is 5 gallons to 20 gallons, and a container size lower than this limit will stunt the plant and produce few harvests.

The advantages of growing in pots are that they can be grown in limited space, are easy to move, and are easy to quarantine when pests and bacterial infections infect the tomato plants.

One of the common problems is potting soil nutrients leaching out with excess water. Therefore, regular fertilizing for tomato plants can quickly fix the nutrient problems.

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