Have you always wanted to grow your own tomatoes but live in an apartment, or don’t have the space for a garden where you can grow tomatoes from seed to plant directly in the ground? Learn how to grow tomatoes in pots, and enjoy fresh, home-grown tomatoes for your meals.
When placed in the right environment, potted tomatoes can thrive anywhere. In addition, knowing how to grow tomatoes in pots is more convenient and easier to move around the house. Provided it gets the right sunlight, you can place your pots on a balcony, porch, patio, or even windowsill. Best of all, a single plant can produce hundreds of tomatoes in one season, promising a juicy summer feast.
So if you want to save money on your groceries, here’s how to grow tomatoes in pots in seven easy steps.
If you’re also interested in houseplants, check out our guides on how to care for succulents and repot succulents. We also discuss how to care for air plants.
How to grow tomatoes in pots?
1. Find the right size pots
Once you have purchased your chosen tomato variety from your local garden center, you should: find big pots to plant. The bigger the better when it comes to growing tomatoes as it will make it easier to care for the plants and have a healthy harvest. Ideally you need a pot with a diameter of at least 15 inches for one plant, but you can always repot to a larger pot once the plant grows out of it. You can even use hanging baskets to grow tomatoes, but they need regular watering.
2. Use good quality potting soil
Next one, fill the pot with a good quality, nutritious potting soil or compost to about an inch below the rim† If you use regular garden soil, it will become too heavy for your pots and compact it. Make sure your jars have: good drainage at the base so that the water can drain into a container. Most pots have a hole at the base to prevent the roots from sitting in the water and affecting their growth.
3. Plant tomato seedling deep in the ground
Now it’s time to plant! A general rule of thumb when planting a tomato seedling is to first remove the bottom sets of leaves† Than, dig a hole in the ground with a trowel or hand fork that is deep enough to bury most of the plant so that only the top bunch of leaves is visible. Use your hands to cover the plant with soil.
4. Add Support
Next one, add support to keep your tomatoes well centered and in place to grow vertically. First, place a long stake right next to the stem† It should go to the bottom of the pot and stick out of the ground. Once the stake is in place, tie it to the stem with a length of plant wire or twine. If you prefer to place your tomatoes on a balcony, this will also prevent them from being deformed by the wind.
5. Put in a sunny spot
Tomato plants thrive in sunny locations and warm temperatures† Ideally, they need between 6-8 hours of sunlight. Place tomato plants in sunny spots, and if they don’t get enough sun during the day, move the pots to a location that does. Keep in mind that too much sun is not good for young plants and can kill them. If the temperature is kept above 90 degrees F, the plant will stop producing flowers and the fruit will no longer grow to its maximum size.
6. Water the soil well
Water the soil completely with a watering can. In general, soil in pots can dry out quickly, so make sure the soil is good watered every morning to provide daily moisture. When warm temperatures rise, water twice a day. However, be careful not to overwater, as soggy soil can rot the roots. You can buy a soil water meter like this XLUX Soil Moisture Meter ($12, Amazon) to indicate when it is time to water your plants.
7. Feed your tomatoes regularly
And last but not least, feed your tomato plant every two weeks with a tomato-specific fertilizer or a slow-release universal feed. This supplies all the essential nutrients it needs to grow, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It’s also worth checking to see if your potting soil already has these nutrients in the mix, as some already contain fertilizer.
How long does it take for a tomato plant to grow?
Depending on the variety, tomatoes take 25 to 60 days after flowering to form fruit. However, the smaller tomato varieties can take three to four weeks to bear fruit.
If you have favorite plants that wilt, check out our top tips at how to save a dying plant?† Be sure to check this one out 5 plants that can help you sleep better as you learn how to clean every room of your house for spring cleaning tips.