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How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers

Updated on December 23, 2016
viking305 profile image

L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles. She is a keen gardener with plenty of experience.

How to Grow your own Tomatoes

Tomatoes in a Container
Tomatoes in a Container

Organic Tomatoes from Seed

Planting organic tomato seeds and plants in containers, pots and grow bags.

I wanted to grow my own organic vegetables in my small garden. But this was not possible after years of spraying and using chemicals on the soil.

Then I read that I could buy organic seeds and compost. I decided to start with growing these tomatoes in small containers and pots.

That way they were away from the soil in my garden but I could still enjoy a bumper crop.

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Tomato Plants I Grew from Seed.
Tomato Plants I Grew from Seed.
Tomato Plants Grown from Seed
Tomato Plants Grown from Seed

Step by Step Instructions

Last year I did very well growing my tomato plants and enjoyed many a tomato with my other vegetables that were also grown in my small garden.

This year I decided to go one step nearer to organic growing and my tomatoes turned out just fine. You can see my progress below.

There is also a way to keep the birds, slugs and snails off your tomatoes and other vegetables. The link to my article on that is also here. So that you can have a visual aid to see exactly how I went about growing my own tomatoes.

I took photos of my progress during the year. You can follow my plants as they grow from very small seedlings in to strong healthy tomato plants.

Tomato Seeds or Plants

It is up to you whether you want to grow your organic tomatoes from seeds or buy the plants in a gardening center.

Buying Tomato Seeds


  • Tomato seeds are much cheaper to buy so you can you can grow more plants.


  • A lot more work is involved in caring and transplanting the seeds and seedlings.
  • You may lose some seedlings if not taken care of properly.
  • Seeding trays, compost and time are extra expenses.

Buying Tomato Plants


  • You will be able to pick out and buy the strongest and healthiest plants.
  • You only buy the amount of tomato plants you have room to grow.
  • Less work involved as you can plant them immediately upon purchase into the container or pot.


  • They are more expensive to buy.

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants

Tomatoes in Containers, Pots or Grow Bags

Which containers to buy?

It will depend on how much room you have to grow your tomatoes on which containers you decide to buy. The size, weight, type and price of containers vary enormously.

There are light weight plastic containers or heavy ceramic ones. It is entirely up to you and depends on your taste but please be practical. There is no point in getting a heavy ceramic pot for a balcony when there are plenty of light plastic containers and pots that can be used just as efficiently.

Grow Bags are Very Easy to Use

If you buy a grow bag to plant your tomatoes in then you have bought the container and compost in one go. Or you could even improvise and use containers that are free by fixing up a barrel or bin that is no longer in use.

I would recommend that you buy the best compost to fill your container that you can afford. After all you will save money when you get a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Flowers on Tomato Plants

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants
Hanging Basket Tomato Plants
Hanging Basket Tomato Plants

Transferring your Plants

Transferring your Tomato Plants to the Containers, Pots and Grow Bags. Once the tomato seeds have germinated and grown to a strong plant they are ready to be transplanted in to the containers. Make sure the container you have bought has plenty of drainage.

If you are using a free drum or plastic container you will have to make enough holes in the pot to allow the water to flow out easily. Add the soil to the pots or barrels etc and prepare it by giving it a good watering.


It depends on the size of the container as to how many plants you grow in there. I had quite a large pot so put three tomato plants in it. There was plenty of room and this was also going to help me stake and tie the plants together later when needed.

Make a deep enough hole to be able to place the tomato plant roots securely in the pot. Cover with more soil and flatten it around the plant. Add crushed eggs shells to protect the plants from slugs and snails.


At this stage I always add the stakes too. This is because when the tomato plants begin to grow taller and need staking you may be too busy. Why not do it now and that way you will be ready to tie the growing tomato plants as they need to be made secure immediately.

Tomato Plant in my Garden

Growing  Tomatoes
Growing Tomatoes

Taking Care of Them

Watering and feeding are important for the successful growing of tomato plants.

To ensure you have a bumper healthy crop of tomatoes a little work is needed.

Never let your plants get dry but also do not over water them


As the plants grow tall they will need to be gently but securely tied to the stakes.

Once the flowers begin to show the plants will need a little more care.

You should snip with your fingers some of the shoots from the plants so that you can help it along.

There will be many shoots trying to compete with each other on each plant. You need to limit these so that you give the flowers and eventual tomatoes a chance to grow. The plant can only support so many tomatoes so some pruning is necessary.

Tomatoes Grown in Garden
Tomatoes Grown in Garden

How to Stop Slugs and Snails from Eating your Plants

Once you have placed your tomato plants in the container, pot or grow bag they are in danger. Unwanted guests are just waiting for to leave them so they can have a meal at your expense.

There is a very easy way to stop slugs and snails from eating and destroying your tomato plants. This method is free and very successful.

It Works for all your Vegetable and Fruit Plants

Save the egg shells from your kitchen a few weeks before you are going to plant your tomatoes. Just keep a container somewhere handy and throw the egg shells in it.

Once you have finished planting your vegetable plants crush the egg shells in to tiny pieces. Spread the shells around the small delicate plants. The slugs and snails hate the rough surface and will not attempt to go near your roots or leaves.

The egg shells also provide the plants with lots of nutrition and help them to grow healthy.

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants

How to Grow Organic Tomatoes in Containers

Eating organic tomatoes from your own home grown plants. Now all you have to do is watch the tomatoes grow and pick when you want to eat them.

The taste of a tomato that you have grown and looked after yourself is amazing.

It is easy and cheap. I also find it a lot of fun and very satisfying. Watching the small plants grow and thrive into large tomato plants with loads of tomatoes hanging in bunches is amazing.

If you have never tried it before but want to give it a go why not have a look again at this article on how to grow tomatoes in containers. The instructions and photos above will help you to enjoy a bumper crop of tomatoes grown by you.

All images are the copyright of L.M.Reid

Vegetable Garden Tips

Vegetables Grown in Garden
Vegetables Grown in Garden
Vegetables Growing in my Garden
Vegetables Growing in my Garden

Tips and Advice for Planting Tomatoes in Containers


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This hub is very timely. Had a good friend over for dinner tonight and she purchased some tomato plants and was wondering how to care for them as they are not yet planted. Will forward your hub to her. Rated useful!

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 5 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for reading Peggy. Glad to help your friend with the growing of her tomotoes.

    • gajanis786 profile image

      gajanis786 5 years ago

      Thank you for very useful is really a practical idea and we are seriously thinking of using your excellent tips to grow tomatoes at home.....thanks.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for this hub as it is very useful to me. I am planting some veggies at home now so it came very handy that you published this hub. Thanks again.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Wonderful hub! I will try planting some tomatoes in containers.

      I enjoyed your descriptions and photos.

      Thanks for SHARING:)

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      Interesting tip. I tried planting tomato all I got was 1 tomato then the plant died. Some white pest are all over the leaves :( I tried all the natural remedy like smoke they got clear only a day then come back tomorrow. :(

    • NP.QUEEN profile image

      NP.QUEEN 5 years ago from Dubai

      Nice article with good tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 5 years ago from Ireland

      Eating your own homegrown tomatoes is amazing. The taste is so fresh and different than what you buy in the shops.

      As you can see from the photos above it is very easy to get a bumper crop from growing tomatoes in containers.

      Thank you everyone for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      How do you stop birds and snails from eating your tomato plants? I tried growing the hanging variety last year and every single tomato was eaten by birds and/or squirrels that make themselves at home in my yard.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 5 years ago from Ireland

      Hello Jay, as you can see from the photos I put the crushed egg shells around the young tomato plants when I re-pot them. That stops the snails and slugs.

      When the plants get bigger and the tomatoes are beginning to grow I put strings on the wall with old CDs attached to them. The movement and shine keeps the birds away. I have never had a squirrel problem but the CD trick might work for them too.

      Good luck with planting your own tomatoes this year.

    • Garlic Angel profile image

      Christine 3 years ago from Dublin

      A great article viking305.

      Growing my own tomatoes is on my list of 'To Do's'.

      I am hoping to purchase a tomato plant this weekend and your tips on how to care for it will come in very handy.

      Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work.

      Garlic Angel

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Good luck with your tomato plant Garlic Angel They are easy enough to grow so you should have lots of tomatoes for the summer

    • JenniferSilv profile image

      JenniferSilv 2 weeks ago

      Great tips - totally trying bags vs. ground this year ... no such thing as too many tomatoes!

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