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How Many Tomato Plants Per Container — How Many Indeed?

How Many Tomato Plants Per Container — How Many Indeed?

Are you planning on planting tomatoes in a container? You are probably wondering how many tomatoes to grow in a container.

It is essential to remember that planting tomatoes in a container can be very rewarding but only if you do it right.

While tomato blight is an issue beyond your control that can affect your tomatoes negatively, there are some further common problems with tomato plants.

Some of these common problems are the use of small containers, waterlogging, and overcrowding. Let’s look into the first topic. When I first started planting tomatoes I asked myself the question how many tomato plants I should plant per container.

How many tomato plants per container?

The answer can vary based on the container size and the type of tomatoes. Supposed your container has the size of a 5 to 10-liter bucket, plant exactly one tomato. If your container has the size of a large trough, you can plant several of them, approx. 18 to 24 inches apart, Each row should be 36 inches apart. 


Factors that Determine How Many Tomato Plants to Plant Per Container


Tomato Plant Type


Indeterminate Specie

These types of tomatoes grow wildly tall. They occupy a large space as the stem grows and spreads outward indefinitely.

An excellent example of this kind includes the big beef, Sun gold, and Brandywine. They require staking for additional support.

Thus, they are not commended for container type of planting. However, you may luckily find success by growing a single plant in a 5-liter container.


Determinate tomatoes

They are also known as bush tomatoes. Their maximum height is about 4 feet or 48 inches and stops growing after most of the fruits have ripened.

They do not require caging or stalking and grow ideally in a container of at least 5-gallon.

An excellent example of this species includes Roma, Taxi, and Southern Nights, among others.

It is recommended to plant a single tomato of this species in a container of 5 liters.


Dwarf tomatoes

These types of tomatoes are best suited for hanging baskets or containers. They grow to a height of 36 inches.

The fruits are generally of different colors. With this type, you can use a smaller container and still get the total result.

In other words, it is possible to grow two tomatoes of this species in a 5-gallon container. However, it should have a larger surface for ample spacing.

Usually, it would be best if you planted these tomatoes 8 to 12 inches away from each other. Enough soil is also recommended as a single draft tomato requires 2.5 bags of soil.


Container Size

While some tomatoes of dwarf species can do well in small containers, it is essential to avoid using them.

Bigger containers of about 5-gallons are more preferred as they hold enough soil necessary to provide the nutrients needed by the tomato plant.

If your container is the size of a large trough, you can plant more than one plant. However, strictly follow the tomato spacing guidelines for better results.


Common Mistakes to Avoid While Growing A Container


Excess watering

Regular watering is recommended to achieve the necessary moisture. However, it would help if you avoid excess watering to prevent drowning the plants.

Inconsistent watering can cause end rot, split tomatoes, and overall stressed plants.

When watering, just make sure that your soil’s moist, not soaking wet. That is your goal when watering your tomato plants.



Tomato plants require enough space to get enough nutrients from the soil and have enough room for root expansion.

However, sometimes one might try to maximize the space by planting several tomatoes in a container, forgetting that there is a higher risk in doing so than benefits.

You can still get a lot of produce with a single well-maintained plant. Avoid overcrowding by planting one plant in a container for better results.


Lack of sunlight

Sunlight’s crucial for the growth of tomatoes. They need sun for photosynthesis, among others.

Ensure your tomatoes receive about 8 hours of sun daily. Since they are in a container, it is easy to forget and move them from the shade.

However, please make a point of checking them throughout the day to ensure they are in a position where they are receiving maximum light.


Lack of fertilizers

While they can get nutrients from the soil, some soils are not rich in all nutrients and require a boost.

It is essential to add organic fertilizers in intervals of about two weeks. Use fertilizers that are a combination of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which are all in equal ratios.


Five Tips for Successfully Growing Tomatoes in A Container


Use large containers

If you want to grow tomatoes in a container, it is essential to consider using a large one with proper drainage.

Most tomato varieties require a large surface for expansion.

A 5-gallon container with a large surface area is recommended for single planting of determinate and indeterminate species. However, in the case of dwarf species, you can plant two tomatoes.

The purpose of a large container is to ensure the plant is getting enough nutrients and water without competing. This is necessary for healthy growth.


Deep planting

Dig deep into the container and place the tomato plant inside.

This ensures that when the tomato produces roots, it will provide support to the plant that is going to bear numerous fruits.

If planted shallowly, it is likely to fall off due to being overweighed after the plant grows tall and bears fruit. Thus, you can read about tying up tomato plants to address this issue.


Consistent watering

Water in a container can dry very fast, and therefore it can be challenging to maintain the required moisture for the healthy growth of tomatoes.

If the soil drains fast, it is essential to have a watering schedule that is consistent.

Dry soil can cause the plant to wilt and even develop blossom end rot. While watering, ensure you direct water to the soil to prevent contact with foliage.

Wet foliage encourages fungus and tomato blight.

Also, ensure the soil moist and not soggy. If the soil’s waterlogged, it can lead to the tomato plant’s roots to start rotting. Thus, ensure the container has suitable drainage holes.


Feed the tomatoes

Tomatoes require a wide variety of nutrients for higher productivity. They need feeding every two weeks with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

While some potting soil contains these nutrients, it is essential to confirm before applying additional fertilizers.



Tomatoes require enough sun for maximum output. About 6 to 8 hours of sun daily can be enough.

If you are growing your tomatoes inside, it is essential to take them out in the morning after sunrise and allow them to receive about 8 hours of sunlight. Learn more about these light levels by reading about it on our website.

However, for young plants, avoid the excess sun as it can kill them.

Also, tomatoes do well in warm temperatures of about 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and above 90 degrees Fahrenheit are not recommended.

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