Tomato Container Gardening:
a Guide to Container Size, Planting, and Choice

When you're tomato container gardening, the most important decision you make is which kind of container to plant your tomato plants in. Don't worry though, this is not rocket science!

Looking for a great idea? Read our tomato container reviews here.

Lost? If you're following the How to Grow Tomatoes series and need to find your way back to the main article, use these handy links.

See All Our Articles on How to Grow Tomatoes

Size of a Tomato Plant Container

A truism right out of "gardener's elementary school": a plant's root system is the same size as its visible growth. That's a lot of roots!

But a tomato plant doesn't mind having 'balled up' roots, so as long as the pot is at least a certain size, you'll be okay.

Avoid Root Rot

However, the one golden rule is to avoid letting the plant stand with its roots forever wet. Your container MUST have adequate drainage for the water to escape through.

Old bathtub used as a planter. Photo used under Creative Commons license from Flickr Photo Credit: Craige Morsels at Flickr

Root rot will develop otherwise, and the plant will never do well.

Good drainage should be a given when you buy a container that's designed for the purpose.

However, if you're using a whiskey barrel, old bathtub, some kind of home-made container, or anything else you've scrounged up, then you're going to have to drill some drainage holes.

Space these a few inches apart, and ensure that the lowest point of the tomato container (if the item is not totally flat underneath) gets particular attention.

Choosing a Tomato Container

There are as many solutions for growing tomatoes in as there are tomato varieties! Any of these will be great choices for you.

Akro-Mills Stack-a-Pot review

EarthBox Garden Kit review

Island Grow Pots review 

Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Review

Although planting crops and flowers traditionally takes up a lot of space, alternative tomato containers have been provided for those who are willing to give growing tomatoes, flowers, vegetables or herbs a try.

People living in smaller homes or apartments can use a balcony, rooftop, patio or even an indoor space and grow whatever they wish in the Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot.

It's a really simple product, but brilliant in its own way.

Why struggle to maximize the space you have available by stacking or mounting tomato containers, when this item does it for you without risk of pots falling?

Read reviews of Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Review at Amazon

Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot: Why We Love It

The Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot works perfectly for both indoor and outdoor gardening. Its vertical structure maximizes any little space, and allows you to plant flowers, crops, herbs, dwarf vegetables and even strawberries or other berries just outside your balcony, deck, patio, or anywhere inside your home.

Imagine the delight of your friends and colleagues when they are welcomed into your home by cascading tomatoes!

The system includes 3 stacking pots: each pot can hold 3 plants, and a base. This multi-tiered planter provides you with a great plant or flower arrangement; plant nine different kinds of flowers and see them bloom beautifully altogether. Or train cherry tomatoes on one side of your tomato container, and herbs on the other. Basil and tomatoes make a delicious sauce when you roast them.

It also makes a wonderful herb and spice pot for your kitchen. Just rotate the Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot to give equal amounts of sun exposure to the different plants.

This simple, yet functional stacker, is well designed and versatile to suit all your gardening needs. It is efficient, space-saving and blends perfectly anywhere at home.

The clay color and design gives it a more realistic clay pot appeal. It is neither too high nor too low, making it easy for anyone to reach each plant.

Purchase more units to stack more layers. Reinforcing it with a metal rod right in the center for a stronger support is highly recommended.

Click to order the Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Reviewfrom Amazon.com

Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Review: What's Good and Bad

Ease of assembly: just stack the pots on top of each other to start on your latest gardening project

Convenient: the pots are collapsible and can be easily stored whenever not needed

Durable: this stacker planter can withstand all four seasons outdoors

UV-protection: this withstands the harsh effects of the sun without releasing harmful vapors from the sun's UV rays

Made from plastic: it is uncertain if the material can withstand heavy weights and other external forces; especially the base

Too heavy to mobilize: a 30-quart worth of soil is too heavy to move around without the help of moving and transfer tools

Over-saturation of the bottom pots: if the top tiers are watered more than required, it is possible to drown the plants on the lower section of the stack, as the water from the top sections naturally find its way to the bottom

Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Review: Conclusion

The Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot is the perfect gift for gardeners of all levels.

It can grow all sorts of flowers and crops even with limited space.

Purchasing more units are recommended to fill your home the colors and life it needs without requiring a large-space garden.

You can even grow complementing herbs and vegetables side-by-side.

Larger tomato plants may be better suited to more traditional tomato container choices.

Let out your creative side with the Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot.

Click to order the Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot Review from Amazon.com

Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container Review

When starting your own garden, you are required to have the basics: seeds, water, sunlight, and most importantly, soil.

It is often recommended to grow plants in open spaces rather than in pots, as this permit the plants to grow fully.

However, not everyone has enough space, especially those who are living in urban communities. That's why you're on a site about container gardening, after all!

Although turning to plastic pots as tomato containers is the common trend, why don't you try this Island Grow Pots solution instead?

We think it's really great choice of tomato container, as it works well, and importantly for people with limited space, it is simple to move around.

Read reviews of Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container at Amazon

Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container: Why We Love It

Planting in bag tomato containers are popular in Europe, particularly for growing potatoes. It is a brilliant alternative to customary planting.

Traditional plastic pots can damage the roots of your plants as they tend to develop large, singular roots. This is caused by limited oxygen intake of the roots from the soil - a common case found in root-bound plants.

One sure way to grow your plants healthily is by air-pruning. This method is efficient in propagating seedlings or potted plants for restoration. During the process, the roots are exposed to air without high humidity, causing the roots to 'burn off'; producing new and healthy branching roots constantly.

The same theory is utilized in the Island Grow Bag Container: the fabric of the pot allows the plants to air-prune by themselves. Your tomato container plants will now grow into their full capacity, as their growth is no longer restricted when compared to plastic pot and containers.

Contrary to plastic pots, utilizing the Grow Bag assists the plants to develop multiple small clusters of roots, making it possible for plants to receive more oxygen.

Another benefit is improved water delivery, by allowing water to flow as freely as possible through the soil and roots, at the same time carrying and distributing oxygen to all areas of the roots.

This fabric pot also effectively absorbs more nutrients than conventional plastic pots. Plant nutrients are considered precious (and expensive!) - none of it should go to waste. It can hold up to 5 gallons of soil, enough for planting potatoes, tomatoes, crops, herbs and spices, flowers, bushes and even dwarf palm trees.

Click to order the Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container from Amazon.com

Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container: What's Good and Bad

Made from unique fabric: This potting material is made from breathable cloth, which allows the roots to grow and develop to their maximum capacity

Easy drainage: The pot will not trap water, so never worry about over-watering your plants

Sturdy handles: It comes with handles, allowing easy transportation of the pots wherever you want to re-arrange them

Undependable if abused: The pot is made of soft fabric: don't drag it across your patio! Find a solution to help you carry heavier items instead

Expensive: Although the product is remarkable, it is still a pot meant to hold a single plant. You would have to spend quite a lot of cash if you are planning to grow a wider range of produce.

Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Tomato Container: Conclusion

The Island Grow Pot could be the answer to a common gardening dilemma.

Tomato plants grow healthier and happier, even with little attention, since this Grow Bag that does most of the work for you.

It's not the cheapest tomato container for multiple plants.

Dragging it when full is a sure way to tear the bottom and dump your favorite tomato plant on the ground!

But as Amazon customers attest to, this is a well-made and very clever tomato container that takes up next to no space when stored, and gives your tomato plants the maximum chance to shine.

Skeptical? So were we, but it's really turned out to be an excellent product.

Click to order the Island Grow Pots 5 Gallon Grow Bag Container from Amazon.com

EarthBox Garden Kit Review

Seasoned gardeners will tell you that gardening can either be a pleasurable (therapeutic even) or frustrating experience.

It's always so rewarding to see the fruits of your labor blossom before your very eyes.

But it can also be really disappointing to find out that the plant isn't growing well, despite the effort, time and energy you've devoted to it.

This will consequently lead to you giving up and newbie gardeners thinking that they'll never have the gift of green thumb.

Before thinking of putting away all your tools and giving away your plants, give your tomato plants a second chance to shine by trying out this EarthBox Garden Kit.

Read reviews of EarthBox Garden Kit at Amazon

EarthBox Garden Kit: Why We Love It as a Tomato Container

The patented EarthBox Garden Kit was developed by commercial farmers. It is tested and proven in the lab and farm to increase yields of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, with less fertilizer, watering and no weeding at all.

This is a foolproof approach to container gardener that takes up little space, only measuring 30 x 13 x 12 inches, with a 2 cubic feet soil capacity. The box rests on four castor wheels, so that it can be easily rolled back and forth on your patio or rooftop.

The kit includes fertilizer, dolomite, two germination covers and instructions. You can use your own fertilizer, but make sure to avoid the slow release kind to avoid burning the plants.

There will be no guesswork involved as this award-winning, high-tech growing system almost does everything for you. It controls soil conditions, making use of a fertilizer strip system favorable for the growth of plants, and ensures that they get exactly the amount of water they need.

To start, all you have to do is add any brand of potting mix, seedlings and water. The black mulch sheets maintain the moisture, and a timer indicates when you should fill the reservoir with water to keep it from drying out.

The amount of water varies for every stage of plant growth, so filling the reservoir can be quick, or can take a lot of time when plants are at a stage where they take in a lot of water.

A tip is to set up a rain barrel with a 1.5-inch flexible tubing and spigot; this will help you to fill the EarthBoxes very quickly, and reuse your rainwater too!

Unlike conventional gardening, plants won't risk being strangled by weeds and got at by pests (e.g. snails and slugs), since a cover is provided to protect the plants. The cover also reflects light, keeps an even soil temperature throughout the day, and stops water from transpiring off the surface.

If you don't want to squat down every time you're tending the plants, you could build supports to hold them off the ground.

Click to order the EarthBox Garden Kit from Amazon.com

EarthBox Garden Kit: What's Good and Bad

Compact: It takes up less space, giving those with minimal surface area a chance to grow their own vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers right on their own windowsills, decks, balconies, and even indoors

UV-protected: This makes it durable to withstand the harsh effects of the sun for years

Faster and bigger plant growth with minimal effort: Plants grow bigger, tastier and faster in the EarthBox with minimal labor, attention and maintenance, since the EarthBox is self-watering and self-feeding. Even the fertilizer is measured out for you

Can't over-water: Excess water just comes out of the overflow hole once the reservoir is filled

Easy set-up: All you have to do is open the box, add good potting mix, water, seeds and/or transplants

Not a structurally elegant tomato container: Looks like a cheap plastic box

Expensive: In addition to the initial cost, you have to shell out money for potting soil (more if you choose organic soil) and plants

Requires ongoing purchases: The covers need to be changed every year

Opaque water fill tube: It would've been better if the water fill tube were made of clear plastic, so that you wouldn't have to guess when it's time to fill the water reservoir

Pipes become possible breeding ground for mosquitoes: Hollow pipes with stagnant water make for suitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Screens should have been included in the kit to be affixed to the pipes

EarthBox Garden Kit: Conclusion

Tomato container gardening will be nothing but a pleasurable experience if you have this innovative EarthBox Garden Kit.

It may not look like very much, but the product is worth more than it costs, especially if you consider the quality and quantity of the yield you get.

The positive feedback from Amazon customers should tell you all you need to know.

If you're a 'hands off' kind of gardener and don't want to micromanage your tomato containers, then the EarthBox Garden Kit could be the solution you've been dreaming of.

A really excellent product, especially for first-time container gardeners. Highly recommended.

Click to order the EarthBox Garden Kit from Amazon.com

Preparing Your Tomato Container

We need to prepare the container before planting our tomato plants inside it. After ensuring that there is sufficient drainage, you need to consider the soil you'll be using.

If this is the first time you're using the container: Fresh soil is recommended, rather than simply filling the container with dirt from your garden.

Regular ol' garden dirt probably has weed seeds lurking, and you cannot be sure of the balance of nutrients in the soil. Starting from fresh, you will know for sure what your plants are getting.

If this is year two or beyond: It's advisable to rotate your crops. Don't grow tomatoes in the same container two years running, unless you plan on removing the old soil and replacing it fresh.

Tomato plants leech nutrients from the soil, and you probably won't get such a good crop the second year.

Read more on how to choose container gardening soil here.

The Next Step

What next, now your container's ready?

Read our article on how to plant tomatoes. It will help you to give your tomato plants the best possible start in their new tomato container!

If you're lost, or missed some of the earlier topics in this series, then follow the handy links below.

See All Our Articles on How to Grow Tomatoes


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