How To Prepare Soil For Tomatoes In Pots?

If you don’t have proper space for growing vegetables and fruits then you should not lose your heart. You can grow your favorite plants in pots or containers. This is a great way of growing your food in your limited space. 

Tomatoes are one of the famous vegetable crops that you must try.  This plant produces fresh and juicy tomatoes for your kitchen.  Homegrown fresh tomatoes are far better than store-bought tomatoes.  

Never Fill Your Pots With Garden Soil

When you grow plants in pots or containers you can easily maintain the fertility of the soil. Always use high-quality soil and never fill your pots with garden soil because: 

  • It is very compact and doesn’t have all the nutrients that are needed by tomato plants. 
  • Garden soil has the best diseases that spread in your tomato plants when they are established in the pots.
  • The weeds can easily germinate in the garden soil.  Weeds are unwanted plants that create competition with tomato plants for nutrients.

When you use a high-quality potting mix for filling the soil, it contains all the organic material that is required for the healthy growth of any plant. Soil is the foundation of any plant and your success in growing healthy crops relies on it.  

Difference Between Seed Starting Mix And Potting Mix For Tomato Plants

People are confused about the seed starting mix and potting mix.  There is a slight difference between these two because of the different ingredients. 

If we talk about seed starting mix, it helps the seeds to sprout and develop their first set of leaves.  The newly germinated plant takes food from the seed so there is no need of using fertilizers in the starting mix. 

On the other hand, potting mix performs an entirely different function that’s why it is different from seed starting mix. Potting mix is essential for tomato plants because they are going to grow in it permanently.  

It means the quality of the potting mix should be high so they provide a good home with food for tomato plants. It must contain all the essential nutrients for the healthy growth of fruit. 

Why The Right Potting Mix Is Essential?

Soil is the medium from which plants absorb nutrients, oxygen, and water.  Tomato plants grow stronger when you provide a suitable environment.  When you use well-drained, light, and rich soil then tomato plants produce higher yields. 

A high-quality potting mix holds enough moisture.  When you grow tomato plants in pots then you can fill the pots according to desire which is not possible when you grow plants in the ground.  

But it doesn’t mean that you can use any type of soil without thinking about what tomatoes need to produce fruit for you.  If you use an unbalanced and unhealthy potting mix then young tomato seedlings will not thrive. 

Keep Reading

  1. How To Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes In Pots
  2. Everything You Need To Know About Growing Tomatoes In Grow Bags
  3. Put These Things In Planting Holes For The Best Tomatoes Harvest

Signs That Your Potting Mix Might Be Bad

Following are the signs that show that your bought potting soil can be bad for your tomato plants.

  • If the potting soil you buy from the store is sitting there for years or in case, it has a high percentage of peat moss then this compacted soil is not ideal for your tomato plants.
  • If the potting mix is in a plastic bag for a long time then it can produce mold or mildew that is not good for your tomato plants.
  • When you buy potting mix then make sure it is fresh because if it is over then it will naturally lose nutrients and become compacted.
  • If you find there is a foul adoration of soil just like a rotten egg smell, it means your potting soil has fermented or harbored mold.
  • The last sign is that if you examine that your plants are not thriving well it means your soil is bad. 

The Components Of Tomato Potting Mix

The elements of potting mix help in tomato plants’ growth and root health. A good potting mix helps to nourish your plants.  It is well-drained and retains moisture. 

If you mix the right ingredients then tomato plants will produce healthy fruits. Following are the inorganic and organic ingredients you need.


  • Sphagnum peat moss
  •  Perlite 
  •  Vermiculite 
  •  Peat coir

If you mix all these ingredients in your potting mix then it will improve the quality of drainage and aeration. When the roots of tomato plants get air to breathe and proper drainage then they will thrive well.


  • Compost
  • Garden loam
  • Humus

These ingredients improve the water retention of the potting mix.  This will keep the plant hydrated and nutrients are easily absorbed by the roots.  You should never ignore these ingredients for our healthy and strong tomato plants in pots.

How To Make A Basic Homemade Potting Mix?

Following is a simple and easy recipe for a potting mix that works great for tomato plants. If you have all the above-mentioned ingredients then you can easily mix them in a 1:1:1 ratio.

  • One part of peat moss or coir
  • One part of perlite and vermiculite or sand
  • One part of compost, garden loam, humus, or commercial potting mix
  1. Now you need a large tub, gloves, and a trowel for mixing all those ingredients. 
  2. Take 2 parts of sphagnum peat moss or peat coir and soak it in one part of warm water in a large tub. Wait until the water is absorbed.
  3. At this stage, you can add other inorganic ingredients vermiculite and perlite to this peat mixture. Mix all the ingredients well.
  4. Now you can add organic ingredients to make this mixture more rich for tomato plants.
  5. You can add a time-release fertilizer when you fill your pots.

Right Size Of Pot For Growing Tomatoes

You should not compromise on the size of the pot you are using for tomatoes. Tomatoes need full potential to grow, that’s why they need enough space. 

The size of the pot also depends on the variety you choose for growing. If you use a small pot then it will restrict the growth of tomato plants and the size of the fruit is also smaller.  

Your plant will flourish if it grows on the right side of the pot. Spacing between the tomato plants is also important. It has a great impact on growth. 

When you grow tomato plants too close then they will compete with each other for light and nutrients. As a result, they will become tall and leggy. 

The minimum size of the pot must be 30 cm. You can use a 15 cm deep pot if you are growing a dwarf variety of tomatoes. The maximum size must be 25 cm and it can hold 10 liters of soil. 

You should not use growing bags for tomato plants. Because the success rate of growing tomatoes in grow bags could be much higher.  If you want tomato plants to develop a strong root system then you should provide them ample space. The size of the fruit depends upon the depth of the pot.

Whatever the size of the pot you choose for growing tomatoes make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. Drainage is very important for your plants because excess standing water invites root rot and many fungal diseases. 

Keep Reading

  1. How To Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes In Pots
  2. Everything You Need To Know About Growing Tomatoes In Grow Bags
  3. Put These Things In Planting Holes For The Best Tomatoes Harvest

5 Tips For Planting Tomatoes In Pots

When you grow tomato plants in pots then the steps will help you a lot. 

  • You must use the right size of the pot that is according to the variety of tomato plants.  Tomato plants need water,  sun, and food on time for faster growth. If you use a small pot then the root system of the plant will not grow well. It is better to use a 5-gallon or larger pot so your tomato plants get ample space.
  •  Selection of the right variety for the pot is also an important task.  It is better to choose bush or dwarf varieties for growing in the pot.  Short-season or determinate varieties don’t grow so big so they can easily adjust in the pot. It is better to start your seedlings indoors and transplant them into your desired pot. You can also buy young tomato plants from any local nursery or gardening store.
  • For filling your pot you must use a healthy potting mix that contains all the nutrients. When your tomato plants get all the organic matter from the soil it will produce a higher yield.
  • Sunlight plays a very important role in the production of sweet and juicy tomatoes.  It is better to place your pot in a location where it receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily.
  •  Never let the soil dry as tomato plants like to grow in moist soil but avoid overwatering because it can cause root rot.  Tomato plants don’t like wet feet so you should maintain a frequency of water according to the weather conditions of your area. When the temperature is high then your plant needs more water. You can decrease the frequency of watering on winter days.

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