There are many benefits when growing bush tomatoes in large pots and large pots do have a number of advantages over grow bags.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • They can be moved easily – into the sun or indoors at night.
  • Great for bush varieties – plants can trail over the sides without reaching the ground.
  • It is more difficult for slugs to hide in a pot than a grow bag.
  • It’s easier to plant support canes in a deep pot than a grow bag.
Tumbler Tomato - Growing Bush Tomatoes In Large Pots
Tumbler – a great tasting and early cherry tomato!

Some disadvantages are:

  • Pots can be blown over by the wind, especially when plants are fruiting and top heavy. A large weight (a brick) in the bottom of a pot helps stability. Adding sand to the compost will improve drainage and make the pot heavier and therefore less likely to be blown over on a windy day.
  • It is more expensive to buy pots than grow bags. But a large pot will last for years and look great on the patio.
  • One of the disadvantages with container growing, be it a large pot or grow bag, is that the soil dries-out too quickly. So add perlite, vermiculite or water retaining gel to the compost to help retain moisture and prevent compost from drying-out too quickly.

Keeping bush varieties off the ground also increases aeration around the base of the stem which is where diseases usually begin.

Three Large Pots for Bush Tomatoes
Three large pots containing bush tomato varieties – support canes are added early!

Overall, bush varieties are best grown in large pots and tall varieties are best grown in grow bags or directly in the ground if you have suitable soil.

Tomato varieties for large pots

My top choices for a large pot are Red Alert or Tumbler F1 – both cherry tomatoes, and Oregon Spring or Legend – both large size tomatoes.

Best size for large pots

When choosing a pot for final planting, go for a bigger rather than a smaller size. Tomato plants like a reasonably big root area.

The pots in the photo above are plastic, around 16 inches across at the top and bought from a discount store. You will find plenty of these on sale in the spring.

Soil capacity for large pots

The ones above contain around 10 to 12 litres, so you can expect to fill around three pots this size with the soil from one grow bag.
It is generally true to say that a bigger container will produce a better crop.

Next: Growing Tomatoes in Grow Bags

5 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Lee
    | Reply

    Bushy tomatoes I am growing are called nice and neat I did transplant into bigger pots they are looking quite healthy but am a bit concerned as there are white marks on some of the leaves, I-am feeding once a week but not overwatering. Can you reassure me please thank you.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      A few white marks on some of the leaves is not a big problem. Tomato leaves often get all sorts of strange markings as the season progresses.

  2. Steve
    | Reply

    Hello tomato growers,
    I’m wondering if any of you have tried growing the seeds from F1 varieties, and if so, what kind of results you got? I’ve never tried this before, but this year I’m trying it with 2 types.

    Type 1 I’m assuming to be an F!. My wife bought some small plum tomatoes from the Sainsbury’s basic range and they were, surprisingly, very nice. I collected the seeds, which proved to have a superb germination rate, and now I have lots of healthy small plants. I don’t even know if these are determinate, indeterminate or what. Time will tell.

    Type 2 were supplied to me by a friend. The seeds were again saved from a bought tomato, this time the variety was on the packaging and it’s Piccolo, definitely an indeterminate F1. Again, time will tell!

    I must add that I’m not growing these as my main cropping tomatoes, that honour goes to Gardeners’ Delight, Tumbling Tom and Minibel. I’m just curious to see what I get.


  3. terry mckeswick
    | Reply

    thanks for the tips nick. i am growing ferline cordon tomatoes as i had a bumper crop with them last year. they are by far the tastiest tomatoes i have ever grown. thanks again. regards. terry.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Terry,
      Ferline are great, blight tolerant and disease resistant. I’m growing some of this variety too.

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