How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed in Containers

Updated on February 22, 2018
viking305 profile image

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

Tomatoes in a Container
Tomatoes in a Container | Source

Growing Tomatoes in Containers

In this article, I'll show you how to grow tomatoes organically in hanging baskets and pots.

There are step-by-step instructions with photos.

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.

Organic Tomato Seeds

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

These are the organic seeds that I bought for this years crop. As you can see above they grew very well. I also only used a few so have plenty in this same packet or next year too.

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Organic Tomato Plants
Organic Tomato Plants | Source

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.

Top Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants | Source

Which Containers To Use

It will depend on how much room you have. 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

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 that you can afford. After all you will save money when you get a bumper crop of tomatoes.

How to Plant Tomato Seeds Indoors

Hanging Basket Tomatoes
Hanging Basket Tomatoes | Source

Transferring your Plants

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.

Growing  Tomatoes
Growing Tomatoes | Source

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 from my  Garden
Tomatoes from my Garden | Source

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.

Vegetable Garden Tips

Vegetables from my Garden
Vegetables from my Garden | Source

Questions & Answers


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      • JenniferSilv profile image

        JenniferSilv 12 months ago

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

      • viking305 profile image

        L M Reid 4 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

      • Garlic Angel profile image

        Christine 4 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 6 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.

      • JayeWisdom profile image

        Jaye Denman 6 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 6 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.

      • NP.QUEEN profile image

        NP.QUEEN 6 years ago from Dubai

        Nice article with good tips. Thanks for sharing.

      • cebutouristspot profile image

        cebutouristspot 6 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. :(

      • thumbi7 profile image

        JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

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

        I enjoyed your descriptions and photos.

        Thanks for SHARING:)

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 6 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.

      • gajanis786 profile image

        gajanis786 6 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.

      • viking305 profile image

        L M Reid 6 years ago from Ireland

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

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 7 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!