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Jun 22, 2009 08:06 PM

What size pots for tomatos and peppers?

Hey There,

I'm a newbie and picked up two tomato and one Jalapeno plants a home depot about two weeks ago. I transplanted the tomato plans into 9 " pots and put the pepper in a 6 inch pot.

I'm reading that it is better to have 18" to 24" pots for tomatoes. I have no idea about the proper pot for the pepper. Is is better to let be or to move larger pots? The tomato plants are growing but I only have a couple a flowers.

Thanks in advance

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  1. I would move the pepper plant to a larger pot, at least 12 inches. I use 18-24" pots for tomatoes. For the pepper you might also try a discarded black plastic pot a shrub was purchased in. Fertilize weekly with a liquid fertilizer. Sometimes I had to water daily in hot, dry weather. A tomato plant can get 4-5 feet tall depending on variety. My pepper plants might get 2-3 feet tall depending on variety. I don't think the jalapeno gets more than 2' tall. BTW some people get used 5 gallon plastic buckets from bakeries or dry wall guys to use as pots but you'll need to make drainage holes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dfrostnh

      I second the 5 gal. pots and pails. When I was container gardening I used them for tomatoes, peppers, squash, cukes, watermelons and cantalopes. I got them from restaurants, bakeries, and construction crews and landscape crews (actual shrub/tree pots) working on site. In a pinch I bought cheap buckets from the dollar store. I used a phillips head screw driver and a hammer to punch holes in them (didn't own a drill). Sometimes the bottom cracked a little but it was fine since I was going for drainage anyway.

    2. For every tomato grower you will find different advice about the best way to plant. The pots you mentioned are way too small. You didn't say what type of tomatoes they were but the more space you can give them the better. You will never get much fruit from a small pot but the real problem is that to have a flavorful tomato once they set fruit you need to cut back on water and you cannot do that if the roots have a small growing space. the deeper you've planted the plant and the larger the roots it puts out the more it can handle the cut back in water. But gardening is always about learning. Take what you learn this year for next time. If you have it in a small pot now and can get a larger one (15 gal is ideal if it has to be a pot) you can still transplant it if you are careful. You'll just get a smaller plant with less fruit otherwise but that's how we learn. Each season teaches something no matter how experienced you are.

      1. I use 24" deep pots I wouldn't go any smaller. I fertilize every couple of weeks with a general fertilizer. I keep moist be don't over water. In FL, tomatoes in summer it is just too hot but up north it is great. The more room for the plants you will have better fruit. But don't transplant once you have fruit.

        Best of Luck

        1. garbage can size for the tomatoes:

          from our dc-metro gardening guru, jos roozen

          1 Reply
          1. re: alkapal

            I use a more dwarf variety but some varieties do need a larger pot. But my deep pots usually do well, but I know that some use as you said even larger pots.

          2. For patio tomato plants I've had very good luck with pots 18" X 18" with a pan on the bottom. Very similar in size to a five gallon bucket. I think you need a pan under them so they can retain a little water and draw it back up for a while (unless you are in very wet conditions and then you will encounter other problems).
            I've even had good luck with indeterminate varieties, especially cherry and medium-sized ones, like Stupice. At the end of the season look at the root ball. They are adequate, but you have to stay on top of the watering!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scargod

              All my pots have drip pans under weather clay or plastic. I never plant anything with out one. Good point.