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Mar 16, 2011 01:02 PM

Tomatoes in container problem

I planted 6 plants, two in each of three containers, about a month ago. [I'm in SoCal and it started to get warmer here very early, though it's been relatively cool lately.] All 6 are heirloom varieties.

All three containers were done with new, exactly the same soil mixtures and are right next to each other, so they appear to get exactly the same sun and temperature exposure. They've been watered the same too. One pot is about 20% smaller than the other two and that pot's plants are not growing much, while the other 4 are growing very well. One of the two plants in the 'stunted' pot seems to have some 'leaf curl'..... the other doesn't. It's hard to believe the 10% difference in container size is the culprit, but ???????

Suggestions please????


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  1. Two things come to mind, the first being that heirloom varieties are notorious for not being very disease-resistant compared to hybrids. maybe there's a soil-or-insect-borne organism at work.

    The second is to wonder how big the pots are- are you aware of the enormous root systems tomatoes are capable of growing? two plants in a too-small pot could easily be suffering from dehydration or malnutrition (or whatever you call it in plants).
    Keep us posted.

    1. Hi,

      Maybe if you moved one of the plants in the smaller pot to another pot, by itself, it would help. More room to grow?


      1. Leaf curl can be a sign the tomato is getting too much water. If you are watering the same and the drainage isn't as good you might have more water in the soil in the smaller pot. Something to consider.

        1. The smallest pot is probably about 15" in diameter by 15" tall and the larger ones are maybe 18"x18"; all are round. These plants all came in 4" containers and have been in the ground only 4 weeks or so. Is it possible their roots have grown so much in that short time. The ones that are growing are perhaps 18" tall now and the two slow ones are maybe 10" tall.

          I think I'm going to dig up the slow ones (or at least dig down enough to investigate) and see about the drainage. That seems like the most plausible reason.