In the early stages of development, it is common for baby tomatoes to be planted together, even with a very small distance between them. This is not an issue for their growth if they are well taken care of.
However, young seedlings begin to compete for nutrients, water, and space if they are not transplanted in time into separate pots or directly into the ground. The consequences of this can be weakened immunity and in extreme cases, the development of various diseases, including the drying of plants.
It is not recommended to plant two tomato plants together unless they are Dwarf or Cherry tomato varieties.
Fortunately for many gardeners who have a balcony or little space and still want to try their hand at growing tomatoes, there are many Dwarf and Cherry varieties that require less space and it is possible to plant two or three plants together in the same pot.
How Many Tomato Plants Can You Plant Together?
The tomato is an annual plant from the Solanaceae family, which tends to grow relatively quickly. This is especially true for roots that are very strong and can reach 4.9 ft (1.5 m) in depth. Depending on the variety, the plant grows 1.3-9.8 ft (0.4-3 m), so the first step is to choose the right variety that would eventually suit pot cultivation.
The number of tomatoes in a pot depends on 2 factors:
- Tomato variety
- Pot size
There are a large number of tomato varieties, but they can generally be divided into two groups:
Determinate tomatoes are often referred to as bush tomatoes because they do not continue to spread in length during the growing season. They are mostly compact and smaller than indeterminate tomatoes, reaching a height of 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 ft).
They should be planted with 1.6-1.9 ft (0.5-0.6 m) spacing.
Examples of tomato determinants include Roma tomatoes, Marglobe, etc.
Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow in length and ripen throughout the growing season, until frost weakens and kills the plant. They usually produce fruits later than the determinants of the species because they dedicate energy first to the growth of the roots and the plants themselves, and only after this process, the fruits ripen.
Most tomato varieties are actually indeterminate, including dwarf species. Examples include Cherry, Beefsteak, Sweet Million, etc.
Many of these species reach a height of 1.8-3.3 m (6-10 ft) and can be quite heavy.
From the above, it is easy to conclude that if you decide on one of the varieties that reach the standard size, the best option is to have the plant grow alone in one pot.
An exception can be made for dwarf and cherry varieties – you can grow 2 or 3 of them together as long as the rule about the size of the pot and the distance between the plants is followed.
For smaller varieties of tomatoes, a pot of about 2.5 gallons (9.45 liters) and at least 12 in (30 cm) deep is enough for an adult plant.
Pots of about 5 gallons (19 liters) are mainly used for growing larger varieties, and it is recommended that they be 24 in (60 cm) deep.
The varieties that are most suitable for growing in pots are: Pixie, Stakeless, Tiny Tim, Floragold, Patio, Cherry, Mini Indigo Rose, Dwarf Barossa Moon, Dwarf Audrey’s Love, etc.
Growing Tomatoes In Your Garden
How Close Together Can You Put Tomato Plants?
Tomatoes are mostly planted outdoors from seedlings when the danger of frost passes, but direct sowing of seeds is also possible in the case of Indeterminate tomatoes.
The spacing depends on the type of variety: determinants are planted in a space that measures 70×30 cm (27×11 inches), and tall vine varieties should be spaced apart about 31-35 in (80-90 cm) and the space between rows should, ideally, be about 4-5 ft (1-1.15 m).
Planting depth should be about 10 cm (3.9 inches) depending on the depth and branching of the roots.
Tomatillos require a lot of attention, whether planted in pots or outdoors. Most varieties need support to rely on, which can be a cage or a pole (stake), and protection from diseases and pests.
What Happens If I Plant Tomatoes Too Close Together?
Planting tomatoes too close together can have a few different effects on the plants. One is that the plants will be competing for resources, such as water and nutrients in the soil. This can lead to stunted growth or even death.
Additionally, the lack of airflow around the plants will create an ideal environment for fungal diseases to proliferate. Finally, the fruits of the plant may be smaller or less flavorful if they are crowded.
In general, it is best to give each tomato plant some space to grow so that it can reach its full potential.
Can You Plant Two Tomato Plants In The Same Hole?
While it is possible to plant two tomato plants in the same hole, it is not recommended, with the exception of dwarf tomato varieties.
The roots of the two plants will compete for resources, resulting in slower growth for both. In addition, the extra leaves and stems will shade the soil, making it more difficult for water and nutrients to reach the roots.
Only in some instances, planting two tomato plants in the same hole allows the roots to intermingle, creating a stronger and more robust plant.
For these reasons, it is best to plant each tomato plant in its own individual hole.
Growing Tomatoes In Pots
Do Tomatoes Grow Better In Pots Or In The Ground?
When choosing a tomato plant for your garden, be sure to consider the amount of space you have available as well as your own gardening preferences.
Determinate varieties, or bush tomatoes, are more compact and require less pruning than indeterminate varieties. As a result, they are better suited for small spaces such as containers or pots.
Indeterminate tomato plants, on the other hand, have more extensive root systems and can grow quite large. These types of tomatoes are best planted directly in the ground, as they may become stressed if their roots are confined to a small space.
In both instances, loose rich soil that drains well is ideal, as it provides the plants with the nutrients they need and prevents waterlogging. However, it is worth noting that tomato plants grown in containers require more frequent watering and may produce smaller fruits than those grown in the ground.
For this reason, if you have the option to grow tomatoes either in the ground or in containers, it is generally better to choose the former.
Can You Plant Two Tomato Plants In The Same Pot?
Technically, it is possible, but tomatoes in close proximity won’t thrive. The lack of space between the roots will cause the tomatoes to fail.
With roots tangled, neither tomato will receive enough nutrients. In the long run, the two tomato plants will starve each other, which will increase the risk of diseases like blight. To avoid these problems, plant only one tomato plant per pot.
Tomatoes do not need to be in the same container because they are self-pollinating. The same plant has both male and female flowers. Therefore, you can grow a single tomato plant in your garden and have it successfully produce tomatoes.
How Deep Should The Pots For Tomatoes Be?
The answer depends on several factors, including the variety of tomato and the climate in which it will be grown. This allows the roots to spread out and gives the plant adequate support.
If you live in an area with high temperatures, you may need to provide additional depth to prevent the roots from drying out. In the case of smaller tomato varieties, such as Pixie tomato, Stakeless tomato, Tiny Tim, Cherry or Floragold, a pot of about 2.5 gallons (9.45 liters) and at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep is enough for an adult plant.
If you choose to grow larger tomato varieties like Roma tomatoes or Marglobe, it is better to use pots of about 5 gallons (19 liters) and about 24 in (60 cm) deep.
Planting two tomatoes in one pot or one hole is possible but not recommended because they’ll compete for resources and won’t reach their full potential. The only exceptions are the Dwarf and Cherry varieties.
Determinate tomato varieties are more suitable for growing in pots or containers, while indeterminate varieties, such as Cherry, Beefsteak, or Sweet Million, tend to have larger root systems and it’s better to plant them directly in the garden.
If you choose to use pots or containers, make sure it’s the right size for your tomato variety: 5 gallon (19 liter) pots (about 24 in or 60 cm deep) for larger, indeterminate varieties and 2.5 gallon (9.45 liter) pots for smaller, determinate tomato varieties.