jendoyle
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3 tomato plants per pot

Hello,
This is my first post - I've come looking for advice on how to handle three tomato plants in one pot. I obviously didn't think these would grow so fast and strong, and now I've got 5 feet plants in the same pot. I am considering just cutting one of them by the stem, but I just wanted to make sure that was the only solution. Please see attached photo.

Jennifer
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TomatoNut95
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

Indeterminate type tomatoes do not do good in small pots such as the one in your photo. You will get spindly, weak plants that will hardly produce and will need watering everyday due to so many roots being crammed in the pot. Trust me, been there, experienced it. And three and even two plants together like that isn't good either. I highly suggest that if you cannot separate them, cut all but the biggest/healthiest plant. And if you have a bigger pot you can report into or a place in-ground, your tomato plant might do better.

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Gary350
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

Buy some 5 gallon buckets at Lowe's they are very cheap about $3 you don't want tomato plants in anything smaller than 5 gallons. Drill 10 water drain holes 1/4" in the SIDE of the bucket 4" up from the bottom. Bottom of bucket will hold 4" of water the rest of the soil will wick water up to the top. This will keep soil moisture more stable. Potting soil may have a small amount of fertilizer but not enough you need to fertilize tomatoes every week with low nitrogen, high potassium, fertilizer. 5-10-20 fertilizer will be good if you can find such a thing. Another thing that potting soil needs is soil minerals. Sprinkle a hand full of local soil on the potting soil surface water will wash it down into the potting soil. Add another hand full of soil ever 2 weeks. Tomatoes need calcium to prevent BER every month just to be safe.

Do not cut tomato plants off at the stem. Put a tomato cage in the pot let plants grow 6 feet tall.
Last edited by Gary350 on Mon May 25, 2020 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoNut95
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

Indeterminate types don't do good in 5-gallon buckets either. Just trust me, I've seen what happens. However, if you are growing a determinate type like Roma, 5-gallon is fine.

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TNCatHerder
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

I agree, 5 gallon at a minimum. Bigger is better.

I would only put one plant in that blue pot, and even it is small.

Crowding tomatoes also will increase your risk of blight.

letsgetphil
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

I think it is possible to just divide the three plants in to 3 bigger buckets. It may take a few min to save most of the roots by untangeling them from eachother, but having them seperated is probably going to be the best solution to make them grow faster and more sturdier :D

Vanisle_BC
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

letsgetphil wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:56 pm
I think it is possible to just divide the three plants in to 3 bigger buckets. It may take a few min to save most of the roots by untangeling them from eachother, ....
I don't know whether this would be less stressful on a plant than cutting stems of two and letting the third grow on with relatively undisturbed roots; but If you try it, you could make untangling easier by soaking the whole ball of roots & soil in a bucket of water.
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imafan26
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

If the plants were smaller, they could have been separated. You can take cuttings from the tomatoes and root them if it is a good variety. I would only put one tomato in a pot and I would use an 18 gallon container for an indeterminate. 5 gallons is o.k. for
a determinate, but I prefer 10 gallons. My indeterminate tomatoes in 18 gallon pots still send roots out the bottom of the pot into the ground, they need the space.

I would also get it away from the fence. It likes full sun and you don't have enough space between the fence and the pot for the tomato to spread out. You will need to stake or cage it as well.
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

Haha! Jendoyle, you'll get lots of advice, not all of it consistent.

Looking again at your photo the growth looks so healthy - doing so well as they are - I'd be reluctant to interfere with the roots any more than I had to. If I were you (I'm not; I know :)) I would get the biggest pot I could lay my hands on and transfer the root ball to it, filling with some good soil. Then I would maybe cut off the two weakest stems - or not - and just enjoy whatever happens next. If you move them for max. sun be careful they don't get 'sunscald' - depends on your local conditions I guess.

Please do tell us what you decide and how it works out.
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TomatoNut95
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

Imafans right, tomatoes need very large pots because of the large amount of roots they put out. I put my Roma's in five gallon fabric pots and they're not doing good. Tomatoes in small pots result in spindly, sickly plants that hardly produce, and the produce you do get is runty. I agree with trying to take cuttings from the plants. Take a six inch side branch of a plant and stick it in water out of the sun. :wink:

PaulF
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

It is correct you will get lots of advise on this thread. Most of it is right on the mark. Here is my take: use this as a learning tool. Go with what you feel like doing and then next year fix what you think needs fixing. I have grown tomatoes in several sized pots and compared them to in-ground grown plants. No matter the size pot the plants and fruit never will compare to what gets grown in soil.
the bigger the pot, the better the result. One plant per pot would be best. Even a twenty gallon container produced less fruit and smaller sized tomatoes. If all you are after is a few tomatoes and if that is all the space you have, do what you have to do. As with all containers, have drain holes in the bottom, add nutrients (I used water soluble fertilizer) every week or ten days, do not overwater and make sure the plants have 6 hours sun at least.

This year, either cut off two stems or don't...your call. Most of all, have fun.
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imafan26
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Re: 3 tomato plants per pot

I don't necessarily agree that production in pots is less than in the ground. However, tomatoes are heavy feeders. Whether they are in the ground or in a pot, they need to be regularly fed throughout their lives. It is even more critical for potted plants of any kind to have enough growing room, and adequate water and fertilizer since the plant will be totally dependent on you to provide for them.

My tomatoes in 18 gallon pots are 8-12 ft long (indeterminate). It might have gotten bigger in the ground. My wild tomatoes sprawl and they will root in multiple places on the ground. I lose more fruit because of contact with the ground, but it can certainly produce a lot more fruit when the plant is not staked or pruned. The determinate Charger I planted last year in an 18 gallon pot and the one I have now are the same size and produce about the same at the same age. Last year, I stopped feeding the one in the pot after about 4 months because I did not expect a determinate to last as long. Turned out it lasted longer than I thought and it might have stayed healthier longer, if I had continued to feed it regularly.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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