Watering Tomatoes In Containers - Knowledgebase Question

Charleston, SC
Question by wkerrison
June 15, 1998
What is the proper mixture of Miracle Gro with water and the frequency of application for tomato plants in containers. Mine seem to always be dry no matter how often I water them.


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Answer from NGA
June 15, 1998

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You can use either the low constant-feed rate or the larger once a week rate. Both are fine for your container grown tomatoes. The wilting could be the result of watering schedule, location of containers, type of container, growing media, container size or a combination of the above factors.

It is not unusual for container grown tomatoes to need watering twice daily. Containers located in the sun (where tomatoes want to be) will obviously need much more water that those located in shadier spots. Terracotta pots need more water than plastic pots, as the clay wicks away water which will evaporate off the outside of the pot.

Growing mixes vary widely in their ability to hold water. Loose airy mixes need watering much more often. Finally, container size is very important. Tomatoes (except for very small statured varieties) need at least a 5 gallon container for best results. Even in a 5 gallon container, the plant can transpire more water out of the leaves than the roots can take up, resulting in temporary wilting. Such plants usually recover later in the evening provided they have adequately moist soil.

Hope this helps and good luck with your tomatoes!

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