Best Fertilizer for Tomatoes Growing in Pots and Containers

I have taken to growing more and more tomato plants in containers around my house. So much so, that over half of all our tomato plants this summer were in pots. There are two main reasons for this. 

One, our property keeps getting more shaded as these dastardly loblolly pines get taller. Two, I swear I have some type of nematode or soil fungus that just ruins all our tomatoes each year.

In my own way, I have become a container-grown tomato expert! Before we get into the main point here of what I recommend as the best fertilizer, let me state the obvious if you don’t know already. Growing tomato plants in pots is super easy, and I really don’t think they need nearly the same care as plants in the ground. 

Keep up with the watering, and you will have success if you use a fresh soil mix each year. If you buy bagged potting soil, most brands have some type of butriens already init. Additional fertilizers to the plants throughout the growing season only add to the success you can have.

My Top Picks:

Big Ass Tomato Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Tomato Plant Food

Burpee Organic Tomato & Vegetable Granular Plant Food

JR Peters 51324 Jack’s Classic 12-15-30 Tomato Feed

Great Big Tomatoes Soil and Fertilizer Booster

Espoma Organic Tomato-Tone

Dr. Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

Perfect Plants Tomato Plant Fertilizer

Big Ass Tomato Fertilizer

Big A Tomato Fertilizer – 13.5oz Premium Organic Fertilizer with Kelp – Plant Fertilizer for Indoor and Outdoor Plants – Nutrient-Rich Organic Fertilizer for Vegetables, Fruits, Plants
  • Your Plants Deserve the Best: Elevate your tomato harvest with Big A Fertilizers’ Tomato Fertilizer, a powerhouse of nutrients, amino acids, and organic elements for juicier and healthier tomatoes. Organic plant fertilizer suitable for both indoor and outdoor plants, ensuring your tomatoes receive the finest care
  • Only Organic Ingredients: Formulated exclusively with premium natural and organic ingredients, our vegetable fertilizer boasts North Atlantic sea kelp for enhanced nutrient intake. A natural plant nutrient designed for use with both your indoor and outdoor plants, this organic fertilizer promotes healthy growth and vitality. No harsh fillers, unnecessary additives, or harmful substances, making it the ideal organic fertilizer for vegetables. If using an organic vegetable fertilizer is important
  • Nutrient-Rich Content: A garden fertilizer enriched with amino acids, humic acid, and essential nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous) for optimal plant growth. Secondary nutrients (calcium and magnesium) and organic micronutrients (iron, copper, boron, zinc) ensure a comprehensive and balanced nutrient profile.
  • Highly Soluble Formula: Big A tomato fertilizer organic contains sea kelp fertilizer, available in powder form and offers high solubility for rapid absorption and improved nutrient delivery. Easy-to-prepare and administer, this organic plant fertilizer ensures your tomatoes get the nutrition they need.
  • Suitable for All Vegetables: Beyond being a top-notch tomato fertilizer, our vegetable fertilizer organic is safe and effective for all vegetables, whether grown indoors or outdoors. An ideal garden fertilizer for outdoor vegetables, this organic fertilizer for vegetables guarantees a bountiful and flavorful harvest for your entire garden.

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 9-1.5-7

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Big Ass Tomato Fertilizer is not just another fertilizer on the market; it’s a statement. Designed specifically for tomato plants, this high-potency, fast-acting fertilizer aims to give you the biggest and juiciest tomatoes possible. If you’re looking to win a local tomato-growing competition, this might be your secret weapon.

Pros:

  • High nutrient concentration for rapid growth
  • Easy to apply in both granular and liquid forms
  • Specifically formulated for tomatoes

Why It Made the List:

This fertilizer is perfect for those who are looking for a high-impact, specialized solution for their potted tomatoes. Its nutrient-rich formula ensures that your tomatoes get all they need to thrive.

Interesting Fact:

The name “Big Ass” isn’t just for show; the company prides itself on producing fertilizers that help grow some of the largest tomatoes in various competitions.

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Tomato Plant Food

Sale
Miracle-Gro 1000441 Water Soluble Tomato, 3-Pound Plant Food, 3 lb, Green
  • Instantly feeds to grow bigger, more bountiful vegetables versus unfed plants
  • Feed every 1-2 weeks
  • Great for tomatoes and vegetables
  • Use with Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder or any watering can
  • Safe for all plants, guaranteed not to burn when used as directed

Primary Nutrient Ratio:

Miracle-Gro’s Water Soluble Tomato Plant Food is a legacy product from a company that has been trusted by gardeners for decades. This water-soluble fertilizer is not just easy to apply but also ensures that your potted tomatoes receive a balanced set of nutrients. It’s a tried-and-true formula that has stood the test of time.

Pros:

  • Water-soluble for easy application
  • Balanced nutrient profile
  • Trusted brand with a long-standing reputation

Why It Made the List:

Its ease of use and balanced nutrient profile make it a great choice for both beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

Interesting Fact:

Miracle-Gro has been around since 1951 and was initially created as a “magic” plant food formula for lush, beautiful gardens.

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Burpee Organic Tomato & Vegetable Granular Plant Food

Burpee Organic Tomato & Vegetable Granular Plant Food, 4 lb
  • Burpee Organic All Purpose Granular Plant Food is formulated for long-lasting results
  • The easy-to-apply granules release essential nutrients immediately and continue to provide a continuous stream of plant food for up to 3 months
  • Contains nutrients, plants will produce superior results throughout the season
  • Omri listed for organic use
  • Ideal for young bedding plants, established vegetable gardens, and patio container Plants

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 3-6-4

Burpee’s Organic Tomato & Vegetable Granular Plant Food is a product from a company with a rich history in the gardening world. This all-natural, organic fertilizer offers a balanced nutrient profile and is perfect for those who are committed to eco-friendly gardening practices.

Pros:

  • Organic and eco-friendly
  • Balanced nutrient ratio
  • Slow-release formula for sustained growth

Why It Made the List:

This is the go-to choice for those who prioritize organic and sustainable gardening practices.

Interesting Fact:

Burpee was founded in 1876 and is credited with introducing the first white sweet corn, Golden Bantam, to the American public.

JR Peters 51324 Jack’s Classic 12-15-30 Tomato Feed

JR Peters 51324 Jack’s Classic 12-15-30 Tomato Feed, 1.5 lb. (Sіnglе pасk)
  • Jack’s Classic Tomato FeED 12-15-30 is formulated for vigorous plant growth from roots to green foliage, abundant flowering and fruit set for all tomato varieties and blooming vegetables.
  • Includes a formula containing a micronutrient package of nutrients including Magnesium and Calcium. Magnesium helps with improved feeding results, under diverse soil and growing conditions. Calcium is an effective nutrient to help prevent blossom end rot.
  • This 1.5 lb. tub of water soluable fertilizer can be used on all tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and zuccini to help ensure continued growth and radiant health in your garden and backyard.
  • Jack’s Classic includes professional grade fertilizer that is essential in allowing you to feed your plants with the best quality fertilizer for continued plant health.
  • This formula includes easy to understand mixing instructions and feeding schedules to help you out from use on your first houseplant and to your very own backyard farm.

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 12-15-30

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JR Peters’ Jack’s Classic 12-15-30 Tomato Feed is a professional-grade fertilizer that brings greenhouse-quality care to your potted tomatoes. With its high phosphorus content, this fertilizer is designed to maximize fruit production, making it ideal for those who are serious about their tomato yield.

Pros:

  • High phosphorus content for better fruiting
  • Professional-grade formula
  • Water-soluble for easy application

Why It Made the List:

This fertilizer is perfect for those who are serious about maximizing fruit production in their potted tomato plants.

Interesting Fact:

JR Peters Inc. has its roots in professional greenhouse and nursery fertilizers, making their products a choice for serious gardeners.

Great Big Tomatoes Soil and Fertilizer Booster

Great Big Tomatoes – Soil and Fertilizer Booster to Grow The tastiest Tomatoes and Veggies; 32 Ounce Concentrate (Makes 8 Gallons)
  • IMPROVES SOIL: Our product infuses soil with a combination of selected ingredients that work together to improve soil structure and optimize soil conditions for increased plant vigor.
  • IMPROVES FERTILIZER UPTAKE: Our compost extract brings benefits right into the root zone to convert more fertilizer into plant usable forms. Proven to make fertilizer work better.
  • LOADED WITH UNIQUE INGREDIENTS: Proprietary compost extract supplies all the benefits of traditional compost, plus bioavailable humic acids, over 70 chelated trace minerals and seaweed.
  • STARTS WORKING RIGHT AWAY: Immediately flows to the root zone. Our formulation is designed to start working right away for fast results.
  • EASY TO USE: Just mix 4 ounces of our compost extract with a gallon of water. Apply a pint or more of the mixture to the soil around the base of the plant, depending on the size of the plant or bush. No digging or tilling required.

Primary Nutrient Ratio: .02-0-.02

Great Big Tomatoes Soil and Fertilizer Booster is more than just a fertilizer; it’s a soil enhancer. This unique blend not only provides essential nutrients but also improves soil structure and promotes microbial activity. It’s a holistic approach to potted tomato gardening that pays attention to the soil as much as the plant.

Pros:

  • Enhances soil structure
  • Rich in essential nutrients
  • Promotes microbial activity

Why It Made the List:

This product is ideal for those who want to improve both the soil and the plant, offering a holistic approach to potted tomato gardening.

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Interesting Fact:

The company focuses on soil health as much as plant health, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between the two.

Espoma Organic Tomato-Tone

Espoma Organic Tomato-Tone 3-4-6 with 8% Calcium. Organic Fertilizer for All Types of Tomatoes and Vegetables. Promotes Flower and Fruit Production. 4 lb. Bag – Pack of 2
  • FOR USE ON: Use Tomato-tone organic fertilizer for all types of tomatoes; both heirloom and hybrid. It Produces plump, abundant tomatoes, not unwanted foliage. Can also be used on all vegetables.
  • CONTAINS: Tomato-tone is a rich blend of the finest natural & organic ingredients enhanced with our exclusive Bio-tone formula; 3-4-6 Fertilizer analysis with 8% calcium to help prevent blossom end rot. Tomato-tone is environmentally Safe – No sludges or toxic ingredients.
  • WHEN / HOW TO USE: Best to use Tomato-tone fertilizer every two weeks through the growing season. Apply to the soil around the drip line of the plant and then water thoroughly. Tomato-tone is ready to use and requires no mixing.
  • FOR ORGANIC GARDENING: Tomato-tone is approved for organic gardening; It is a registered Organic Input Material meaning it meets all requirements for organic production.
  • MADE IN THE USA: Product of the Espoma Company. The leader in natural organics since 1929

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 3-4-6

Espoma’s Organic Tomato-Tone is an organic fertilizer from a company that has been in the organic game for nearly a century. This slow-release formula is fortified with essential nutrients and beneficial microbes, making it a long-lasting solution that also promotes soil health.

Pros:

  • Organic formula
  • Contains beneficial microbes
  • Slow-release for sustained growth

Why It Made the List:

This is a great choice for gardeners who want an organic, long-lasting solution that also promotes soil health.

Interesting Fact:

Espoma has been making organic fertilizers since 1929, long before “organic” became a buzzword.

Dr. Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer

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Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
  • For more nutritious and tasty vegetables
  • Optimum levels of primary plant nutrients
  • Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge
  • Feeds for several months
  • Made with 100% organic and natural ingredients

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 4-6-3

Dr. Earth’s Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer is not just for your plants; it’s for you and your pets too. This versatile, organic fertilizer is rich in natural ingredients like fish bone meal and alfalfa meal, and it’s safe enough to use around your entire family.

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Pros:

  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Versatile—good for tomatoes and other plants
  • Rich in micronutrients

Why It Made the List:

This is a versatile option for those who are growing more than just tomatoes in pots and containers.

Interesting Fact:

Dr. Earth emphasizes a “People & Pet Safe” approach, ensuring that their products are non-toxic.

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

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Primary Nutrient Ratio: 14-14-14

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food is a product of years of research and development in the field of controlled-release fertilizers. The granular, coated fertilizer offers a slow-release formula, ensuring that your potted tomatoes get a steady and controlled supply of nutrients. 

I probably should have put this higher on the list; it’s actually my go-to fertilizer, not just for tomatoes but everything! I worked in a nursery when I was younger, and this is all we used for everything. I know it’s basic, but it works and never burns the plants.

Pros:

  • Slow-release formula
  • Easy to apply granular form
  • Balanced nutrient profile

Why It Made the List:

Its slow-release formula makes it a low-maintenance option for busy gardeners.

Interesting Fact:

Osmocote was one of the pioneers in developing controlled-release fertilizers back in the 1960s.

Perfect Plants Tomato Plant Fertilizer

Perfect Plants Tomato Plant Fertilizer in 8oz. Bottle | Help Your Vegetable Garden Thrive | Rich in Essential nutrients
  • HARVEST YOUR OWN VEGETABLE GARDEN- Pick ripe tomatoes right from your outdoor or indoor garden using this nutrient rich liquid plant food
  • FASTER THAN SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZERS- Liquid based garden fertilizers are quickly absorbed by plant roots; faster than granular slow-release fertilizers meaning you’ll enjoy more fruit sooner!
  • RICH IN VITAL NUTRIENTS- Liquid tomato plant food is rich in potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other micronutrient; all important for planting new seedling to help them grow tall and healthy
  • SIMPLY MIX AND POUR- Application should begin in spring, mix with water at the appropriate rate, shake or stir, and then feed your live garden vegetables once a week!
  • PROFESSIONALLY PRODUCED AND BOTTLED IN THE USA- Perfect for new or experienced growers and mixed right on our family farm; perfect for tomatoes in the landscape or and indoor potted garden

Primary Nutrient Ratio: 9-3-6

Perfect Plants Tomato Plant Fertilizer is a specialized formula that comes in a resealable bag for your convenience. The company understands the needs of small-scale, potted tomato gardeners and has designed this product to be as user-friendly as possible, without compromising on nutrient quality.

Pros:

  • Specialized for tomato plants
  • Convenient resealable bag
  • Balanced nutrient profile

Why It Made the List:

The convenience of a resealable bag and a specialized formula makes this a practical choice for small-scale, potted tomato gardeners.

Interesting Fact:

Perfect Plants is a family-owned business that emphasizes quality and convenience in all its gardening products.

These Are Some of the Best Toot Plants You Can Buy on Amazon

I used to go to both my neighborhood Lowes, Home Depot, a local nursery, and even Walmart to buy tomato plants. Basically, all of them have the same selection from Bonnie Plants. You can order tomato plants online and have them in a few days. I actually think they get less stressed and better care this way than the lack of water and abuse a tomato plant suffers at a home center.

Bestseller No. 1
Bonnie Plants Better Boy Tomato: 4 Pack Live Vegetable Plants, Disease Resistant, Large 16 oz Fruit Size, Non-GMO, Red
  • Extremely popular tomato variety in the U.S.
  • Large, smooth-skinned fruit for classic tomato flavor
  • Great for slicing
  • Indeterminate, meaning it continues to grow and produce tomatoes throughout the season
  • Disease-resistant tomato variety
Bestseller No. 2
Plants by Post – Live, Easy to Grow, Early Girl Tomato, 4-inch Tomatoes – Live Tomato Plant (Set of 4), Red
  • Plant in full sun after the danger of frost has passed, when temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Plant in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. The soil pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8.
  • Place plants 3 to 4 feet apart.
  • When planting tomatoes, dig a hole deep enough to cover 3 to 4 inches of the plant stem, above the roots, with soil. This will encourage your Tomato plant to form new roots.
  • Keep soil moist throughout the growing season to keep fruit from cracking and blossoms from rotting. Mulch around plants to help soil retain its moisture.
Bestseller No. 3
Bonnie Plants Tomato Sampler (4-Pack), Live Plants, Four Ideal Starter Varieties, Excellent Flavor & Productivity
  • Our most popular tomatoes – Bonnie Original, Husky Cherry, Bonnie Centennial & Roma Tomato
  • Snack, slice, or sauce with these best-in-class tomatoes
  • Homegrown tomato flavor four different ways
  • Plants grow 3-5 ft. tall
  • Fruit matures in 65-75 days
Bestseller No. 5
Bonnie Plants Roma Classic Paste Tomato – 4 Pack Live Plants, Great For Sauces, 3 Inch Long Fruit, Determinate, Non-GMO
  • Meaty Red fruit with few seeds
  • Good for canning and cooking
  • Use for pastes and sauces
  • Determinate
  • Non-GMO
SaleBestseller No. 7
Back to the Roots Cherry Tomato Organic Windowsill Planter Kit – Grows Year Round, Includes Everything Needed For Planting
  • 100% ORGANIC AND NON-GMO: There’s no need to worry about intoxicants that may hinder your plant’s growth because the Back to the Roots Kitchen Self-Watering Vegetable Planter is completely organic and not genetically modified; You can cook them however you want or add them to your favorite dishes
  • GROW YOUR PLANT ALL YEAR-ROUND: This organic garden indoor kit allows you to grow your vegetables all-year round; Our biochars not only avoid the issue of your foods drying out or drowning, but there’ll be no risk of falling apart; No chemicals, no transplanting, and no messy drainage holes while you grow vegetables indoors
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO START: Herbs are one of the easiest to grow indoors; Custom soil blend and fertilizer provide all the nutrients your plant needs, so you can harvest right out of this planter; Each indoor garden growing kit comes with organic vegetable seeds, large mason jars, and fertilizer spikes
  • THE PERFECT GIFT: The perfect holiday gift, it comes in a beautiful packaging so that it’s ready to be given to foodie, garden-loving and eco-conscious friends and family; This kit is also part of our Grow One Give One campaign, simpy share a picture on social media, tag us and use the campaign hashtag, and we’ll donate a kit to a classroom of your choice
  • GUARANTEED TO GROW: Made in the USA and 100% Guaranteed to grow. If you are not satisfied, simply message us and we will send you a Back To The Roots replacement
Bestseller No. 9
Pink Ponderosa Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Large Tomato – One of The Most Delicious Tomatoes for Home Growing, Non GMO – Neonicotinoid-Free.
  • Heirloom introduced in 1891 by Peter Henderson. From (Grandma Anne) Ponderosa from Luxembourg around 1870. Plant produces moderate yields of 1-2 lb. smooth, pink, beefsteak fruit with very good flavor. Great slicing tomato with few seeds.
  • Plant Seed 1/4″ Indoors and 1/2″ Outdoors when Warm
  • Keep Moist While Germinating and Keep Moist Outside but don’t Overwater
  • Very Popular Variety
  • Marde Ross & Company has been a Licensed California Nursery since 1985.
Bestseller No. 10
KIRA SEEDS – Vine Tomato – Giant – Heirloom Vegetable – GMO Free
  • [QUALITY SEEDS] The quality of seeds is considered as an important factor for increasing yield. The use of our quality seeds helps greatly in higher production per unit area to treat your table to all-natural, great tasting, homegrown nutrition. Quality seeds have the ability for efficient utilization of the inputs such as fertilizers and irrigation.
  • [100% NON-GMO SEEDS] Say goodbye to GMO seed-grown plants you’d buy at the grocery store. With Kira Seed, we only sell non-GMO seeds, and we’re proud to be your source of professionally grown, certified seeds. These seeds are grown under the standards, ensuring the highest quality seeds cultivated from rigorously tested soil treated with only approved fertilizers.
  • [GROWING GUIDE] Learn everything you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for the most popular vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and houseplants around! In each Growing Guide that printed in the beautiful pack, we’ve identified planting depth, plant spacing, crop period, bloom time, sun exposure, soil type, sprouting and harvesting tips, and additional features.
  • [PERFECT PACK FOR GIFT] Giving seeds as gifts is a wonderful surprise for the gardeners in your life. DIY seed gifts needn’t be expensive, but they’re always welcome.
  • [24/7 SUPPORT] In fact, nearly half of our customers consider 24/7 support, in real-time a top component of good customer service. Our customers increasingly prefer to communicate with us the same way they do with friends and family: asynchronously. Our Customer Support Team ensures that a customer is able to get their issue resolved no matter what day or time it is.

My Top 7 Secret Tips For Growing Tomatoes in Containers

Growing tomatoes in containers can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are my top 7 secret tips to ensure that your potted tomato plants are healthy, productive, and absolutely thriving.

1. Choose the Right Container

Secret Tip: Opt for containers that are at least 18 inches in diameter and have drainage holes.

The size and type of container you choose can make a significant difference in how well your tomato plants grow. A container that is too small will restrict root growth, while poor drainage can lead to root rot. Make sure you choose a container that gives your tomato plants enough room to grow and ensures proper drainage.

2. Pick the Perfect Soil

Secret Tip: Use a high-quality potting mix enriched with organic matter and avoid using garden soil.

Garden soil is often too heavy and may contain diseases or pests. A high-quality potting mix provides the right structure and nutrients for your potted tomatoes. Some mixes even come with added organic matter like compost or peat moss, which can help retain moisture and provide nutrients.

3. Proper Planting Depth

Secret Tip: Plant the tomato seedlings deep, so that two-thirds of the plant is under the soil.

Tomato plants have the ability to develop roots all along their stems. Planting them deep in the soil will encourage a stronger root system, making the plant more stable and better able to absorb nutrients.

4. Regular Fertilization

Secret Tip: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer at planting time and then switch to a high-phosphorus formula once the plants start to flower.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization to produce well. Starting with a balanced fertilizer ensures that the plant gets all the essential nutrients, while switching to a high-phosphorus formula encourages fruit production.

5. Consistent Watering

Secret Tip: Use a drip irrigation system or a self-watering container to maintain consistent soil moisture.

Tomatoes hate to be waterlogged but also dislike drying out. Maintaining consistent soil moisture can be challenging but is crucial for preventing issues like blossom end rot. A drip irrigation system or a self-watering container can help you achieve this balance.

6. Pruning and Staking

Secret Tip: Use stakes or cages to support your plants and remove non-essential leaves to improve air circulation.

Tomato plants can become quite heavy as they bear fruit. Providing proper support with stakes or cages will help keep the plant upright and make it easier to harvest. Pruning non-essential leaves can also improve air circulation, reducing the risk of diseases like blight.

7. Monitor for Pests and Diseases

Secret Tip: Regularly check the underside of leaves for signs of pests like aphids or spider mites and treat with organic pesticides if necessary.

Even the healthiest of tomato plants can fall victim to pests and diseases. Regular monitoring can help you catch any potential issues early. If you do spot pests, opt for organic pesticides to keep your tomatoes as natural as possible.

By following these 7 secret tips, you’ll be well on your way to growing delicious, healthy tomatoes right in your own containers. Happy gardening!

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