Tomato plants should not be planted right next to each other. While it is technically possible to do so, tomatoes in close proximity will struggle to grow properly. Improper tomato spacing will lead to insufficient root space. As the roots tangle, neither tomato will get enough nutrients. The two tomato plants will starve each other, increasing the risk of diseases such as blight fungus. It’s best to plant only one tomato per pot to avoid these issues.
Do You Have to Plant Two Tomato Plants Together?
Tomato plants don’t need to share a container because they are self-pollinating. This means they have both male and female flowers on the same plant. As a result, you can grow a lone tomato plant and have it successfully produce tomatoes.
- Tomato plants are self-pollinating so they don’t need to grow close together.
- Tomatoes that are too close together will compete for resources.
Tomatoes don’t thrive when they are planted close together. Tomato plants are resource-intensive in their needs and they are competitive. This means they will steal resources from their nearest neighbors if they can. This will lead to some plants growing strong while others grow weakly. Your tomatoes may also be susceptible to fungal growth and insects if planted too close together, causing white spots to develop on the leaves. In the worst-case scenario though, all your plants will be underdeveloped.
How Far Apart Should Tomato Plants Be in Your Garden?
Providing adequate space in your garden depends on the tomato variety you’re growing. There are two main types of tomatoes: indeterminate tomatoes and determinate tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato plants are vining types that grow more upward than outward. This vertical growth means they can be planted closer together. They only need spacing of 18 inches (45 cm) when planted in the ground.
- Plant indeterminate tomatoes (vining tomatoes) 18 inches (45 cm) apart.
- Determinate tomatoes (bush-type tomatoes) should be planted 18–24 inches (45–60 cm) apart.
Determinate tomato varieties need more planting space than indeterminate tomatoes. They grow outward as well as upward, making it more likely they will compete with one another for sunlight and moisture. 18-24 inches (45–60 cm) is required between plants. It’s always best to give your tomato seedlings a little more additional space than you think they might need just to be safe.
How Far Apart Should Tomato Plants Be in a Container?
Tomatoes in containers need the same spacing as any other tomatoes. Give your tomatoes in containers 18–24 (45–60 cm) inches of space at a minimum. However, it’s best to grow tomatoes in separate containers. This is similar to other garden plants like acorn squash.
- Ideally, tomatoes should be planted in separate containers.
- If they must share a container, plant tomatoes 18-24 inches (45–60 cm) apart.
- Do not make tomatoes share a planting hole.
The rule of thumb is you don’t want tomatoes sharing a planter unless you’re using an exceptionally large container. This prevents the root systems from competing with each other for adequate water and nutrients. In general, give your tomatoes as much real estate as possible to live undisturbed by neighbors.
How Many Tomato Plants Can You Plant in a 5-Gallon Bucket?
It’s best to grow one tomato plant per bucket. 5-gallon buckets do make great tomato containers but they aren’t big enough to host multiple plants. 5 gallons is the perfect amount of soil for exactly one tomato plant. You’ll need at least 10 gallons of soil (and likely more) if you want to grow a second tomato in the same container.
- 5 gallons of soil is the perfect amount for exactly one tomato plant in most cases.
- Dwarf varieties may be able to share a 5-gallon bucket but it will be cramped.
The one exception to this is dwarf varieties. Dwarf varieties of tomato only need 2.5 gallons of soil for ideal growth. Thus, two dwarf tomato plants may be able to share a single 5-gallon container but it’s still inadvisable. It’s best to give all tomatoes—even dwarf varieties—the maximum room to grow. Avoid dense plantings by using one container for each tomato plant. You’ll have an easier time growing your plants and get a bigger tomato harvest.
Can You Plant More than One Tomato Plant in a Container?
Tomatoes should not share a container unless you have an exceptionally large pot. Tomatoes are heavy feeders that will compete for each other for resources in cramped environments. This will result in them starving each other for nutrients and suffering fungal infections. For growing ideal, juicy tomatoes, follow these tips when planting:
- Avoid planting tomatoes too close together or in the same container.
- Give determinate tomato varieties (bushy tomatoes) about 24 inches (60 cm) of spacing.
- Indeterminate plants (vining tomatoes) should have 18 inches (45 cm) of spacing.
- 5-gallon buckets make great tomato containers for a single plant.
- Dwarf tomatoes only need 2.5 gallons of soil.
By following these tips you’ll have a large harvest of the best-tasting tomatoes possible. Ignore these tips and you’ll find your tomatoes stunted and suffering from fungal disease by harvest season. One strong tomato plant that has enough breathing room will produce more fruit than two plants grown close together.