How Many Tomato Plants Per 5-gallon Bucket?

Last Updated on April 7, 2022 by Maria B.

How many tomato plants per 5-gallon bucket is a question most gardeners ask in order to plan their container gardening?

Are you planning on growing tomatoes in a container? You may be wondering how many tomatoes to grow in a container.

It is important to know that growing tomatoes in containers is highly beneficial to the gardener who does not have plenty of garden space to do so.

However, you must provide the plant with the right growing conditions, even on the container. So let’s learn about the tomato plants you can grow per 5 gallons bucket.

Table of Contents

How Many Tomato Plants Per 5-Gallon Bucket?

Besides the convenience associated with container planting, tomatoes also perform well because they have plenty of room and adequate nutrients. Container-grown tomatoes do not share nutrients with other plants as they are grown on their own.

So to answer the question of how many tomatoes per 5-gallon container, you will need to plant only 1 plant.

Whether you are growing determinate or indeterminate cultivars, it’s best to plant one tomato per 5-gallon bucket to get the best results.

Tomato plants do well in warm soil! Black buckets are ideal for growing tomatoes as they absorb up heat providing warm soil even at night.

Just 1 Tomato Plant Per 5-Gallon Bucket

Will Tomato Plants Grow In A 5-Gallon Bucket?

One of the most important things in growing tomatoes in containers is to ensure you use a large container – the bigger, the better.

Generally, for each plant, you need a container that is at least 1 square foot; however, 2 square feet is better.

A five-gallon bucket is ideal for one tomato plant, whatever the type. Fill this container with a high-quality potting mix and ensure it has proper drainage.

Some gardeners add small herbs or other plants in the same container you are growing the tomato; however, we advise you not to do it as a new gardener. Even if you have a bigger container, you do not want to plant other plants that may compete with the tomato plants for nutrients and water.

How Do You Grow Tomatoes In A 5-Gallon Bucket?

The practical part of growing tomatoes in a 5-gallon bucket is what we will look at

What You Need

  • 5-gallon bucket per seedling
  • Drill
  • Peat Moss
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Tomato Seedlings
  • Tomato cages
  • Water-soluble fertilizer

JERIA 12-Pack 5 Gallon, Vegetable/Flower/Plant Grow Bags, Aeration Fabric Pots with Handles

Please Note: Indeterminate tomatoes grow tall and require caging or staking to support both the plant and fruit. Determinate tomatoes grow to a specific height of about 1 1/2 to 2 feet and stop growing.

The Determinate variety might need some support, especially if the fruit is heavy. However, some types are entirely self-supporting, including, Tumbler and  Window Box Roma.

Steps to follow when planting tomatoes in a 5 –gallon bucket

Drill Drainage Holes

Turn your bucket over and drill at least 4 to 6 half-inch drainage holes, spacing them evenly over the bottom of the bucket.

Look For An Ideal Place To Grow Your Tomatoes

Place the ready bucket in an area receiving full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.

Add The Potting Mix

Once you have set your bucket in an ideal growing location, fill it ½ to ¾ with a mixture of equal parts perlite, peat moss, or sand, plus organically rich potting soil.

Plant The Seedling

Transplant your tomato seedling from its nursery to the ready container. Position the seedling in the center of the bucket, leave the top 2 to 4 leaves above the surface. Fill in the soil around the roots and stem and firm it down using your hands to secure the seedling. Be very careful not to damage the roots.

Add A Trellis

If growing indeterminate tomatoes or if your determinate one requires support, add a stake, trellis, or tomato cage immediately after planting to avoid disturbing the roots later.

Water Deeply

Water your planted tomatoes deeply until it overflows through the bottom of the bucket.

Add Fertilizer

Apply a water-soluble fertilizer to the moist soil. The fertilizer must be designed for tomato plants. Put more fertilizer every 10 to 14 days.

Add Fertilizer

Maintain Soil Moisture

All through the growing season, water your plant thoroughly, whenever the soil feels dry at least 1 inch below the surface. During the hot and dry spells, adjust watering to daily. The soil in containers is prone to drying more quickly than garden soil. Lack of water makes your tomato plants stressed, preventing the absorption of calcium from the soil. Excessive dryness causes blossom end rot in your tomatoes.

How Much Soil Do I Need For A 5-Gallon Bucket?

Before we even think of how much soil a 5-gallon bucket needs, let’s look at the condition of the potting soil.

Fill your containers with rich well-draining soil. Ordinary potting soil is available but you can add a bit of compost, perlite, and sand to lighten it up even more and provide plenty of nutrients.

Compost manure really adds serious power to the soil. It is also incomparable with all its natural benefits. Perlite is white, a popcorn-like substance that you can also add to your potting soil. Perlite keeps soil loose allowing good drainage while lightening the weight of the soil.

Filling The Buckets

A 5-gallon bucket is about 14 inches high and 12 inches in diameter. You will need about .75 cubic feet of potting soil to fill it. The amount of soil you put can vary with the drainage material you put at the bottom of the bucket.

Learn how to display your buckets maybe in a  planter box to make them more attractive. Place your trellis and other support you choose along with the pots as soon as you plant.

How Much Soil Do I Need For A 5-Gallon Bucket

How many tomato plants can you put in a 5 gallon bucket?

There is a limit to the number of tomato plants you can grow in a bucket. However, it is not a fixed number; the more water you use, the fewer plants you can fit in the bucket. That said, it is not a good idea to have a bucket full of water when you are trying to grow plants. If you do this, you’ll be wasting water and the plants will probably not grow well. I like to grow tomato plants in pots because I like to look at them. I don’t want to have to bend down to look at a bucket. And I like to keep my plants out of the way of other plants.

It depends on how large your bucket is. I have a 5 gallon bucket that I use for growing tomatoes. When I first started, I planted a single tomato plant in it. Then after a few days, the plant grew so much that I was able to place another tomato plant in the same bucket. In this way, I was able to keep two plants in the bucket, with room to grow.

How many tomato plants should I plant?

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not just the number of plants that matters, but also their age, spacing, and environment. If you have a greenhouse or heated garage, you’ll likely be able to grow several more plants than if you’re trying to grow tomatoes in the middle of winter. You’ll need to consider the amount of light you have available, as well as any issues with temperature, humidity, and soil.If you have a large garden, you can count on using 3/4 of a cup per plant. If you’re growing a few plants in a small area, you can use 1/2 of a cup per plant. If you’re growing lots of plants in a small space, you’ll want to use more like a cup per plant.If you’re growing in pots, you’ll want to use about twice as much compost as you would if you were growing directly in the ground.

How do you know when you are ready to transplant your tomatoes?

When you can see the tomato leaves start to bend over and touch the ground.

Where do you drill a 5 gallon bucket for tomatoes?

I have found that drilling only one side gives me enough ventilation for the fruit to breathe. I don’t know if it’s necessary or not, but I’ve never had a problem. If you drill both sides you may end up with a weak bucket because the holes will weaken the plastic.

What should you do if your tomato plant starts to look weak or sickly?

If your tomato plant looks weak, do not let it go to waste! If you find that your tomato plant is beginning to wilt or turn brown, try to remove it from its pot. Then take a bucket and fill it with water.

Make sure to add some bleach or chlorine to the water. This will help keep the bacteria and fungus at bay. Place your tomato plant in the bucket and let it soak for at least 2 hours. Be sure to change the water every so often. After 2 hours, remove the plant from the bucket and pat dry. If you want to repot your tomato plant, use a pot that is larger than the one you used before.

Final Thoughts

Who says you cannot enjoy some homegrown tomatoes just because you don’t have a garden? A 5-gallon bucket can be your garden providing you with plenty of tomatoes all through the season. More so, you can have beautiful tomato plants on your patio, balcony, porch, deck, or driveway.

It’s now your turn to get practical! By learning how many tomato plants per 5-gallon bucket, you can avoid the mess of overcrowding your plants. And don’t forget to share the results.

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