Good, healthy soil is one of the most important parts of gardening, especially when you’re growing tomatoes.
Whether you’re raising your plants in pots or a raised bed, it still needs the same things. When it comes to the best soil for tomatoes, it should have a neutral pH and be packed with nutrients.
If you’re growing your plants in containers, one big advantage is that you have complete control over the soil. For the best results, a mix of soil, perlite, peat moss, and natural compost materials is a safe bet.
Let’s take a look at some great soils and what makes them so effective.
Table of Contents
- The Best Soil For Tomato Plants to Grow
- Soil For Tomatoes Reviewed
- 1. Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types
- 2. Compressed Organic Potting Soil for Garden & Plants
- 3. FoxFarm FX14053 Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil
- 4. Super Soil Organic Concentrate
- 5. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘N Gro Potting Soil
- 6. Espoma AP8 Organic Potting Mix
- 7. Black Gold 1302040 All Organic Potting Soil
- 8. Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix
- 9. Black Gold SUGRBG16QT All Organic Potting Soil
- 10. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix
- What is the Best Soil for Tomatoes?
- Type of Soil for Tomatoes
- The pH of Soil for Tomatoes
- The Depth of Soil for Tomatoes
- How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers?
The Best Soil For Tomato Plants to Grow
Whether you’re planning to grow your tomatoes in pots or outside in your garden, it’s important to have the right soil in order to promote strong, healthy growth.
|Pictures||Soil for Tomatoes||Sizes|
|Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types||8 Quarts|
|Compressed Organic Potting-Soil for Garden & Plants||2 Pounds|
|FoxFarm FX14053 Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil||12 Quarts|
|Super Soil Organic Concentrate||5 Pounds|
|Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Potting Soil||9.25 Pounds|
|Espoma AP8 Organic Potting Mix||8 Quarts|
|Black Gold 1302040 All Organic Potting Soil||8 Quarts|
|Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix||8 Quarts|
|Black Gold SUGRBG16QT All Organic Potting Soil||16 Quarts|
|Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix||8 Quarts|
Soil For Tomatoes Reviewed
1. Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types
When it comes to organic soil, this mix from Perfect Plants is at the top of the list. The all-natural ingredients are enriched soil is the perfect place for your tomato plants and it comes in a heavy-duty resealable bag that’s ideal for storage.
This mix helps roots grow strong and keeps harmful bacteria under control. How? With ingredients like mycorrhizae for strong roots, worm castings to remove toxins, and composted pine bark to maintain the proper moisture and nutrient levels for superior growth.
One of the best things about this soil is how well it manages moisture. It uses coconut coir and perlite to produce air pockets in the soil to facilitate draining and root expansion and peat moss as a rich source of nutrients.
This is a perfect choice for plants in containers because it maintains proper moisture balance so well. It not only helps achieve longer production periods but it also helps make the plant more durable whether it’s kept inside or outdoors.
2. Compressed Organic Potting Soil for Garden & Plants
Another great choice for your tomatoes is potting soil from Organic Plant Magic. This compressed soil expands to seven times its size when mixed with water. It’s convenient to store and easy to carry to your garden.
This mix contains 100% natural ingredients, including ground coconut coir, worm castings, and beneficial bacteria that boost nutrients and can make your plants grow up to three times larger. It feeds plants for months and works really fast at getting water deep down to the roots.
Although this is only a two-pound bag, when mixed with water in a 3:1 ratio, it actually makes a total of three gallons of potting soil. It’s versatile, too. You can mix it with your existing soil or put in it a raised pet, pot, or container.
Plus, because it holds up to 50% more moisture than regular potting soil, you won’t need to water as much. If you’re not happy with your results, no problem. It’s covered by a 100% money-back guarantee.
3. FoxFarm FX14053 Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil
FoxFarm organic potting soil has everything your plants need to thrive. This is a unique blend of premium, organic ingredients that are particularly good for plants kept in a container though it can also be used in raised beds. It works well both indoors and outdoors, too.
What’s so special about it? It has some of the same ingredients we’ve seen in other mixes including earthworm castings to remove toxins and purify the soil and peat moss to deliver a lot of the necessary minerals and nutrients.
That said, it also has a lot of unique additions, like bat guano, Northwest fish and crab meal, composted forest humus, and sandy loam. This blend of ingredients not only feeds and hydrates your plants, but also aerate the soil to facilitate drainage and root growth.
4. Super Soil Organic Concentrate
Super Soil Organic Concentrate is a little different. It’s actually a catalyst for a living soil technique that was pioneered over a decade ago. The idea is you mix this concentrate with any organic soil and your tomatoes will grow faster and stronger.
Here’s how you do it. Add one pound of Super Soil for every five gallons. Add regular potting soil until the pot is ⅓ full and mix it all together. Then, fill the rest of the container with potting soil, plant, and water. That’s it.
This product is a concentrated powerhouse of everything your plants need to thrive. It contains earthworm castings, bat guano, blood meal, bone meal, dolomite lime, Epsom salt, and Aloe Vera. There are also a lot of microorganisms, too.
Very simply, it adds everything basic potting soil needs to maintain proper pH levels and provide the right amount of nutrients and water. It’s extremely effective and plants love it.
5. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘N Gro Potting Soil
Next up is this expanding soil from Miracle-Gro. It can be used both in-ground and in potting containers so you can make sure your tomatoes are well-nourished, wherever they’re planted. It’s a great substitute for potting soil or garden soil and holds up to 50% more water.
This is expanding soil. Just add water and it grows up to three times its size and feeds plants for up to six months. The primary ingredient is coconut coir which absorbs and holds onto water and is largely responsible for the expansion.
Because the texture of this soil is so light and airy, it’s easy for roots to spread and take hold. This gives them more stability and makes them grow bigger and stronger. It also makes the bag very lightweight so you don’t have to worry about carrying it in your garden or shed.
6. Espoma AP8 Organic Potting Mix
This mix from Espoma is perfect for containers and can be used for both indoor and outdoor plants. It has exceptional water retention and draining to deliver the moisture your plants need without any worries of root rot.
Sphagnum peat moss provides the nutrients and minerals your tomato plants need while peat humus, perlite, and worm castings keep the soil clean and help with water retention and drainage.
7. Black Gold 1302040 All Organic Potting Soil
This potting soil from Black Gold is made using quality-tested organic ingredients. This product is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute. It’s made in the USA and, as organic soil goes, it’s relatively affordable.
Use this soil in raised planting beds for your tomatoes to give them the nutrients they need to grow strong roots and juicy, delicious fruit. This rich, loamy blend includes peat moss, aged and composted bark, pumice, perlite, and earthworm castings.
Not only is this a great choice for tomatoes but it also works well with other vegetables and herbs. You can also use it in hanging baskets and container plants, including window boxes and indoor plants.
This eight-quart bag is a little on the small side but it’s available in three packs if you need more. You can use it on its own or mix it in with other types of soil.
8. Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix
This organic soil from Burpee is great for containers or raised beds so you can use it wherever you grow your tomatoes. It works well for most vegetables and herbs and is a good choice for bright, vibrant flowers.
Because this blend uses Burpee’s slow-release plant food, it nourishes your plants for up to three months. That’s not all, it also releases fast-acting nutrients right away so your plants begin to see the benefits right away.
Another great thing about this one is it contains coconut coir, a sustainable resource that’s eco-friendly. This material helps maintain appropriate moisture levels so you don’t have to water as often. Plus, this premium growing mix is OMRI listed as safe for organic gardening.
You can use this soil for established plants or germinate new seeds and cuttings. The eight-quart bag is a little on the small side but should fill about four or five 10-inch pots.
9. Black Gold SUGRBG16QT All Organic Potting Soil
Black Gold is an excellent choice for organic potting soil for tomato plants. You can also use it for container-grown flowers, vegetables, and herbs and it’s OMRI listed as safe for organic gardening.
This rich, loamy mix contains pumice, perlite, earthworm castings, and organic fertilizer. So, not only does it give your plants the nutrients they need to grow, but it also leaves adequate air space for strong roots.
The large 16-quart bag covers a lot of ground. If you need more or prefer to buy in bulk, you can also order it in packs of five or ten to save a bit of money. Because this rich, loamy soil works for all gardening applications as well as patio containers and hanging baskets, it may be worth ordering a few bags.
10. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix
If you’re just starting your tomato plants, this seed starting mix is a great choice. This product is formulated for fast root development and can be used whether you’re starting with root cuttings, leaves, stems, or seeds.
Because this soil is enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food, you can trust that your young sprouts are getting the nourishment they need to grow strong. But, since this soil is specially formulated for baby plants, it doesn’t contain excess fertilizer so you also avoid burning the new, tender roots.
This soil is meant to be used in containers to get plants started before transplanting them into larger pots or raised garden beds. The eight-quart bag is the perfect size for about a dozen or so three-inch pots. Bear in mind that this is not formulated to sustain older plants so you will need to transplant your seedlings when they get large enough.
What is the Best Soil for Tomatoes?
The best soil for tomatoes is Perfect Plants Organic Potting Mix for All Plant Types. It’s loaded with all-natural, organic ingredients that give your plants precisely what they need to grow bigger, stronger and produce better tomatoes.
This soil manages moisture well so your plants get what they need and you don’t have to worry about root rot. Plus, the light and airy texture allow roots to expand better for solid, stable growth.
The heavy-duty resealable bag is perfect for storage. This is an ideal soil for containers, gardens, or raised beds and can be used inside or outdoors.
Type of Soil for Tomatoes
Even though tomatoes are notoriously easy to grow, you still need to use the right type of soil if you want to get the best possible crop. When it comes to tomatoes, here are some of the things to keep in mind when choosing a soil.
First, tomatoes can grow in just about any type of soil except those that are clay heavy. Clay is notoriously hard which makes it very difficult for roots to grow properly. Plus, a lot of clay makes it extremely difficult for water to pass through.
So, what kind of soil is ideal for growing tomatoes? Loam. It has all the right ingredients for proper moisture, effective nourishment, and stable root growth.
What Is Loam?
Loam is a mix of sand and silt with a little bit of clay. The ratio of sand to silt is about equal.
Each ingredient serves a purpose. Silt is sediment that easily compacts and is good for allowing water to drain. Because it doesn’t hold onto water, sand is used for drainage and aeration.
Finally, there is a small amount of clay in loam in order to provide essential nutrients. It also helps keep the silt and sand evenly mixed.
Because loam is an even balance of material, it provides the right amount of everything tomatoes and other vegetables need.
It’s porous so that water can flow through quickly enough to avoid overwatering but slow enough so that the roots can take what they need from it. It has a loose, crumbly texture that makes it easy for roots to take hold. Plus, the small amount of clay is packed with nutrients.
What about Water?
Tomatoes don’t like soil that is too dry but it’s also important not to overwater because it can lead to other problems. Avoid waterlogged soil or planting anywhere water collects frequently after it rains. Soil should ultimately be moist but well-drained and have a loose, almost airy texture.
When watering, it’s also important to water at the base of the plant. Never water from the top of the leave down. This can actually cause too much water to collect on the leaves and lead to mold or fungus growth.
The pH of Soil for Tomatoes
pH tells you how acidic or alkaline the soil is. It ranges from 0 to 14. The lower the number, the more acidic the substance is. For tomatoes and most vegetables, actually, a good pH range is 6 to 6.8 which is just slightly acidic.
It’s a good idea to check the pH of your soil before you get started planting. Then, once your garden is established, you don’t need to worry about testing it again for about 3 years or so, as long as your tomatoes and other vegetables are growing properly.
If the pH is too low, the soil is too acidic so you have to add something alkaline to the soil to even it out. Lime is the most common choice. If the pH is too high, that means it’s too alkaline and you’ll need to add something acidic. Sulfur is typically used in this case.
The Depth of Soil for Tomatoes
Soil depth depends on the kind of tomatoes you’re growing. Small, compact plants are usually hybrids. They grow to a certain size and then they stop growing and can reach about two feet wide. These plants are ideal for container growth because they don’t need as much room.
Natural, indeterminate varieties of tomato just keep growing until something stops them and therefore take up more space. Their roots can reach as far as six feet across and usually need to be staked in order to grow to their full potential.
That said, it’s important to know that tomato plants tend to grow out instead of down. That is, they don’t root very deeply. The main part of the root system is within the first foot of the soil.
Tomato plants should be planted deeply in the soil. A good rule of thumb is to plant ⅔ of the young plant under the soil, essentially leaving only the leaves sticking out of the surface. This gives your plant the best chance at growing the necessary intricate root system.
How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers?
We’ve already mentioned that tomatoes are generally easy to grow but growing them in containers can be just a little more challenging. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Make sure you use a really big container. Remember, most of the rooting takes place in the first 12 inches of soil and the roots spread out so one plant needs a lot of room. Two square feet or a 5-gallon bucket are ideal.
- Choose the right variety of tomatoes as not all of them do well in containers. Some good ones to try are Big Boy Bush tomatoes, Bush Goliath, Bush Champion, Celebrity tomatoes, Tumbling Tom, Sunsugar, and Manitoba among many others.
- Plant tomatoes deeply. While this is something you avoid with most other vegetables, tomatoes require deep planting to help facilitate strong root growth.
- Use a stake or cage to help support the plant so that the weight of the fruit doesn’t cause it to sag later.
- Don’t plant anything else in the same pot, not even any small herbs. If you want the most successful plant, nothing should compete with it for water or nutrients.
- Remember that regular potting soil doesn’t have any nutrients in it which is why you need to use something like the products on our list for effective growth.
- In addition to using the right soil, pay close attention to the drainage. The soil should be moist but not wet. Too much water can lead to root rot.
- Water at least once a day, preferably in the morning. If it’s particularly hot or dry, check the plant in the afternoon, too, to make sure the soil hasn’t dried up. Tomato plants that don’t get enough water don’t produce good fruit.
- Make sure you water the roots and not the leaves. Spraying water directly on the leaves can actually lead to fungus and other problems.
- Use self-watering containers if possible. This really is the easiest way to avoid any problems with watering.
- Choose a place where your containers will get a lot of sunlight, at least six hours a day but eight is better. The good thing about containers is you can move them pretty easily so if you discover your plants aren’t getting enough light, move them to a different spot.
- Tomato plants don’t like cold weather so keep them inside and protected from the cold until the temperature at night reaches a steady 50 degrees F.
- Tomato plants also don’t like temperatures that are too hot. Anything about 85 degrees F can affect fruit production.
- Moving the container and plant indoors during extreme weather is the easiest way to keep it protected from damage that could be caused when it’s too hot or too cold outside.
- Harvest your tomatoes when they’re firm and red. If they fall off the stem before they’re the right color, place them in a paper bag, stem side up, and store them in a cool dry place until they ripen.
- Tomatoes shouldn’t be placed on a windowsill to ripen for an extended period of time. They can quickly over-ripen and rot.
Whether you’re planting them outside in raised beds or in pots and containers on your porch, tomatoes are generally easy to grow.
Remember, regular potting soil just doesn’t have the nourishment that tomato plants need to thrive. That’s why you need to make sure you pick soil with the right mix of ingredients to provide nourishment and allow excess water to drain effectively.
By using the right planting technique, good soil for tomatoes, and proper watering, you should be able to grow successful plants and have a delicious harvest in the fall.