Want to produce vibrant, juicy, testy bigger tomatoes with less care? Grow your tomato plants in the best soil. Did I say wrong? I don’t think so. Let me explain-
Soil is the foundation for growing something and you know what happens if the foundation is not good enough.
In the case of tomatoes, if the soil is not perfect, all your hard work will go in vain and you will get a slow-growing, small and unhealthy plant that may produce some puffy tomatoes.
In contrast, if you grow your tomato plant in good soil, you don’t need to take too much care and at the end of the day, you will get the desired yield also.
But the question;
What is the best soil for tomatoes?
The loamy or sandy loam type soil is the best for tomatoes. But it must have good drainage facilities as well as water and nutrient holding capacities. Besides, the soil also contains nutrients, organic amendments, microbes, wetting agents and mostly importantly soil will be neutral or slightly acidic.
In this article, I have reviewed the top 10 best potting soil for tomatoes that help you to choose.
So, keep on reading-
In a hurry? Here is the editor choice best potting soil for tomatoes that you can buy right now-
Best Potting Soil for Tomatoes – Comparisons
|Soil for Tomatoes||Best for||Price|
|Espoma AP8 Organic Potting Mix||Container|
|Espoma (VFGS1) Organic Flower Soil||Ground|
|Miracle-Gro Garden Soil||Ground|
|Miracle-Gro Potting Mix||Container|
|Black Gold 1302040 Organic Potting Soil||All Purpose|
|Burpee Natural Organic Growing Mix||All Purpose|
|Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants||Container|
|FOXFARM FX14053 Ocean Forest Potting Soil||Container|
|FoxFarm FX14054 Happy Frog Potting Soil||Container|
|Miracle-Gro Concentrated Planting Mix||All Purpose|
|Proven Winners Premium Potting Soil||All Purpose|
Note: Don’t use garden or ground soil for potted or container tomatoes. But you may use potting soil for both in-ground or potted tomatoes.
Best Potting Soil for Tomatoes – Reviews
1.Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
Let’s see what are those organic ingredients-
This potting soil contains 35-45% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, limestone, earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, feather meal, yucca extract, and aged forest products, aged humus, or composted rice hulls.
All the ingredients are organic and beneficial for plants. But do you know how those ingredients help your tomato plants? Let me explain-
As you know it has 35-45% Canadian sphagnum peat moss that is good for tomato plants. It increases water absorbency and it is not compact like other organic matter. So, you don’t need to apply too much water to your tomato plants.
But what about the drainage?
It has a perlite for improving drainage facilities. It is a mineral that makes the soil loose and improves soil aeration, drainage, and soil structure.
As the fertilizer alternatives, it has earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, feather meal, & yucca extract. All provide food to the microbes and some essential plant nutrients to the plant.
The most important parts of this potting soil are-
It has limestone to adjust pH. It reduces the toxic level of soil acidity and makes the soil neutral. You will be happy to know, tomatoes grow well in neutral and slightly acidic soil.
Also, this soil contains some Ectomycorrhizal fungi as an active ingredient. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic microbes that provide water and mineral nutrients such as phosphorus to your tomato plant and in return, the tomato plant supplies foods for surviving the fungi.
Though this soil is formulated for indoor and outdoor containers, you can also add this potting soil into the digging hole of your in-ground tomato plants.
If you need garden soil only for ground tomatoes, Espoma (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil for you. But remember, don’t use this garden soil for potted tomatoes.
2. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Garden Soil
Let’s see why it is the best garden soil mix for tomatoes?
This soil contains sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, coir, compost, wetting agent, and fertilizer.
You already know peat moss improves the water absorbency. But this garden soil also contains a wetting agent. The wetting agent is the surfactant type compound that can reduce the surface tension of water and help the water to spread particle to particle in the soil.
And it has coir for improving drainage. Besides, it also loosens the compact soil.
The best part of this soil is-
It contains three essential plant nutrients for feeding your tomato plants.As a fertilizer, it has 0.09% nitrogen,0.05% phosphate and 0.07% potash.
And good news;
A small portion of those nutrients is coated for slow release. As a result, the nutrients will release slowly and feed your tomato plants continuously up to 3 months. Sounds impressive, right?
Lastly, this soil is not organic but it has no toxic chemicals or pesticides and it is certified by Mulch and Soil Council.
So if you need the best soil for tomatoes in raised beds or in-ground individual tomato plants, Miracle-Gro Garden Soil will be the right choice for you. Remember; don’t use Miracle-Gro garden soil for tomatoes in containers.
3. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
This potting soil also contains sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, coir, compost, wetting agent, and fertilizer.
And you read the benefits of those organic ingredients in the previous review section. So, I don’t want to bore you by telling that again. Let’s see what’s extra in it-
The special feature of the Miracle-Gro soil is; it contains some fertilizer granules. There is no exception to this potting mix.
This NPK number of this potting soil is 0.21-0.11-0.16. That means it has 0.21% nitrogen,0.11% phosphate, and 0.16% potash, and the nutrients are coated for both quick and slow release.
Quick-release fertilizer can feed your tomato plant instantly and slow-release fertilizer feed continuously up to 6 months. So if you fill the container with this best commercial potting mix, you don’t need to apply too much fertilizer to your tomato plants.
We know tomato plants grow well in neutral to slightly acidic soil and good news this potting soil has pH around 6.5 that helps the tomato plant to absorb essential nutrients for thriving and producing more fruits.
Though this is formulated for only potted plants, experts have no objection to adding this potting mix into the tomato planting hole or raised bed as well as containers and pots.
4. Black Gold 1302040 16-quart Organic Potting Soil
Are you finding the best organic potting soil for tomatoes both in containers and ground? Then Black Gold 1302040 potting soil is only for you. According to the soil researcher, this is one of the best potting soil for tomatoes that formulated for both containers and ground uses.
And good news;
It has no synthetic chemicals or toxic substances. That’s why it is OMRI-listed potting soil for organic gardeners.
It is rich in some organic compounds such as Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted bark, compost, earthworm castings, horticultural perlite, pumice, or cinders, and fertilizer.
According to the granular analysis, this potting soil contains only 0.05% nitrogen. It doesn’t sound impressive, right? But it is not actually. Because it contains earthworm castings and compost.
Both are the alternative to chemical fertilizers that are rich in some slow-release nutrients such as organic nitrates, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Besides, they also increase microbial activity in the soil, regulate moisture, and soil pH.
Improper watering is one of the major problems of tomatoes. But if you plant your tomatoes in this soil, you don’t need to worry about improper watering.
Because this soil contains horticultural perlite, pumice, or cinder. They act as the soil conditioner and nutrients sucker that loosens the compact soil, increases the rate of the airflow, and holds sufficient moisture and nutrients for the growth of the tomato plants.
Moreover, this soil is rich in a loamy mix and you know loam is the best soil for growing tomatoes.
So, this Black Gold 1302040 Organic Potting Soil will be the wise pick for your tomatoes in raised beds or containers. In my opinion, it is also the best organic potting soil for peppers, cucumbers, and some other vegetables.
5. Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix
Firstly, Coconut coir creates air pockets in the soil that increases the rate of airflow and infiltration. That’s why soil can drain away the extra moisture easily. On the other hand, it can also absorb 10x water in its weight in dry condition and save your tomato plants from dehydration.
Do you know the best part of this potting soil?
It has 0.12% nitrogen, 0.12% phosphate and 0.12% potash. That means it also acts as a balanced fertilizer for tomatoes.
And the small portion of these nutrients is coated for slow release that release slowly and feed your tomato plants continuously up to 3 months. For instant feeding, it also a small portion of quick-release water-soluble nutrients.
Moreover, this potting soil is rich in some organic compounds and has no toxic chemical that is certified by OMRI.
So, if you want to grow healthy tomato plants without too much feeding. Burpee Natural Organic Premium Potting Soil can help you in this matter and it is perfect for container and raised bed tomatoes.
6. Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants
Perfect Plants Organic Potting Mix is another best organic potting soil for tomatoes. It is derived from a blend of some natural nutrient-boosting ingredients such as earthworm castings, peat moss, composted pine bark, coconut coir and so one.
The best part of this potting soil is-
It has horticulture perlite, coconut coir, composted pine bark and peat moss for moisture retention and water absorption.
Perlite and coconut coir create air pockets in the soil and loosen the compact soil. As a result, water can drain away and spread easily in the soil particles.
So if you add extra water to your tomato plants, you don’t need to be worried and in case of poor watering, the water can easily reach the root ball of tomatoes.
In contrast, peat moss and composted pine bark act as the water and nutrient sucker.
Peat moss can absorb water almost 20 times its weight in water and also help the soil to remove toxicity. Composted pine bark absorbs nutrients and water for supplying to the plants when they want. That means this potting soil has the ability to take care of your tomato plants in poor watering and fertilizing.
Moreover, this soil has worm castings and mycorrhizae that enhance the nutrient level of soil by providing some mineral nutrients. Also, it has a balanced pH that increases the availability of the essential nutrients for tomato plants.
It comes with a resealable bag that may help you to store the extra soil for further uses. So, Pick the natural soil for your indoor and outdoor potted tomato plants and harvest more vibrant and healthy tomatoes for your family.
7.FOXFARM FX14053 12-quart Ocean Forest Garden Potting Soil
This potting soil is derived from some organic compounds that are collected from the earth and ocean. Like other organic potting soil, it also contains earthworm castings, sphagnum peat moss, and composted forest humus.
And you know all are important for retaining and absorbing water. Moreover, they can supply some micro and macronutrients to your tomatoes.
But it has some extra features and components that are useful for your tomato plants-
It contains bat guano. You will be happy to know that; bat guano is a triple action organic manure that will help your tomato plant in 3 ways.
First, it holds sufficient nutrients for the thriving and fruiting of your tomato plants. Second, it increases the microbial activity and last, improves the soil quality.
Impressive, right? But there’s more-
It also has sea-going fish and crab meals that will provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and some other plant nutrients to your growing tomato plants.
Moreover, it comes with a pH range of 6.3-6.8. That means this soil is slightly acidic or neutral in nature and you know slightly acidic and neutral soil (pH 6.1-7.3) is perfect for growing juicy tomatoes.
So, buy this ready-to-use organic potting soil, fill the pots, or add to the planting hole, grow healthy green tomato plants, and get more flavored tomatoes.
8. FoxFarm FX14054 Happy Frog Potting Soil
FoxFarm FX14054 is another best potting soil mix for tomatoes from FoxFarm.It is also an organic potting soil and derived from some natural compounds such as earthworm castings, bat guano, and aged forest products.
But of course, it has some special features. Let’s see what are those-
It contains a natural blend of some beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi. And you know they can improve the soil structure and increase the soil fertility that promotes the root growth of tomato plants. As a result, plants can absorb more nutrients and water for producing juicy tomatoes.
It also contains humic acid and you will be happy to know, humic acid acts as a stress reviver. So if your tomato plants get stressed by overwatering or excessive heat or humidity. Humic acid will help the plants become green and lively again.
The pH of this Happy from potting soil comes with a perfect pH that ensures the maximum availability of essential plant nutrients.
Though this potting soil is highly recommended for tomatoes in containers, it can be also used in planting holes or tomato raised beds.
9. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix
Miracle-Gro has been producing some great gardening products for 150 years. They always consider plant behaviors and growing conditions before producing any products. There is no exception in this concentrated planting mix.
It is formulated with compressed coir pith and fertilizer.As a fertilizer, it contains 0.45% nitrogen 0.15% phosphate and 0.30% potash.Like the other Miracle-Gro potting soil, it also has water-soluble quick release and water-insoluble slow-release nutrients.
That means, if you grow tomatoes in this soil, the soil will feed water-soluble nutrients to your tomato plants instantly but water-insoluble nutrients will release slowly and feed your tomato plants continuously up to 6 months.
As you see, it contains a sufficient amount of nutrients that make the potting mix best for tomato seed and seedlings.
Now let’s talk about compressed coir pith-
It is a natural substance that comes from coconut. It acts as a soil amendment in gardening that improves the porosity of soil and makes the soil lightweight.
In the case of this planting mix, it has compressed coir pith in such a ratio that can make your soil 40% lighter and create 90% air space. As a result, roots can thrive comfortably in the container as well as the ground. Also, it helps the soil to pass water through the soil particle.
Another great feature that you should know-
Coir pith also contains some fibrous husks of the inner shell of the coconut that can absorb 50% more water than garden soil.
So, if you live in want to grow juicy tomatoes without facing any watering problem? Then Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix is formulated for you.
It can be used both for tomatoes in-ground and pots. According to the experts, it is highly recommended for dry regions.
10. Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
Proven Winners is a brand that produces some proven winner gardening products for the gardeners. Though this potting soil is specially formulated for flowers, its features will be obliged to comply that it is also the best commercial potting mix for tomatoes and vegetables.
Let’s discuss what are the ingredients it has and how they will benefit to your tomatoes-
It is Canadian sphagnum peat moss, processed softwood bark, horticultural-grade perlite, dolomite lime, and wetting agent.
Canadian sphagnum peat moss and processed softwood bark are the organic matter that can increase the water and nutrient absorbance. As a result, soil can hold sufficient water and nutrients for the tomato plants.
And it has a wetting agent for reaching the water to the root zone of tomato plants. Because perlite is a surfactant compound that helps the soil to spread water in particle to particle.
To improve drainage and loosen the soil, it also contains horticultural-grade perlite that creates air space in the soil and helps to develop strong roots of the tomatoes.
Lastly, it contains dolomite lime to balance the soil pH and it doesn’t need to say how much is the pH important for growing tomatoes and it can be the best soil for planting tomatoes in pots, containers, and ground.
How to Prepare the Soil for Tomato Plants?
How to mix or amend the soil for planting tomatoes? It is one of the most asked questions in this matter. Different gardeners prepare the soil for tomatoes in different ways. Moreover, you will get the instructions on the label for preparing the soil. But here I will give you a basic soil mix recipe that may help you.
To prepare the soil for tomato in raised beds-
Sprinkle 2-3 inches of the best garden or potting soil, then apply 4-5 cups of granular fertilizer per 5×5 sq. ft. and mix the fertilizer and growing soil medium into the top 4 to 6 inches of native soil.
To prepare the soil for a single tomato plant-
Dig a hole. Fill the hole 1/3 with potting mix or garden soil. Place the tomato plant and add 1 inch of the garden or potting soil again and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of tomato fertilizer on the top and press slightly.
To prepare the soil for potted tomato Plant-
Add a small layer of stone to prevent soil from escaping. Fill the container 1/3 with the best soil mix for potted tomatoes. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of fertilizer per quart of soil. Place the tomato plant and add 1 inch of potting mix on the top of the pot and press slightly.
Garden Soil vs. Potting Soil for Tomatoes
There are some basic differences between garden soil and potting soil. You should know about the difference to pick the right soil for your tomatoes.
Generally, people think garden soil and topsoil are the same. But it’s not true. Topsoil is heavy clay soil that is harvested from two feet of the earth. But if some soil amendments mix with topsoil it is called garden soil.
In contrast, potting soil is the premium blend clay, silt or loam type soil with some organic soil amendments that are specially made of the container or potted plants.
Both contain some organic compounds but the main difference is-
Garden soil is more compact and holds water for a longer period of time. But potting soil is lighter and can’t hold water for a long time.
Which one should we use for growing tomatoes?
The answer will vary depending on the growing places of tomatoes. If you want to grow tomatoes in-ground or raised bed, you may pick garden soil or potting soil from the reputed brand.
But if you want to grow tomatoes in containers or hanging baskets, you should pick potting soil. Never use garden soil for container or pot gardening.
Potting Mix vs. Potting Soil for Tomatoes
Here is the new term named potting mix. The potting mix is also a blend of some organic soil amendments but it has less soil dirt and fluffy texture. Also, the potting mix contains some premium compounds such as perlite, fertilizer, humic acid, and so on.
Though nowadays potting soil also contains those soil amendments but the main difference between potting mix and potting soil is-
Potting soil contains dirt but the potting mix has no or less dirt and also has enough air and water holding pores to promote root growth.
According to experts, both potting soil and potting mix are good for tomatoes. You should pick anyone for growing tomatoes in the ground and containers. But if you have enough budget, I will recommend you to pick a potting mix for growing tomatoes in containers.
Don’t have a budget for buying potting mix or potting soil? Don’t worry you can improve your garden or native soil for tomatoes at home.
Here are the best potting mix and potting soil for tomatoes. You may pick any of these for growing tomatoes-
How to Improve Garden Soil for Tomatoes-DIY Potting Mix
- Loam type of garden soil best for tomatoes. So collect one gallon of loamy soil that is free from pathogens.
- Place the soil in a big container or big bowl.
- Add 1 gallon of peat moss and 1-gallon mixture of perlites, sand, and worm castings.
- Mix all the ingredients in bare hands and feel how coarse and lose your potting mix is.
- Add more perlite, sand, or worm castings if you want the more loose soil.
You can also add 1-2 tablespoons of granular fertilizer per quart final soil mixture. Now your potting mix is ready. But the problem; it may contain pathogens and gnats.
What Is the Best Type of Soil for Tomatoes?
Loam or sandy loam type soil is good for growing tomatoes. But tomatoes can also grow any type of soil except clay soil. Because clay soil is heavy and compacted soil that can’t pass water particle to particle.
Now let’s discuss what is loam and its benefits?
Loam is the type of soil that contains sand, silt, and clay in an equal ratio. Sand and slit creates air space and helps the soil to drain away the extra water. Clay soil absorbs water and nutrients for the tomato plants.
How to Plant Tomatoes in Containers?
Tomatoes can easily grow in containers and pots. Want to know the best way to plant tomatoes in pots or containers? Follow some simple steps below-
Step 1: Pick the Right Varieties for Growing
First, you have to choose the best tomato varieties for containers. I personally recommend planting seedlings in pots for growing tomatoes fast. Before buying the seedlings you must consider that they are healthy and green.
You may also grow tomatoes from seeds but that will take extra 20 days to produce fruits. Generally, Seedlings produce fruits almost in 80 days. Though some early varieties take 40 days to produce fruits.
Here are the 10 best tomatoes for containers-
- Big Boy Bush Tomato
- Patio Princess
- Sweet Baby Girl plant
- Sweet 100 Tomato
- Better Bush
- Bush Goliath
- Sun Sugar
- Sun gold cherry
- Black Carbon
Buy from the best quality tomato seeds from SeedsNow-Best Tomato Seeds
Step 2: Select the Right Container and Pot
Selecting the perfect pot is the key thing for growing tomato in a pot. Tomato plants need enough space to develop their roots and the water problem also depends on the right or wrong pot. You should pick a 15 US gal (57 L), 18 in (46 cm) pot for each tomato plant or, pick 12 in (30 cm) pots for some small varieties, such as Sun Sugar.
You may pick a plastic pot instead of a clay pot. Because clay pots are beautiful but they are heavy. In contrast, plastic pots are light and portable.
The most important thing-
Pots or containers should have good drainage facilities. You may pick self-watering pots for tomatoes. Here are the recommended pots and grow bags for tomatoes-
Step 3: Clean and Sterilize the Pot
Mix a few teaspoons of liquid soap into the hot water. Pour the soap solution into the pot. Rinse and wash the pot with clean water.
Step 4: Fill the Pot
Place the drainage material like stone, gravel, river rocks, or fiberglass screen. Fill the container 1/3 with potting soil. You should fill the bottom 6-8 inches for a 15 US gal pot. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fertilizer and place the tomato seedlings in deep.
Add more potting mix to the top of the pot and press slightly. Add mulch (optional) and water the plant.
If you want to grow tomatoes from seed in the pot, fill the pot until you get 0.5 inches from the top of the pot and make a 0.25 inches planting hole. Place 2 seeds in the hole and cover with the soil.
Step 5: Place The pot
Tomato plants need at least 4-6 hours of sun in a day. So place the pot where the plant gets enough sun for setting fruits and flowers.
For an indoor pot, place the pot at least 6 inches away from the sun lamp.
Now water, fertilize the plants regularly and protect the plants from diseases and insects.
How to Plant Tomatoes in A Raised Bed?
Plant tomatoes in a raised best in not complex like growing tomatoes in pots and grow bags. Follow the simple steps-
- Prepare and amend the soil.
- Cut the lower branches of seedlings.
- Dig a deep hole that can cover 2/3 of the seedling.
- Plant the tomato, fill the planting hole, and press slightly.
- Add fertilizer to each seedling and water the plants.
The most important thing for growing tomatoes in beds is spacing. So you must know how close to plant tomatoes in raised beds? Generally, tomato plants need space between 24-36 inches apart. Though it can be varied depending on the varieties.
For more details- How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Bed
Frequently Asked Questions
#Do Tomatoes Like Acidic Soil?
Tomato plants don’t like acidic soil. Actually, tomatoes grow well in neutral soil and according to the soil pH scale, neutral soil pH range is 6.6–7.3. Tomato also likes slightly acidic soil and the pH range is 6.1–6.5.
The best pH range for tomatoes is 6.1-7.3. But as experts’ opinion, tomato plants can be grown in moderately acidic soil.
To know the soil pH for peppers, cucumber, and some other vegetables-Recommended Soil pH for Growing Garden Fruits and Vegetables
#What Are The Best Varieties Tomato For Hanging Baskets?
Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties for Hanging Baskets-
- Baxter’s Early Bush Cherry Tomato
- Whippersnapper Tomato
Best Hybrid Tomato Varieties for Hanging Baskets-
- Floragold Basket Tomato
- Micro-Tom Tomato
- Tumbling Tom Tomato
#How Deep To Plant Tomatoes in Containers?
Deep planting is necessary for developing roots properly. Always plant tomato plants deep. At the time of planting tomato seedlings, cover almost 2/3 parts of the seedlings. If the height of the seedling is 10 inches, you should leave 3-4 inches from the top. Don’t forget to remove the lower branches.
In the case of seed, dig a hole ½ inch deep hole, place the seed, and cover with the soil.
Tomatoes are easy and most growing vegetables. Choose the best potting soil, container, and fertilizer for your tomatoes. Plant deep, water regularly, and apply fertilizer. You will definitely get juicier and tastier fruits.
I try to cover everything about the best soil for tomatoes. Don’t hesitate to remind me, if I miss anything.