Tomato plants not doing well

Gardener103July 16, 2014

I have some small tomato plants that I planted next to a basil plant in a pot. The pot is fairly large, but the basil is not too far from the tomato and the tomato is close to the edges of the container.

Recently, I noticed that the leaves are beginning to yellow and brown, and it hasn't got much bigger. I should not have put them in the same container, but I was hoping they could grow together.

Is it possible that putting them together is causing the tomato to struggle? I'll post some pictures soon.

Thanks for the help.

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NO. You should plant basil close to tomatoe plants as it will sweeten your tomatoes and ward off bugs.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:17PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Is it possible that putting them together is causing the tomato to struggle? I'll post some pictures soon.

I don't think so. They will just share/compete for the nutrients. But relative to a tomato plant a basil plant has much smaller root system and much less nutrients need. So then yellowing your tomato plant is not caused by the basil plant. Maybe you are over watering and under fertilizing it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:21AM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

Tomatoes and basil are classic companion plants in both the garden and the kitchen. :)

How big is the pot and how many plants do you have in it?


    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:20AM
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Thanks for the replies. I do feed them, just not too much. I use miracle grow powder type food every couple of weeks, but I don't know if that's sufficient. Would a fertilizer spike be more suitable?

Here's a picture of the basil and tomato. The tomato is on the left. I don't think I over water them, although I can't be 100% sure I'm not, because it's pretty hot here and I'm almost watering them every day.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:15PM
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That picture looks as if the pot is way undersized.
Appears to be 10 in. X 20 in. 5 to 6 in. deep. If so, it is not big enough for just the tomato.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:01PM
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Oh dear. The only thing that may help right now is some tough love. It looks like you planted seeds, take out all the small plants around the tomato except one tomato and a few basil. The one tomato that has flowers if you are lucky. Then put a stick in beside it without damaging roots and get dirt and mound it around it as high as you can then water good. Don't use a fert stick just mix in a little granular fert into the soil. Next year get a really big pot 5 gal or more and or try some cherry tomatoes in a pot that size. When you plant seeds you have to thin them out or plant them further apart.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:12PM
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That pot is only good for one or two basil plants. Not good with tomato.

The cherry tomato plants can be even larger than the regular sized tomato plants.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Weicker(6a PA)

It's not too late to root cuttings from your tomatoes in a bigger pot... or you could get a 5 gal pot, fill with potting mix, and transplant the whole clump (scoop out tha entire half of the pot) then thin (cut, don't pull so you don't damage the good plant's roots) to just the strongest plant.

If trying to keep them in that container, cut down all but the healthiest tomato stem. Leave the big basil plant on the far right... But pinch out all those little basil seedlings that are coming up. Waaayyy overkill.

For decent production, a single tomato should be in a 5 gallon pot, minimum. Bigger is better. You can force them to grow in less soil, but they'll be neither happy nor healthy and production is much lower.

I'd apply a liquid fertilizer at least once a week, at about 1/4 of the recommended strength.

This post was edited by Weicker on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 22:23

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Looks like almost a dozen tomato plants in that planter, and they won't likely recover. I would see if there are any single tomato plants left at a garden centre or nursery and repot in a much larger pot.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:58AM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

Oh dear. From that photo it is absolutely clear that you have way, way, way too many tomatoes in much too small a container. To give you an idea, I plant 1-3 tomatoes in huge whisky barrel planters. I don't remember how many gallons each one holds, but they are big. I don't think I could put my arms around them and they are pretty tall too.

You have to bear in mind that tomatoes are big, hungry plants. The indeterminate kind I grow form vines that easily reach or exceed six feet in length. The determinate kind (which I've not grown for about five years now) will form pretty good sized bushes as well. And they consume nutrients very greedily.

It's hard to tell for sure, but your container looks like it would be too small for even a single tomato plant. So I would suggest going to your favorite garden store, getting a really big pot like the size of a five gallon bucket. Then buy a tomato that has already been started and transplant it into the big pot, one plant per pot. Try to avoid one that has fruit already formed as you are likely to get a limited yield from it by the time it recovers from transplant shock and gets back to business.

On the plus side that looks like very happy Genovese (sweet) basil. Herbs tend to be much happier than tomatoes in containers. That planter looks terrific for several herbs!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:14AM
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art_1(10 CA)

Read through some of the posts in the container gardening forum. I linked one post below. The 16 foot 2x4s are a bit ridiculous but it is fun to see.

It is not that difficult to grow tomatoes in containers. A much larger container and good potting mix will help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Advice for a Tomato Container Garden

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:01PM
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An old rule of thumb is one gal of pot size to each foot of expected growth.. Bare minimum - stick with a 10 gallon and up...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 5:52PM
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i agree, pot way to small....tomatoes need root room to grow...also water is key to raising tomatoes...too much kills, not enough also kills.....use good potting mix, for good quick drainage...i finally invested in a good water meter for determining when to water in my pots are homemade, 2x4 wire about 2 ft tall and 2 and l/2 across, lined with screen wire, need to set on ground...they produce more tomatoes than any other pot i have tried, including 55 gal drum cut in half....just add compost every year...and use handufl of epsom salt in planting hole, cover with 2 or so inches of soil under plant...the indian

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:10AM
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