How Far Apart To Plant Tomatoes For Best Growth

What Is Tomato SpacingDistance For Best GrowthWhat Does Spacing Help WithTomato VarietiesBest SpacingPruningHow To SpaceCompanion PlantsFAQ

Planting tomatoes is perhaps one of the goals for a lot of gardeners. It’s incredibly rewarding to harvest your own tomatoes and be able to use them in cooking. It’s the aspect of getting the reward of a lot of hard work and maintenance that really does it.

We have put together this article that will be discussing a little bit about the spacing necessary for tomato plants. There are a lot of different thoughts on this topic and we are here to share our expertise.

Tomato Plant
Tomato Plant

What Is Tomato Spacing

Spacing, or tomato spacing basically is about getting the necessary amount of space between the plants. It’s important because otherwise you might have too much competition among your plants in terms of getting either water or nutrient from the soil.

All plants basically has a set amount of space that they will require in order to grow effortless and provide a normal amount of harvests. But there isn’t a set amount for all tomato plants, since there are so many different varieties out there. But let’s dive a little bit deeper and look at what we find to be good guidelines.

How Far Apart To Plant Tomatoes For Best Growth

Like we have previously said in this article there really can’t be a set amount of space between tomato plants in order for them to grow properly. Instead we need to look at the variety of tomato to decide the necessary amount of space.

For a dwarf tomato plant, anywhere between 12 – 18 inches apart will be good. It will help provide a healthy environment for the plant to grow in, but also has the added benefit of making it easier to prune and harvest the plant too. Too close and you might have a hard time caring for them.

For larger tomato plants that might need some stability then you would want about 1 feet of spacing between them. This will help isolate them a little bit more and creates a good environment for growth and encourages more yield too. Less competition means a tomato plant is more able to focus on growth.

What Does Plant Spacing Help With

There are a number of things that spacing helps with when it comes to growing plants, especially with tomato plants. Lest list of some of the reasons why we utilize spacing.

  • More light on the plant
  • Reduces the risk of disease and pests
  • More harvests
  • Less competition resulting in a healthier plant

Like we said previously, the better your plant feels the more it’s able to produce in terms of harvest. But it also has the added benefit of making it less likely that you will see mold or diseases starting to grow on your plant. This is incredibly beneficial for the long term of your plants, not just for the tomato plants.

Tomato Plant Spacing
Tomato Plant Spacing

Tomato Varieties

There are a large amount of different tomato varieties out there as you might be aware. The interesting thing is that all of them basically require slightly different caring routines. But it can more or less be put down to getting the soil right and the placement of the plant. Below are two categories of tomato varieties that you should learn about.


The determinate varieties of tomato are also now as bush tomatoes. These are the ones that grow small and has generally speaking smaller tomatoes as well. There are many different varieties of these, all with different colors and looks. 

The fruit ripen at more or less the same time on the entire plant, making them very efficient when you want a large harvest in one go. In terms of spacing, we recommend about 12 – 18 inches between the different plants to help encourage more tomatoes growing.


These are the larger varieties of tomatoes. They can grow anywhere between 6 and 8 feet tall if left to their own devices. In most cases they also grow larger tomatoes but they will not ripen at the same time as the variety we covered above here.

Best Spacing For Tomato Plants

The spacing changes a little bit between these two groups of tomatoes. This is to help preventing diseases growing on them and also maximizing the amount of sunlight they are getting to further boost the flavor of the fruit.


The smaller variety of tomatoes being the determinate are best kept about 12 – 18 inches apart from each other. This will help the entire bushy plant get sunlight and in turn also provide you with beautiful and bountiful harvests.


The larger group of tomatoes being the indeterminate ones are instead known for needing more space. Makes sense since they are larger. We have found that about 1 foot will be plenty enough. This also makes it easier to get a support system in place to prevent them from falling over on themselves.

Pruning Tomato Plants

There are a lot of different philosophies out there on the topic of pruning tomato plants. But in most cases pruning should only really be done after you have seen fruit begin to develop. This is to not discourage growth or development of fruit. 

When the plant starts flowering that’s when you know where the fruits are going to develop. So cut away any unnecessary stalks where there are no flowering. This will increase the amount of nutrient going to your tomatoes instead of developing new leaves.

How To Space Tomato Plants

If you have already planted your tomatoes then it’s pretty hard to move them around without damaging the plant quite severely. So instead, it’s better to simply leave the plant and do it differently the next year.

But if you have tomato seedlings ready to plant then you need to first figure out whether they will grow tall or small. Smaller plants need just 15 inches of spacing between them, while the larger could use about 1 feet.

Tomato Companion Plants

There are so many different plants out there to grow next to your tomato plants. But the ones that we like the most are grown next to larger tomato plants. Using basil for example to help fill up the soil around the plant is very space efficient. 

But other herbs like oregano or even parsley are also great options. Chives or garlic are also good options. It’s basically what tastes good with tomatoes will grow well with tomatoes, that’s our cheat code at last.

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants


Can I Plant Tomatoes 12 Inch Apart

This is definitely enough spacing if you are growing smaller tomato plants at home. There are basically two groups of tomatoes, smaller and larger ones. Larger ones would need about 1 feet or so in terms of spacing between the plants.

What Happens If Tomato Plants Are Too Close

If you have the plants growing too close to each other then you might be running into issues such as not enough sunlight on the leaves and fruits. The risk of diseases traveling between the plants are also higher. Lastly, there is also a higher level of competition for nutrition.

How Far Apart To Plant Cherry Tomatoes 

Since cherry tomatoes are a smaller and bushy tomato plant, then it will be enough with about 12 – 18 inches in spacing between the plants. That way we can ensure the growth of the plant, but also boost the amount of tomatoes growing on the plant.

Additional Information

Read more articles about Tomatoes

Search For More Information