Certain tomato pests more commonly affect in tomatoes grown in pots than those grown in the ground.
Of course, container tomatoes are susceptible to the same pests as any other tomato plant. But you can take steps to reduce your risk when you use sterile soil (such as potting mix) when planting and growing tomatoes in pots.
And be vigilant. Read about what pests to look for in your container tomatoes. You can take measures to keep your container tomatoes healthy and pest-free!
Before you leave ...
Get your free copy of "10 Must-Know Tomato Growing Tips." This 20-page guide is filled with tips you need to know to have a successful tomato crop, whether you’re a beginning or experienced gardener.
Tomato pests that attack tomatoes in pots
Aphids. Aphids (most commonly from green fly or white fly), often attracted from indoor plants or in previously infested soil, can find their way onto your tomato seedlings. Aphids are tiny. You can identify aphid attack by curled leaves. They feed on emerging leaves and stems, creating holes or stunted endings. Aphids can be knocked off with a spray of water or a soap solution in a spray bottle with water and a drop of liquid soap. Since aphids breathe through their skin, spraying them suffocates them. (Check out a good selection of spray bottles and garden sprayers.) Ward off an aphid attack by attracting insects to your plant that feed on them. Include companion plantings with your container tomatoes such as marigold, nettles, and morning glory, which attract the aphid’s arch-enemies like hoverflies.
Tomato Hornworms. These green caterpillar-shaped pests with tell-tale yellowish, red, or black tail horn can grow to be 3 inches long. Some have diagonal white strips across their torsos. Their color allows them to blend in with the tomato plant. Hornworms attach themselves to the underside of a tomato’s leaves, making it difficult to find them right away. Look for stems missing leaves, leaf wilt, or dark green pellets on a lower leaf indicating the presence of a hornworm above. Hornworms feast on both tomato leaves and green tomatoes. Control by handpicking. Drop them in soapy water and dispose.
Slugs. When un-staked tomatoes flop on the ground, slugs are happy campers – they get easy access to leaves for munching. Consider staking tomatoes in pots. Sprinkle Epsom salts where slugs creep to bid them good bye. Or capture slugs with slug traps.