When to Transplant Tomato Seedlings?

Tomatoes grown from seed are not only cost-effective, but also produce that is healthful, flavorful, and fresh.

If you are trying your hand at growing tomatoes using seeds, consider moving your tomato seedlings to help them build a strong stem and root system.

Reader Poll: What online courses would interest you?

The procedure of transplanting tomato plants involves moving the plant from one site to another. This occurs after your plant has begun from seed in the best possible growth circumstances.

When You Should Transplant Tomato Seedlings?

When tomato seedlings have at least a height of 3 inches and get their first leaves. They are actually the subsequent set of leaves that develop, they are ready to be transferred.

The earliest leaves to sprout (also known as cotyledons) are embryonic structures from tomato seeds that give sustenance until the seedling can produce its own food.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Cotyledons normally fall off within a few days, when genuine leaves emerge and begin photosynthesis, allowing the plant to transition to adult development.

When your tomatoes are 2.5–4 inches in height and have a set of leaves or at least 2–3 pairs of leaves, transplant them from their seed tray into comparatively larger pots.

The time your seedlings are roughly 10 inches tall, transplant them into the garden to guarantee a robust root system. Once the tomato seedlings are three times the height of their pot, it’s time to transplant.

Reasons You Should Transplant Tomato Seedlings

Here are some reasons you should transplant your tomato seedlings to get healthy tomato plants:

  • In most cases, the growing season isn’t long enough to produce tomatoes from seed totally outside.
  • It aids in the development of a strong root system in your tomato plants.
  • It can assist in acclimating your plants to life outside.
  • Competition might help you establish healthy tomato plants.
  • You can increase the number of tomatoes you gather.
See also  Best Greenhouse Tomatoes Varieties

How Many Times You Should Transplant Your Tomato Plants?

If you raised your plants from tomato seed and get some time before planting them, repotting these plants two or three times as they grow is a wonderful idea. Their powerful taproots may grow up to 1 inch every day, resulting in a larger and stronger root system.

While tomatoes may experience some transplant shock, they rapidly recover, and transplanting ultimately promotes their development.

How to Transplant Your Tomato Plant?

It’s essential to remember not to hydrate your tomatoes on the day you’re planning to transfer them to a new pot or container. Wet soil has a propensity to cling to the roots. Wet soil is heavier, making it more likely that the roots may break during the transfer.

Follow these steps while transferring the plant:

  • Fill the other container half with damp potting soil.
  • Make a hole in the center of the new pot so you can easily place the tomato plant inside.
  • Wrap your fingers around the stems of your tomato plant and flip its container over, so you can get it out of the original container.
  • Separate the dirt from the roots as little as possible. Don’t be concerned if some dirt slips off. Just make sure you don’t break the roots in the process.
  • Bury the free stem of the existing plants in their new pots, leaving the initial leaves barely above the dirt.
  • Finally, water the plants and set them on a windowsill, or under the grow lights if you have them.

Hardening Off Your Seedlings

  • Tomato seedlings are “hardened off” by progressively exposing them to the outside. Begin gradually exposing them to the outdoor environment.  Leave them at a place where they won’t get direct light exposure for an hour or two on the first day. A spot in the shadow is great for a first meeting. At night, bring them back inside.
  • Find a protected spot outside, out of the wind, where you can place your seedlings in filtered sunshine.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend outside. Leave your tomato seedlings outside for a little longer each day in a similar place. Even at night, bring them inside.
  • Keep an eye on the seedlings’ responses. See whether there are any symptoms of wilting on the plant. If they appear to be in distress, relocate them to a more secure location. For the time being, keep them indoors at night.
  • Leave the tomato seedlings out overnight for at least four or five days after going back and forth for five to six days. However, you need to keep an eye on the weather outside and bring your plants inside if frost is predicted.
See also  When Are Green Zebra Tomatoes Ripe

Tips to Transplant Tomato Seedlings

  • Tomatoes require soil that is somewhat acidic (the ideal pH is between 6 and 6.8). Lime is used to treat excessively acidic soil, whereas sulfur is used to reduce the pH of alkaline soil. Because it takes a few months to regulate the pH, the optimum time to add these nutrients is in the fall before planting.
  • Tomato plants are preyed upon by a variety of soil-borne viruses, so it’s better to avoid putting them in the same spot in the garden for several years. If you had a poor year for tomato illnesses last year, now is an excellent time to relocate them.
  • Cover the soil with black plastic for at least a few weeks before you plant tomatoes as this is a good technique to warm them once you have prepared the beds.
  • the Tomatoes require a good coating of compost at the time of planting, but fertilizer ensures that they get off to a good start.
  • If a heatwave arrives early, water your seedlings anytime the soil dries up an inch or two below the ground, which might be every day. Mulch your tomato beds with a thick layer of straw after three or four weeks of development to preserve moisture and keep weeds at bay.


Before planting your tomato plants in the garden, let them rest in their new pots for at least two weeks. You’ll need to start hardening them off a couple of weeks ago before frost starts in your area.

Leave a Comment