Tomatoes are the very first vegetable that was cultivated from seeds. Regardless of your region, repotting tomato seedlings will always give you the same results.
Tomatoes are unique vegetables because they develop their roots along the stems. This is the main reason why tomatoes love their stems buried deeply in the soil.
Tomatoes seedlings grow very rapidly and present good results in a bright and warm environment.
So, let’s learn how to grow a tomato by repotting the seedlings.
How to Repot Tomato Seedlings
You should repot your tomato seedlings when they are 3-4 inches tall. Take the seedlings from their starting pots along with tiny leaflets. Separate the seedlings from the leaves. Lastly, bury the seedlings in their individual pots and make sure the lowest leaves touch the rim of the soil surface.
Steps for Repotting the Tomato Seedlings
Below are the detailed steps for repotting the tomato seedlings easily.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Equipment for the Process
For the repotting process, you will need a 4-inch pot. You can use a bigger pot if the seedlings are bigger in size.
Next, you need a moistened good quality soil mix which you can either buy or prepare at home.
It is difficult to wet peat-based compost when it dries up.
There are times when the water does not get absorbed and drains away, which results in problems for seedlings.
If you are growing a number of seedlings in the same pot, it will be a good idea to remove the ones that are weak.
You must only keep them strong and healthy seedlings so that they don’t end up damaged during the transplant process.
It is best to transplant seedlings before they become root-bound this actually causes less damage to the seedlings. Also, it’ll be easier to separate them.
Step 2: Separate the Seedlings From the Starting Pots
Begin this step by watering your seedlings. This will help the soil to loosen for easy removal of seedlings and also keeps the roots moist.
Now carefully pull the seedlings out of the pot. Gently shake the plant in order to remove the extra soil on the roots or leaves.
Make sure the roots are not twisted or tangled. Leave a small amount of moist soil attached to the roots to help the seedlings in adjusting and growing in the new environment.
Keep in mind that the stems of the seedlings are very delicate, and if they are damaged by any means, you won’t be able to grow the seedlings.
So, to avoid the damage, handle the seedlings by their leaves as leaves will grow back sooner or later.
Step 3: Plant the Seedlings in the New Pots
Prepare your pot with fresh and moist soil mix.
Make a tiny hole in the center of the pot and insert your seedlings into the hole. Be sure that the lowest leaves are at the pot’s rim level.
Now add some more moist earth into the pot while patting it down.
To settle the soil, tap the pot against a hard surface at least once or twice. Make sure the pot is filled till the top, add more soil as needed.
Lastly, water the soil until you notice water draining from the holes of the container.
Replicate the steps for the remaining seedlings.
How to Care for Seedlings After Transplant
Water the plant deep enough so that the roots receive the water and only rewater when the top inch of the potting soil feels dry.
In order to save your plant from transplant shock, make sure you don’t place the new plant in the direct harsh sun.
To keep your tomato plant from dying because of the weather, avoid repotting in harsh weather.
The tomato plant is a heavy feeder, even when it is a tiny seedling.
Fertilize your plant with seaweed emulsion and liquid fish to help it thrive. You might also want to add vegetable fertilizer on the top.
Tips for Successfully Growing the Seedlings
- A 4-week timeframe is a reasonable reference point for the repotting of tomato seedling, and another choice would be to keep a watch on the new leaves. Just when two leaves appear, you can repot the seedling.
- Avoid repotting too many seedlings in the same container. This will suffocate them and give them very little room to expand.
- If you notice that the seedlings are stressed, or limp do not freak out. Avoid watering or fertilizing it since it just a minor transplant shock that the seedlings will recover from.
- Use the exact same soil mix you used for your initial seeds.
- If you use a larger pot, then plant the stems deeper as it will allow more roots to grow. This, in turn, gives you a vigorous and strong tomato plant.
- Water the seedlings prior to repotting, keeping the roots moist. This way, the roots do not dry up quickly in the new environment, and they get time to adjust.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Repot Tomato Seedlings
How many times can you repot tomato seedlings?
It is great to repot the seedlings twice or thrice before taking them out in the garden. This helps in building a strong root system for your tomato plant. Although the plant suffers from transplant shock, it quickly recovers and gets ready for the next transplant.
How important is light for the tomato seedlings?
It is very important that your repotted seedlings receive good light. You can avoid direct contact with the sun for the first two days, but later your seedlings must receive 14-16 hours of light. Improper light will lead to poor and stunted growth of your tomatoes.
What is the right temperature for the tomato seedlings?
When your seedlings begin to grow, provide them with a daytime temperature from 60° F to 70° F (15-21 degrees Celsius). During the nighttime, temperatures ranging from 60° F to 65° F (15-18 degrees Celsius) will be ideal. Giving the right temperature encourages healthy and strong tomato plants. Whereas giving extreme heat to your seedlings will lead to poor and leggy growth.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.