You have options when choosing tomatoes to grow for your garden and outdoor containers.
You can start from seeds in pots or purchase seedlings. Regardless of how they started, at some point, they will need to be transplanted into a larger vessel or the ground.
Tomato plants do well in containers, and repotting directly into the container they live in will save one step in the plant’s growing process.
The same is true when planting seedlings straight into the garden. It is a step saved.
However, your tomatoes may need to be repotted before the weather permits growing outside.
Many growers say that it is best to repot your tomatoes before setting them out in the garden because it makes them stronger.
To find out how to repot tomato seedlings, read below, and you will soon have healthy tomato plants producing ripe fruit.
How to repot tomato seedlings
Repot your tomato seedlings when they’re about 3 inches tall (8 cm). Fill a well-draining pot halfway with good quality potting soil. Then, remove the tomato seedling gently from its previous location. Plant the seedlings deeply into the pot and water before setting them in a sunny location.
How to repot tomato seedlings to promote growth
Seedlings can be planted in your garden when they are no more than three inches high.
However, taking them from that little seedling to a plant that is six or eight inches tall, with a thick stalk, will give your plants a better chance of survival.
So, a second potting before placing your plants in their new home will give them the strength they need to survive.
The same is true for tomato plants that you wish to repot in larger containers, where they will live out the season.
Repot them at about three inches tall to a gallon-sized pot and watch them take off.
If you have hardened the plants off, adapted them to warmer, sunnier weather, now is a good time to do so.
Before you set any plant in its final container or the garden, it needs to be acclimated to your weather.
Repot tomato seedlings into larger containers
A strong, healthy plant will survive better once outdoors.
That goes without saying, and getting a plant to that point means repotting your tomato plant before setting it in the garden.
By repotting your seedlings, they will set roots along their stem, making them stronger and healthier.
Strong, healthy plants that have had a good start will stand up better to the outside elements, once you place them there.
Consider the variety of tomatoes you have when planting in containers.
Bush varieties will be fine as they only get so tall then stop. Vine tomatoes, on the other hand, need something on which to climb.
If you are growing a vine variety of tomatoes, plan for how you will stake it. You will need to provide for its growth and support of the vine.
When best to transplant tomatoes in the garden
You can plant your tomatoes in the garden once the threat of frost is gone.
Be ready to offer support to your plants once they are outside because they will grow quickly.
Without a cage or staking, you may find your plants lying on the ground after a strong wind or rain.
Once your plants set fruit, you may need to provide extra support where you have clusters of tomatoes.
Keep an eye on them, and watch them grow, making sure to support your tomato plants’ healthy growth.
A note about tomato varieties
Tomatoes come with two distinct characteristics that can affect where you plant your tomatoes and how you manage them.
These two characteristics are determinate and indeterminate growing habits.
A determinate tomato plant is a bush plant that stops growing once it reaches a certain height.
An indeterminate variety is a vine tomato, and how tall it will grow depends on how healthy you keep it and the measures you take to let it reach for the sky.
Bush tomatoes are better for container gardening and tight spaces, as they are more compact and contained.
However, some older varieties of heirloom tomatoes are vine dwellers and grow some of the best tomatoes you will ever eat.
Frequently asked questions about how to repot tomato seedlings
When should I repot my tomato seedlings?
Your tomato seedling should be repotted when it is about three inches tall. For plants that get leggy from too little sun, repotting them and getting their roots deep in the soil will help strengthen your plants.
What container’s best for repotting tomatoes?
You have various options with what container to use when repotting tomatoes. You can use buckets, plastic pots, clay pots, or peat pots. Peat pots can be plated right along with your tomato seedling by merely tearing off its bottom so that the roots can get free.
Do tomato plants have a soil preference?
Tomato plants like loose soil, high in organic matter that drains well. Soil pH for tomatoes should be at 5.5 to 7.0. A good quality potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer works well for growing tomatoes and most other plants.
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.