Tomatoes from seed - potting on

I've germinated my first seeds and am the proud owner of 20 strong compact bush tomato seedlings.   I'm about to transfer them into little pots before they go into their final containers - pots on my patio.   

Given that the patio pots can go into the coldframe, I'm wondering if I can get away with going straight to the final pots?  What's the benefit of slowly stepping up the pot size?



  • I think they develop more sturdily if you step things up gradually. They say you move them on when roots appear growing outside the pot, underneath. Put them straight into a very large pot and they seem to grow more lank and floppy.( Technical terms...sorrry). 2 interim pots should suffice.

  • SupernoodleSupernoodle Posts: 948

    Will do. Thanks for the help.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Toms are happy with two transplants in their lives. The first, at first true leaves stage (or even cotyledon stage if you like), into no more than a 3" pot. They can stay in that 3" pot until the second transplant to wherever they're going to spend their lives. It doesn't matter if they end up slightly potbound in the 3" pot. It does them more good than harm.

  • SupernoodleSupernoodle Posts: 948

    Ok, I'll get them into the little pots this weekend.  And then once pot bound, straight to final.  They are going into planters, 35cm diam, 45cm deep, 40L.  I was going to put 3 ia each. Does that sound about right? ( They are compact bushy   - meant for pots /hanging baskets)


  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    I could never understand why I couldn't plant them straight into big pots, but then someone explained it is because they should have too much cold wet soil between their roots and the outside of the pot.  Soil where the roots are will not waterlog so easily because the roots absorb water;  but if there is too much soil surrounding the rootball it can waterlog, go sour and generally be inhospitable.  So ideally you grow the plant til its roots are properly filling the pot, then move it up just one or two pot sizes so the roots can quickly spread out and fill that next pot....

    Well, it seemed to make sense to me!  Certainly my plants are much happier if they are not potted into too big a new home.

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