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How do I replant tomatoes without killing them?



The instructions that came with the tomato kit said to plant *all* of the seeds, so I did.  I didn't expect all of them to grow.  So now I have a basket that's now overflowing with cherry tomato sprouts, and I'm worried they're too crammed in there. I'm also worried that if I try to transplant them to another container, they'll die!

What do I do?


Picture of How do I replant tomatoes without killing them?
Kiteman4 years ago
Lift the whole block of plants out of the basket, and peel off the plastic liner.

Lower the root-ball into a large bucket of water, about as deep as the soil.

Gently peel the plants apart, starting at the outside edge, letting the water loosen the soil off the roots.

Re-plant them in more potting compost, spreading the roots out as much as possible in the compost, then pressing the compost firmly around the stem to support the plant.

As the plant grows, it will probably need support from a cane or similar.
Good suggestions.  That size pot should probably have only 2-3 plats growing.

Tomatoes should be planted deeper so that part of the stem is under ground.  The plant will grow more roots on the stem that is under ground and that will help the supply the plant.

If you're not going to replant them just clip them off at the ground.
acexkeikai4 years ago
If you are afraid to loose some roots, learn that Tomato plants are really resiliant. Just remember when you replant them to include a good part of the stem, you'll notice that tomato plants near the earth that small little knobs are going... those are vestigal root and they just wait to have dirt over them to continue the root system so you don;t have to worry if your plants seem shorter they will grow back :)
martinusen4 years ago
I do not think you will lose a single one. Tomatoes are very tough. Have a few in my greenhouse. When I trim them, I can easily create new plants simply by putting the cutting into soil (you can try it yourself when your plants are a little bigger) Separate them and transplant to larger pots. Be sure to water enough. They might hang a little to after replanting, but they'll recover. Good luck!
I agree with kiteman. Replant them in individual pots - and keep the compost moist. Tomatoes love sun, water, air and nutrition. They may grow pretty tall so support them with canes, and don't worry about consigning quite a few of them to the compost bin.
seandogue4 years ago
You will lose some of them, but a sharp knife will split the root mass and leave many intact.

Avoid disturbing the roots as they will break easily...that is, cut the mass carefully and replant the seedlings. I would strongly suggest that once it has been separated, allow them to heal, then start parsing hem down to the fittest. Tomatoes, like most veggies, like to grow as individuals and will be stunted otherwise by the competition.
Hedvigm4 years ago
They won't all die. If you have that many it doesn't matter if a few of them end up as compost. But they definitely want separating. if they are that close they are more susceptible to blight. If you feel like you don't have enough (haha) when you pinch out the side shoots you can put them in a pot of compost and they will take. Also because so many have been growing close together it would be good to give them some liquid feed (you can buy tomato feed in the shops, or add wood ash), that will help with flower and fruit development. It depends on the type of tomato as to whether they need canes or not.