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We have a handful of tomato plants from seed which sprouted before we got grow lights.

Most of them look like:

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Should we just accept these won't make it? They don't look like I would think they should, that's for sure. Is there a clear way to identify when tomato plant sprouts are viable?

For reference, our pepper sprouts (which sprouted after the grow lights came) look a lot nicer and considerably less spindly.

  • More light, please. – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 23 '18 at 15:47
  • If you're worried about the stems breaking, when they get a bit older, if you give them some potassium sulfate, it should strengthen the stem a lot. – Shule Mar 25 '18 at 1:22
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Leggy or etoliated seedlings might be slowed down a little but should grow. In particular tomato plants can form new roots from the stems so when you eventually plant them out, bury them to the first true leaf and the etoliated stems should form new roots. And you may find that you get a better plant in the end.

If you're worried about the strength of the main stem you can do some aggressive pruning. Once you see some laterals appear, so called suckers in the USA, you can cut off the apical growth. This will force the main stem to thicken up, and vertical growth will be from the suckers.

  • Is it worth burying the stems now, too? – enderland Mar 23 '18 at 2:33
  • I'd do it when you transplant them – Graham Chiu Mar 23 '18 at 3:08

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