Here is a picture of my tomato plants on my south facing window in the UK. I started them far too late from seed, I guess I planted them in about July. By the time winter came they weren't anywhere close to fruiting but I couldn't bear to let them die so I brought them indoors.

My question is, if I re-pot these into bigger pots, keep them indoors until spring and then plant them outside, will they be able to flower and fruit? Or have I ruined their chances by starting late and bringing them indoors? I have fertiliser but I haven't used it since I brought them in.

I've searched the forums and lots of people are asking about bringing plants in over the winter when they have already fruited, but these never even got to the point of fruiting. I know they are leggy and straggly but I love them now so I don't want to give up on them!

Thank you in advance for any help or advice.enter image description here

  • Unless the night time temperature near that window stays close to 70F all night every night, they won't have much chance of surviving, let alone producing a crop worth eating next year. They look half dead already to me. None of them have any healthy-looking leaves IMO.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 0:11
  • You're right, they're half dead! I know! I was just wondering if there's any way I can save them.. I think it drops to 65F overnight. Darn. Thanks for commenting anyway. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


I used to volunteer at a poorly run non-profit greenhouse, where they (tried to) grow tomatoes for the restaurant trade. The house was about 100 years old with standard glass panes so, since this was in north-central Wisconsin, it got pretty cold at night in the winter (they were too poor to keep it well heated). The procedure that the grower used was to grow the tomatoes for fruit as late as possible and then when it got too cold for fruiting, he let them etiolate (get leggy). He then rooted cuttings from the stems. He also cut the stems at about three nodes from the soil when it got warmer in the house (Late Feb or early March), and the plants would resprout from the there. This worked okay, but really didn't give him the fruit in winter, which is really what his customers wanted.

You could try to continue your winter experiment, but in my opinion you need to provide much more light than a window and, if possible, a heat mat to keep the roots warmer. If you can provide those two things, then you need to fertilize the plants and re-pot them into something a couple sizes larger, burying the stems to help with rooting.

  • Thank you Jurp that sounds interesting! Thank you for your input. So I might have more luck if I keep these alive and then take cuttings from them in spring? Instead of growing more plants from seeds? I don't mind not having fruit over winter, I just didn't want to give up on them entirely so I was hoping I could get them to revive in spring. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 17:39
  • You may want to cover all the bases - maybe take a cutting or two from one plant to experiment with rooting them (and also to see if/how well the plant puts out shoots from the stem) and then plant a few seeds later in the winter for new plants this spring, in case these guys don't make it. Depends on your space, of course. I see that I may have been a bit vague on the repotting - I wouldn't do that until spring.
    – Jurp
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 23:59

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