We recently bought some large and mature (already budding) tomato and bell pepper plants from costco. Unfortunately they have 3 to 5-ish plants per pot, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them.

Are they intended to stay in their container for the remainder of their life over summer? We would like to transplant to our garden, but it seems like they would experience a lot of shock at this phase in their life, especially if we have to separate the plant roots from each other.

If we do transplant, any tips on how we would go about separating them without shocking them too much? There are plenty of articles out there on transplanting (although those are usually seedlings), but not a lot on separating mature veggie plants like tomatoes and peppers.

Edit: We got "Husky Cherry Red" tomatoes and "California Wonderful" bell pepper plants, and we live in zone 5b, 6a (Denver).

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  • please include a location. if you are further north where it is still rather cool enough you cannot put these plants outside until it gets warm enough. in more southern locations it might be fine to put them out. to me it looks like they are meant to stay in the pots.
    – flowerbug
    Apr 27, 2020 at 1:47
  • 1
    note that for larger tomato plants the root system can get as large as the top growth so we always buy starts and plant them out in the garden into the ground.
    – flowerbug
    Apr 27, 2020 at 1:49
  • it would also be good to include the variety of tomato plant. :)
    – flowerbug
    Apr 27, 2020 at 1:58
  • @flowerbug, thanks. Updated location and type in question. I think we are just going to leave them in pots and not risk it. We picked up a bunch of younger plants (where they each have their own container), and those we will transplant this weekend after hardening off for a week (and assuming no upcoming frosts in the forecast).
    – l p
    Apr 27, 2020 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


Cherry tomatoes will be ok in those pots. Do not let them get too dry or too hot.

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