Due to terrible weather my tomato plants did not get enough light during germination.

The result: Too long stalks on all my plants.

Can I save them now by transplanting it? Can I transplant it to a bigger pot, even though this step should have only been done once they've gotten more leaves?

I've sown them on the 16th of march, they already germinated on the 20th.

Cherry tomato seedlings

2 Answers 2


See those little white nubs on the spindly stems? Given half a chance, they'll turn into roots. If you transplant (super carefully) and bury them deeper, they'll be happy tomatoes. You don't have to keep the stem vertical - just get it all under the ground. I think the equivalent thing in the wild would be that the spindly plant would fall over, bringing the stem in contact with the ground and getting a better root system going.

Tomatoes do this more than other plants. I always bury them deeper than they were when I transplant them.

  • 3
    In the case above, I'd probably wait for a few sets of true leaves to appear first, but yes, many people use this technique routinely to improve plant strength... taking young tomato plants and transplanting it much deeper than the original ground level. I've often burred tomato transplants so just the top few inches remained sticking up out of the ground. Hard to tell if it actually improved the yield, but I've never had a problem doing so. Apr 2, 2013 at 16:16

In my opinion, you can. Stop watering, put the pots out from water, in a place with plenty of light but no sun, if you do not want to burn them. Put them in a place with plenty of air also. Wind (not too much) is fine too. Let the soil dry out (now you can see there is too much water at the bottom, and the ground is wet). Use the handle of a metal spoon or a little stick to offset the earth from the pot and circulate more air.

Plants become so when they have too little light and too much water, in relation to light. Now you need to do the opposite.

When the soil is almost completely dry, carefully observe your seedlings. Add a few drops of water when you see the slightest sign of thirst. The purpose is to ensure that the plant taking color and snack new leaves, without growing in height too much.

It is a very very delicate operation and requires your full attention.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.