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I've brought few tomato plants from home depot (Bonnie brand) and they are 5 to 8 inches tall and their roots start poking out from the bottom (and sides) of their (3" and 4") containers.

Seems like time to plant them in bigger pots. My question is, should i plant then straight into 20" pots, or should i choose smaller intermediate container? The reason i'm asking, besides for lack of experience (first time gardener here), is that in this video plant tomato deep, for example, suggests deep planting of tomatoes, where the guy trims all the leaves besides for the very top. If my entire plant is 5" tall, "deep planting" would not work.

I'd love to post an image to illustrate but StackExcahnge tells me I need 10 Reputation.

Appreciate your help.

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You don't need an intermediate pot. Since the roots are going out their pots, it means they need more space, hearth and food. You have to choose the largest space to them.

You have to plant them deep. You could also plant them in normal soil, to its normal level, and ridging the ground later, when the plants are higher. Cut the leaves is not very important, but is better to avoid they rot, when they are covered with earth.

The important thing is you cut any lateral branche sprouting in the axils of leaves, which are infertile and steal nutrients to the plant.

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  • Thank you for "ridging later" suggestion. That's exactly what I was looking for. – user2202 May 6 '13 at 4:19
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If the roots are growing out of the container, then the plants are "pot bound" and need to be transplanted now.

You can go straight to the 20" pot. Strip off all but the top two pairs of leaves and plant the stem deeply so that the first pair of leaves is above the soil. The plant will grow roots from the hairs on the stem, so this helps give it a strong root system.

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