Why You Should Transplant Your Tomatoes Twice  (or More)

You might be ready to graduate your tomato plants to the garden, but transplanting tomato seedlings a second time only makes them stronger.

That’s because burying tomato stems (again) encourages them to grow even more roots… and more roots mean bigger, healthier plants.

What’s the point? you might be asking. Why wouldn’t I just start my tomatoes in large pots, and let the roots grow unbound until they’re ready to go in the ground?

Because every time you transplant your tomato, you sink the lower portion of its stem deeper into the soil. It’s really worth the extra effort, and I’ll tell you why.

Tomatoes have a special trick up their sleeve: the ability to grow new roots (adventitious roots) along any part of their stem.

Given enough moisture and light, these roots emerge from tiny bumps (also called root initials or tomato stem primordia, the earliest stage of root development) and can actually grow without soil.

If you live in an area with high humidity or you’re prone to overwatering your tomato plants, you may have seen the bumps turn white and become more prominent. This tendency of tomato stem primordia to appear so easily can be used to your advantage.

By partially burying the tomato stem when you transplant a second time, you’re anchoring the plant more firmly in the soil and encouraging even more roots to form. Having a deeper, greater mass of roots helps your tomato plant be more resilient against wind, drought, pests, and diseases.

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