Pricking out Tomato Seedlings

pricking out tomato seedlings

In the video below, I show you how to prick out tomato seedlings.

Pricking out is the process of transplanting the tomato seedlings from their original seed tray into a pot so that they can grown on.

Normally, they would then be grown on in the pot for a few weeks before the tomato plants are planted out in their final growing position, which might be in the ground or in a large pot or grow-bag in the greenhouse.

What you need for pricking out tomato seedlings

You will need:

  • A pot, or several pots for all the seedlings you want to prick out. A 7cm or 9cm pot will be big enough. For some reason that I have never seen explained properly, tomato seedlings (in fact, any seedlings) do not thrive if placed in a disproportionately large pot.
  • Compost, mixed with a little bit of grit for drainage for filling the pot.
  • A dibber, which is a small pointy tool for easing out the seedling and making a hole in the compost for it to be replanted in.

Pricking out tomato seedlings – the video

Key points to remember

Key points to remember are as follows:

  • Wait until you have at least one pair of true leaves;
  • Handle the seedling by the leaves at all times. Never touch the stem because if you do you will damage the delicate cells of the phloem and xylem (the tubes that carry water and nutrients around the plant) and the plant will die. Once plants become more mature, we can touch their stems because the outer parts of the stem harden and the interior is better protected;
  • Prepare the receiving pot first – make sure there are good drainage holes and your composts is good quality;
  • Make a hole in the compost in the receiving pot with a dibber. Make sure it is big enough to accommodate the mini root system of the seedling;
  • Ease the seedling out of the seed tray by getting underneath the root system with the dibber. Remember to only hold the seedling by the leaves;
  • Ease the seedling down into the hole you have made in the compost of the receiving pot. Gently firm the compost around the seedling and water in;
  • Remember, tomato seedlings are tough and if they seem to wilt at first, they will more than likely recover.


Pricking out tomato seedlings is a pretty easy job once you get the hang of it. The good thing is that tomatoes are quite forgiving plants – they germinate easily and are not too fussy about being transplanted from seed tray to pot and from pot to garden bed or grow bag.

The hardest part for me when growing tomatoes is being ruthless and culling the weaker seedlings. Hence, I always end up growing more than I can really accommodate in the greenhouse.

One final point is that one your seedlings are growing on in their pots, make sure you water them regularly. You can begin feeding them with a balanced fertiliser once they are bigger and the nutrients in the compost are spent. Yellowing of the leaves will be the tell-tale sign that you should give the plant some nutrients.

Tomato growing accessories and fertilisers

SaleBestseller No. 1
LEOBRO 2 Pack Plant Support Cage Rust Resistant Garden Plant Support Ring Plant Stake Plant Support for Tomato, Trellis, Climbing Plant, Flower, 17.7″ High, 5.48″/6.18″/6.89″ Inner Diameter
  • Plant Cages for Small Plants: Set of 2, 17.7” high, inner diameter of 3 rings is 5.48”, 6.18”, 6.89” respectively. Great for small or medium size plants, like small tomato plants, cherry tomato, pepper, herbs, basils, hydrangea, peony, rose, etc. Also great trellis support for climbing plants. Note: Not fit for large plants, PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE MEASUREMENT!!!
  • Versatile Plant Supports: Can well prop up plants to grow uprightly and healthily; protect plants against strong wind, heavy rain, or their own heavy bloom; prevent plants from falling over and sprawling out, keep them upright and elegant, add aesthetic appeal.
  • Premium Garden Supports: These plant stakes are made of durable steel with rust-resistant plastic coating, 9 steel clasps attach 3 hoops to 3 stakes, weather-resistant, won’t embrittle and fade in the sun; not pliable, sturdy, stand firmly; reusable and long-lasting, serve you for a long time.
  • 3 Adjustable Rings: All steel clasps are movable and the position of hoops and stakes is adjustable, help satisfy specific support need of plants. Sizes of 3 hoops are different, conform to practical growth principle, provide better support. Stackable, easy to store and ensure safer arrival.
  • Green Color & Sharp Bottom End: The plant supporters have graceful smooth finish and natural green appearance, help blend into plants naturally without seeming weird. And the sharp bottom end helps push the stakes into soil more easily.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Adjustable Tomato Cage Plant Support Cages 36 inches Garden Cucumber Trellis,Plant Stake with 4 Adjustable Ring, Support Rings for Vegetables,Flowers,Fruit,Rose Vine Climbing Plants (4 Pack )
  • 🌑[Rustproof and Durable] Tomato and Plant support cage both the stakes and rings are made of metal material and wrapped in a high-quality plastic coating. Flexible plastic connectors. That make it rust-proof, the heat dissipation is good, does not hinder plant growth and entanglement, durable to use.
  • 🌑[2-Sections Design Plant Stake] each section stake height about 18 inch, through the stake connectors, the height of the plant support cage can be extended to 36 inch.
  • 🌑[Adjustable Plant Support Ring] The Max diameter of plant cage ring is approx.: 12 inch. Adjust the diameter of the ring by adjusting the accessories on the ring, and adjust the height of the ring on the stake by adjusting the ring and the connecting piece on the stake, that to meet your different needs.
  • 🌑[Protect the Healthy Growth of Plants] No extra tools required, just simple assembly can complete the plant support cage to protect your flowers, and plants grow upright, keeping them healthy and strong. Promotes healthy growth and prevents falls that may cause damage to your plants.
  • 🌑[Widely Use] These 4 pack green plant support cage great for tomato, vine plants, climbing plants, potted plants, garden, outdoor and indoor plants, etc.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Plant Support Tomato Cages for Garden,4 Pack 17.7inch Tomato Stakes Plant Stakes for Climbing Plants Adjustable Plant Trellis for Peony Support(4 Pack with 20M Garden Twist Tie)
  • Premium Plant Stakes:Our plant support cages are made of durable steel with rust-resistant plastic coating,rust-proof and durable to withstand bad weather,reusable for longtime use.
  • Versatile Plant Supports: This plant support cage can well prop up plants to grow uprightly and healthily, prevent plants from falling over or sprawling out, keep them upright,elegant and space-saving.
  • Easy to Use:Just open the plant support stakes and insert it into soil,sharp point easy to insert into soil,with a roll garden twist tie(20m/65.6ft) to help you fix plant on stakes.Stackable design for easy storage and reuse.
  • Adjustable Rings:With movable hooks,3 rings can adjust up and down,left and right,provide better support,smooth and green appearance match most of plant,make your plants look beautiful.It suggests to set up them when plants are young.
  • Package included: 4packs plant cages,17.7inch high, 3 rings diameter is 5.5 inch,6.2 inch and 7 inch. A 20m/65.6ft garden twist tie with build-in cutter. Note:Not fit for large plants, please check the size before purchasing.

Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bestseller No. 1
Jobe’s 06005 Tomato Fertilizer Spikes, 18 Spikes
  • Pre-measured fertilizer spikes nourishes at the roots; time release fertilizer spikes for tomatoes
  • Easy to use fertilizer spikes; no wasteful runoff, no mess, hazards or smells
  • Continuous supply of nutrients below the surface, where the active roots are growing
  • Jobe s spikes feeds for 8 weeks; continuous nourishment for robust Tomato plants
  • fertilizer Analysis: (6-18-6) 18 Spikes in waterproof resealable package
SaleBestseller No. 2
Miracle-Gro 2000422 Plant Food, 1.5-Pound (Tomato Fertilizer), 1.5 lb
  • Instantly feeds to grow bigger, more bountiful vegetables versus. unfed plants
  • Feed every 1-2 weeks
  • Great for tomatoes and vegetables
  • Use with Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder or any watering can
  • Safe for all plants, guaranteed not to burn when used as directed
SaleBestseller No. 3
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
  • For more nutritious and tasty vegetables
  • Optimum levels of primary plant nutrients
  • Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge
  • Feeds for several months
  • Made with 100% organic and natural ingredients

Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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