Pot size for tomato plants

AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)April 7, 2013

Hello everyone,
I started better bush hybrid tomato seeds on March 1. They are currently about 4 inches tall and in 4 inch pots. I of course will not be planting out for at least a month and wanted to know if you think they will need to be potted up again prior to transplant? I can see some roots coming out of the bottom of their pots, other than that they look great.

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I would say so. If you can 't get them in the ground because it is not warm enough you should move into larger, but not too large, containers.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:55PM
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I can only keep mine in 4-inch pots so long. I usually end up putting them in quarts for the last couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:52AM
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If you do any reading on the tomato forum - everyone is all about tall tall pots for tomatoes. 16 oz solo cups is the standard. Last year I had moved mine to 4" pots, then realized I need more height/depth. Instead of transplanting them again, I cut the bottoms out of some 16 oz cups, and slipped them over the plants, cut off a few of the bottom leaves and filled it up with potting mix. Since tomatoes will root out all along the stem it was a way to get a lot more root development with out moving to big quart sized pots which take up so much room under the lights.

They were a little awkward to transplant when I put them out in the garden - but it was worth it.

Once they grew a little taller, I cut of a few more branches and toped up the soil.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

It's solely up the you. If you have thespace and time to pot them up, feel free. If you don't, I wouldnt be too concerned.. You ever buy flats where they only have a 2 inch spacing, with a pinch of soil for a foot tall tomato? It's almost insane how commercial growers can pack them in! To answer your question - whatever would be most convenient for you.. It wouldn't hurt to transplant them, that's if you have the space.. But I don't think you're going to kill them getting them a little rootbound.. I always start my seeds in big enough containers, i never have to pot up any, the only transplanting I do Is in the garden.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:52AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You ever buy flats where they only have a 2 inch spacing, with a pinch of soil for a foot tall tomato? It's almost insane how commercial growers can pack them in!

They aren't grown in those containers - the six packs. The plants are just transplanted into those for transport and sales. And they aren't a foot tall either. Depending on supplier any taller than 10" go into 6" pots or larger for individual pot sale.

To mass produce seedlings in a limited space and to avoid all the plant stress caused by starting a single seed in a large pot, most all commercially sold plants are transplanted at least once to stimulate feeder root development and most are transplanted 2x prior to sale.

Allie - Better Bush doesn't get all that big or grow that fast so IF you transplanted it deeply into the 4" pot they will probably be fine for another month although they will be rootbound so need careful monitoring for water. It sounds as if you started them a little too early.

However if you shallow planted it into the top of 4" pot then yes, some sort of additional top support will likely be needed.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:27PM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Thanks everyone for your responses.
I did plant deeply I guess as I only filled the pots half way with soil. I just topped off the soil and will see how they do for the next month.
Here is a pic.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:31PM
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