Tomato seedlings are ready to be transplanted when they are at least 3 inches tall, and have their first true leaves, which are the second and subsequent sets of leaves that appear.

The first leaves that sprout (called cotyledons) are not leaves at all, but embryonic structures from the seed that provide nutrition until the seedling can make its own food.

Cotyledons naturally drop off after a few days once the true leaves unfold and begin the task of photosynthesis, making way for adult growth on the plant.

Gather the supplies you’ll need to repot your tomato seedlings.


Start with clean 4-inch pots and pre-moistened, high-quality potting mix.


Water your seedlings to loosen up the potting mix and keep the roots moist while you work.

Remove the seedlings from their seed starting pots.


Always handle tomato seedlings by their leaves, not their delicate stems.

Separate the seedlings.


Position the tomato seedling in the center of the pot so that the lowest set of leaves is even with the rim of the pot.

Place a seedling in each pot and bury the stem up to its lowest set of leaves.


Repeat Steps 1 through 4 for the remaining seedlings.

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