How to Grow Tomato Plants from Seeds – A Quick Guide

Before you can enjoy a fresh and delicious tomato from your garden, you need to learn how to grow tomato plants from seeds. 

Though it’s much easier to buy tomato seedlings from your local nursery and plant them in your garden, there is joy in starting your tomato plant from seeds. Besides, it’s cost-effective, and you’re able to grow even the less common varieties that you can’t find in your local nursery.

Of course, growing tomatoes from seeds requires a lot of work, but one thing you are guaranteed is that homegrown tomatoes from seeds grow healthier and even taste better.

Choose the Tomato Plant Variety You Want to Grow

One advantage of growing tomato plants from seeds is that you can choose different varieties that are hard to find as seedlings in your local nursery. 

There are many varieties of tomatoes that you can get as seeds. For example, beefsteak (great for slicing and sandwiches), Cherry tomatoes (great for salads), Heirloom tomatoes ( unique colors and flavors) or Roma, which is perfect for sauces and canning. 

Consider the Size

tomato plant with green and ripe fruits in the garden


Different tomato varieties have different sizes when they mature. Determinate varieties grow up to 3 feet and produce fruits one time,  so they are perfect for small gardens or containers. While indeterminate varieties can grow up to six feet tall and produce fruits throughout the season. 

RELATED: Determinate Vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

Quick Guide on How to Plant and Grow Tomato Plants from Seeds

Tomatoes love heat, but they don’t tolerate frost. They take about five to six weeks to mature into seedlings. So, plant your tomato seeds about 5 weeks before the last frost date (according to your local climate) so they are ready for transplant when the weather warms up.  

Step 1: Sow Your Seeds

Fill your containers or pots with seed potting mix and leave at least ½ inch of space at the top. Plant your tomato seeds approximately ¼ inch deep (planting too deep can hinder germination). 

Use a spray bottle to gently water the soil to keep it moist but not waterlogged. Keep the container or pot indoors in a warm place (south-facing window). Ensure the temperatures are between 70 -80 degrees F. You can place a heat mat under the pot to keep it warm.

Also, create a humid environment around the soil—you can use plastic wrap to achieve this. This helps fasten the germination process. 

The seeds should germinate in about 10 days. If multiple seeds sprout in one cell, thin out the weak ones by cutting them close to the ground level. Once your seedlings reach about 2-3 inches, transplant them into a bigger container. 

Step 2: Harden Your Seedlings

Acclimate your seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them outside in a shady place for about two hours, then gradually expose them to direct sunlight for about 10 days. This will help them get used to the sun and the wind. 

Step 3: Transplant Your Seedlings

Once your tomato seedlings are hardened and the weather is warm, it’s time to plant them in the garden. Tomatoes love the sun, so choose a sunny spot. If you’re planting them on the ground, ensure the hole is one foot deep.

When planting determinate varieties, ensure the holes are 18-24 inches apart, and when planting indeterminate varieties, plant each 24 -36 inches apart. Mix the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to create rich and fertile soil. 

Plant your seedlings deep, burying the stems up to the first set of leaves to promote additional root growth. 

Care for Your Tomato Plants

Tomato plant wraped around a stake


After planting tomatoes on the ground or in containers, water regularly to keep the soil moist. Lack of enough moisture might reduce yields. You can also add mulch around your plants to conserve moisture. 

Feed your tomato plants with a balanced fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks. Support the indeterminate varieties with stakes or cages to keep them upright and prevent the fruits from touching the ground. 

In Summary

Now that you know how to grow tomato plants from seeds, we look forward to seeing you grow healthy and tasty tomatoes from your garden. It might be a lot of work starting your tomatoes from seeds to seedlings to your first harvest. But all this work is worthwhile when you get your first harvest of healthy and delicious tomatoes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fastest Way to Germinate Tomato Seeds?

Tomato seeds germinate fast at a temperature of 70 – 80 degrees F, so place a heat mat under the container to keep the soil temperature warm and consistent. Additionally, you can pre-soak the seeds in warm water for about six hours or cover the seed tray with a plastic wrap to conserve moisture.

How Long Do Tomatoes Take to Grow from Seed?

On average, it takes about 60-80 days for determinate varieties to grow from seeds to harvesting, while indeterminate varieties may take 70 -100 days or longer to mature.

RELATED: 9 Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes to Boost Your Yields


Author Profile

🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼