The season for harvesting tomatoes is around the corner. And you may be having trouble growing tomatoes from your seeds or don’t know how to pull tomato harvesting off. Fortunately, there is an easy way on how to germinate tomato seeds faster.
Tomatoes are usually the first vegetable many gardeners grow from seed, mostly in pursuit of inspiring varieties that are seldom available as seedlings. Tomato seedlings germinate fast and show vigorous growth under warm, bright conditions, so there is little point in beginning seeds very early.
Read on to find out easy ways on how to germinate tomato seeds faster.
How Long Does It Take for Tomato Seeds to Sprout?
The first step in making a plant is germination. At this stage, the seed breaks open to form a root, then a stem, and then leaves, which can be called a seedling. Tomato seeds generally germinate in 5 to 10 days if provided optimal conditions reported the University of Maryland. The germination rate for a particular packet of tomato seeds depends on the source and age of the seed.
The University of Maine reported that tomato seeds take between 6 to 12 days to germinate with the ideal temperature of 65–85 Fahrenheit.
Several factors affect the time it takes for tomato seeds to germinate, such as soil temperature, humidity levels, and air circulation.
Here’s what you will need to start germinating tomato seeds:
Ideally, tomato seeds germinate faster with optimal soil temperature, air circulation, and humidity. You can either germinate tomato seeds outdoors or indoors.
1- Soil Temperature
The soil temperature, also known as the growing medium, will affect the time it takes for tomato germination seeds and germination rate or the percentage of seeds that sprout.
The lowest temperature for tomato seed germination is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). And, the maximum temperature for tomato seed germination is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
If your soil is colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), you will see low germination rates. It is nature’s way of preserving tomato seeds from sprouting at a time when they will be unable to survive.
And if the soil is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), germination rates will decrease. Combined with high humidity, high temperatures can promote mold growth, which is another threat to your plants.
The typical (optimal) temperature for tomato seed germination is between 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius), according to the University of Maine.
Remember that these temperatures refer to soil temperature, not air temperature. To find out your soil temperature, use a probe-type thermometer to moderate your soil temperature.
For further details, check out this article from the University of California on ideal seed germination temperatures
|Germination Temperatures of Tomato Seed||Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Temperature (Celsius)|
|Minimum Tomato Seed Germination Temperature||50||10|
|Ideal Tomato Seed Germination Temperature||65 to 85||18.3 to 29.4|
|Maximum Tomato Seed Germination Temperature||95||35|
Humidity is another essential factor to consider when germinating tomato seeds.
If the air is too dry, then the soil will dry out faster, and your tomato seeds will have trouble growing and may even die.
3- Air Circulation
Air circulation is also a crucial factor in growing healthy tomato plants. Good air circulation prevents condensation on the leaf surfaces, reduces the growth of fungal infections and rot, and helps in germinating tomato seeds faster.
There are two essential things you can do to keep your seeds from suffocating and improve your soil air circulation:
- Keep your soil moist but not too wet. Do not overwater the soil, and you can consider using a humidity dome to help you get the proper moisture level.
- Keep the soil loose. Do not compact the soil by shoving down on it either before or after planting your seeds. Whenever there is more space between soil particles, there will also be more space for air and water, both necessary for seed germination.
How to Germinate Tomato Seeds Faster
Many people try their best to get ripe and fruitful tomatoes by experimenting with different methods.
Follow the tips below to increase your chances and learn to grow your tomatoes faster.
1- Begin with a Clean Start
Redo the land where you wish to grow your tomatoes, pull off any weeds, and sprinkle it with water a full night before the plantation.
If you are interested in using containers, then use small paper cups at the bottom to punch holes for roots to spread far into the soft soil.
Most gardeners prefer small paper cups with several holes punched in the bottoms because they can write various cups’ names. And when the tomato seedlings are ready to move to larger containers, it’s easy to peel away the softened cups and compost them.
Try to use a new bag of high-quality seed-starting mix and avoid cheap imitations, which usually cause seedling failure.
If you reuse plastic cell packs, wash them well in warm, soapy water to remove old soil and accumulate salts.
2- Label Your Container
Write different names on your containers with waterproof markers, or name them with utility tape.
Labeling your containers helps to avoid confusion afterward, especially if you need to repot your tomatoes; it will prevent guessing.
You would need a plastic or glass container to continue with this step. Place the seeds carefully on a bed of paper towel or white paper for them to grow on.
After this, gradually add water until the paper towel is fully soaked. Close the lid and make a note about the tomato seeds that you have placed on the paper towel.
Note the germination pattern of the seeds and take them out of the pot once you know that they have started to germinate.
It is important not to keep these seeds in direct sunlight as the germinating seeds would die from the direct sunlight.
3- Plant them Dry
You don’t need to soak them in water before planting them directly into the soil or small containers. The reason behind this procedure is the furry coating on the tomato seeds.
It will soften when you add water to the soil. It allows the seed to adhere to soil and start germination properly.
The seed coat will also release chemicals within the soil, which will enhance the growing conditions for the tomato seeds.
4- Water Carefully
- Try to use a pump spray bottle to thoroughly water the seed starting mix, which can take several hours.
- When the containers feel heavy with water, use a pencil eraser to make slight holes for the seeds, and cover and press them in with your finger.
- Then spritz more water over the top of the container
- If you are not sure about your water’s purity, try to use filtered water allowed to gas off overnight in an open jar.
5- Provide Warmth and Light
Now, place the containers close to the windows where sunlight enters all the time. Full-spectrum light is required to make the seeds germinate quickly and produce vibrant greenery.
Tomato seeds that are kept at room temperature and are sprinkled with water twice a day are susceptible to sprout within a week.
There is no need to overhaul them with excess light because it will ruin the shoots as well as the leaves by producing excessive chlorophyll.
Moreover, it can result in seedlings dying off due to excessive heat. You must be wondering now that little shoots are emerging out of the seed; how long does it take for a tomato plant to bear fruit? Well, you can expect your tomato plants to produce fruits between 40 and 50 days after planting them in the soil.
6- Handle the Seedlings with Care
If you want to speed up the process of tomato seed germination, then you must handle the seedlings with care.
You must not touch the stem of the seedling as it will make it bruise quickly. And, the bruised seedling is susceptible to fungal infection restarting its growth completely.
Don’t even think of migrating these seedlings to a big container. Unless you see small roots popping out of the bottom of the small pot, you are keeping them in.
Many people have a question about the majority of tomatoes, such as; how long does it take tomatoes to grow after they flower? Well, it might take them another three to five weeks for the tomatoes to grow after they flower.
They will grow fully into sweetened and fully ripened fruits after these flowers.
7- Never Rush with Hardening
Hardening means exposing those small seedlings to harsh and wicked environments. But with your seedlings out there, you must take consistent precautions.
Don’t take them off into the open environment just yet; try to put them in a protective vessel such as a container.
The container should have a top cover poked with tiny holes that only allow for a fraction of heat and light to penetrate the fruit.
Small but repetitive intervals might help you with the task, and surprisingly enough, your small tomato seedlings would eventually turn into beautifully ripened tomatoes.
How to Germinate Tomato Seeds Faster Using Paper Towel:
- Start with two pieces of paper towel. Pre-fold them so that you can name your seeds with a pen. You can also add an index card or a separate sheet of paper because the name sometimes can fade away when written on a paper towel.
- After pre- folding and labeling the paper towel, put in water and then soak it nicely and squeeze out most of the water. The moisture in the paper towel will be your germinating environment for the seeds.
- Take a pinch and just spread them out all over the paper towel.
- Once the seeds are down, then fold the paper towel over and press it and fold it inward again. You want to fold it in a way that the seeds won’t fall out the sides.
- Add the paper towel in a ziplock to keep the moisture in and seal it. Put it into a warm place between 65–85 Fahrenheit. The environment does not need to be dark. Wait between 6 to 12 days for your tomato seeds to germinate. You can either tape the label outside or put it on the inside of the Ziplock.
- After about 6 to 12 days passed, open the paper towel up, and you will notice that your tomato seeds started to germinate.
FAQ’s—Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a tomato plant to bear fruit?
With many tomato plants, they require from 20 to 30 days to reach maturity, and little buds start appearing all over the plant. On the whole, they might require 40 to 50 days to start producing fruit.
How long does it take for tomatoes to grow after flowers?
After flowering, it might take tomatoes another three to five weeks to grow properly in size and required texture. The fruits will only start to change color as they finish ripening.
How long does it take for tomato seeds to produce fruit?
It might take roughly 40-50 days for the tomato seeds to grow as a proper plant and after flowering start bearing and producing fruits.
Now, you know how to germinate tomato seeds faster. You have also discovered the main factors that affect tomato seeds germination time.
Follow the following steps to germinate tomato seeds faster using paper towel:
- Get a wet paper towel
- Put your seeds inside and seal them in a Ziploc bag
- Make sure you label them
- Put them somewhere warm for 6 to 12 days
I hope you found this article helpful in germinating your tomato seeds faster – if yes, please share it with someone who can use this information.