priscilla384
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Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

This is a picture of Day 13 Cherry Tomato seedlings. It looked exactly the same as when it was a week old... I heard seedlings only grow huge true leaves at Day 30 and this particular website that I found but couldn't find it anymore mentioned that at Day 15 the seedlings will still be short like before. One of them start growing a pair of small true leaves. But only one... Stems are not firm but mushy as well although I didn't over-water. (My cosmos seedlings received almost the same amount of water but grew much taller and had firmer stems even though I planted them a few days later). Is it okay for cherry tomato seedlings to be short at Day 18 (today) just like at Day 8? This is my first planting attempt so I am not so sure about gardening. Do help me along^^ Thanks for helping:)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Mushy stems is a very bad sign and may mean your seedlings aren't going to make it.

What are you using for light source? Your seedlings are all leaning towards the light, which means they aren't getting enough light.

Because your container isn't full of soil, the seedlings are sitting down in the shadow and air circulation barrier of the container.

I would expect them all to be at least showing true leaves by now, if they were doing well.


You said you are not over watering, but say more about how, how often, how much you water.

I have found it best to water seedlings from the bottom, just putting the containers in a tray with a little water and let them soak it up.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Yep. Tomato seedlings in good light would have darker, sometimes almost purplish stems.

What is the temperature there (day and night). That might be affecting their growths as well. Tomato seedlings grow best somewhat slowly in 50's-60's °F into sturdier seedlings, but grow faster in mid 70's°F.

If this is a indoor setup, they will grow stronger if you aim a fan at them for a few hours each day. In a humid environment, it's best to grow seedlings in containers filled to the top for better air circulation and movement (as well as keeping the tops of the seedlings closer to the light) like rainbowgardener said. With lower humidity or with good air circulation going, you can grow them lower in the container and fill up with more soil mix as the seedlings grow as long as you are supplying strong/high intensity light.

BTW these are going to get crowded pretty soon -- were you just using this container as a "seed flat" and plan to prick them out and pot them up individually, or were you planning to cull the extras and grow the final plant(s) in this window box (because it doesn't look big enough actually).
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

I agree light and heat are needed. I wouldn't call them a goner yet, but unless you can get more light on them and heat them up more, they won't catch up.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

I just grew more than 40 cherry tomato plants! lol

But they also had a slow start after their first growth and looked just like that for a while. My beefsteak tomatoes still look like that.

Dry them out a bit. I see moisture beading on the sides there. Do what everyone said and check the base of the stems for blackening and narrowing. If they do they have damp off (I lost another 10 seedling to damp off). If you get damp off you need to do more of everything the others just advised.

I also find that my tomatoes don't need much hardening off and I even gave them some quite hectic sun at this stage.

Lastly, I gave my seedlings all a weak solution of a liquid seedling food with gibberelic acid. I think it really helped (except my damn beefsteaks).

priscilla384
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

rainbowgardener wrote:Mushy stems is a very bad sign and may mean your seedlings aren't going to make it.

What are you using for light source? Your seedlings are all leaning towards the light, which suggestioney aren't getting enough light.

Because your container isn't full of soil, the seedlings are sitting down in the shadow and air circulation barrier of the container.

I would expect them all to be at least showing true leaves by now, if they were doing well.


You said you are not over watering, but say more about how, how often, how much you water.

I have found it best to water seedlings from the bottom, just putting the containers in a tray with a little water and let them soak it up.
Light source is the sun but its in a shade... from 7pm there will be an artificial light turned on almost directly above it for the entire night until sunrise. But now I know what to do.^^ thanks for the suggestion!
Two sprays on every seedling. Is that a lot or little? ??
And I was wondering whats wrong for a week. Thanks so much for helping:)

priscilla384
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

applestar wrote:Yep. Tomato seedlings in good light would have darker, sometimes almost purplish stems.

What is the temperature there (day and night). That might be affecting their growths as well. Tomato seedlings grow best somewhat slowly in 50's-60's °F into sturdier seedlings, but grow faster in mid 70's°F.

If this is a indoor setup, they will grow stronger if you aim a fan at them for a few hours each day. In a humid environment, it's best to grow seedlings in containers filled to the top for better air circulation and movement (as well as keeping the tops of the seedlings closer to the light) like rainbowgardener said. With lower humidity or with good air circulation going, you can grow them lower in the container and fill up with more soil mix as the seedlings grow as long as you are supplying strong/high intensity light.

BTW these are going to get crowded pretty soon -- were you just using this container as a "seed flat" and plan to prick them out and pot them up individually, or were you planning to cull the extras and grow the final plant(s) in this window box (because it doesn't look big enough actually).
Temperature in the day: 86-95 ºF
Temperature at night: 77-86ºF
I placed it outdoors. I will move the seedlings upwards in the pot. Thanks for the suggestion^^
I was planning to grow them like that haha. When do I transplant them into another pot? Its already day 19 now.
Thank you so much for guiding! ^^

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

imafan26 wrote:I agree light and heat are needed. I wouldn't call them a goner yet, but unless you can get more light on them and heat them up more, they won't catch up.
Sorry but may I know what range of heat? How do i heat? Is 77-95 º F okay? As for the light i'll follow what rainbowgardener and applestar said^^ thanks^^

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

evtubbergh wrote:I just grew more than 40 cherry tomato plants! lol

But they also had a slow start after their first growth and looked just like that for a while. My beefsteak tomatoes still look like that.

Dry them out a bit. I see moisture beading on the sides there. Do what everyone said and check the base of the stems for blackening and narrowing. If they do they have damp off (I lost another 10 seedling to damp off). If you get damp off you need to do more of everything the others just advised.

I also find that my tomatoes don't need much hardening off and I even gave them some quite hectic sun at this stage.

Lastly, I gave my seedlings all a weak solution of a liquid seedling food with gibberelic acid. I think it really helped (except my damn beefsteaks).
Wow! 40!!! :eek:

The moisture is from my watering haha. But its not good is it? I heard it might lead to bacterial growth on the leaves.

What's damp off (sorry>. <)? Is it rotting due to over watering?

I will try to put the seedlings under sunlight as much as possible.

How often should I fertilise seedlings like this and how much?

Thanks for helping me along!^^

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Hi there

Damp-off is a fungal disease that seedlings sometimes get where the base of the stem rots and then the seedling falls over. If you can get to two large real leaves then you will be fine. The excess moisture can cause fungal disease. Bacteria would actually be good.

Don't over-do the light, give them some dark at night. They need to rest too. You also don't have to do sun right now, shade is fine, I just had to as they were indoors and getting a little weedy and my back yard is very sunny in the day. Also I kept forgetting them out there. Thank goodness they are the easiest to harden off!

They do need to go in the sun once they have true leaves though.

You don't have to feed them, especially at this early stage but as they start to develop some true leaves you can feed them a half-strength liquid fertiliser if you want. I would use general fertiliser. The one I used was an organic NPK 8-2-6 with micronutrients.

Follow the instructions and always remember that with fertiliser, less is more. Rather do low strength and more often.

Grow them about 15 cm apart at minimum and then feed often if they are that close. If you have too many then rather take out the weakest ones.

PS I do that all the time then give them away, lol :)

PPS Where are you? You can't be in the Northern Hemisphere if you're starting tomatoes, right? Update your profile. It helps people answer questions better.

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Oh, another thing. You can always plant tomatoes deeper than they are when you move them because they just grow more roots, which is good because it provides better absorption capabilities and a stronger hold. You could put potting soil in the pot up to half the stem once they have leaves. Also you can easily carefully take those out, put in more soil then replant them a bit deeper than they are. Never touch the root so handle by their tops.

priscilla384
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

evtubbergh wrote:Hi there

Damp-off is a fungal disease that seedlings sometimes get where the base of the stem rots and then the seedling falls over. If you can get to two large real leaves then you will be fine. The excess moisture can cause fungal disease. Bacteria would actually be good.

Don't over-do the light, give them some dark at night. They need to rest too. You also don't have to do sun right now, shade is fine, I just had to as they were indoors and getting a little weedy and my back yard is very sunny in the day. Also I kept forgetting them out there. Thank goodness they are the easiest to harden off!

They do need to go in the sun once they have true leaves though.

You don't have to feed them, especially at this early stage but as they start to develop some true leaves you can feed them a half-strength liquid fertiliser if you want. I would use general fertiliser. The one I used was an organic NPK 8-2-6 with micronutrients.

Follow the instructions and always remember that with fertiliser, less is more. Rather do low strength and more often.

Grow them about 15 cm apart at minimum and then feed often if they are that close. If you have too many then rather take out the weakest ones.

PS I do that all the time then give them away, lol :)

PPS Where are you? You can't be in the Northern Hemisphere if you're starting tomatoes, right? Update your profile. It helps people answer questions better.

Oh... I get it. I have one cherry tomato seedling like that but it's okay now^^

But I can't control the light as I live in a government owned flat which switches on lights as programmed...

I fertilise the soil once a week. Is that a lot or little (pot length should be the same as the length of a normal sized laptop)?

I'm planning to seperate them into different pots as soon as there is some progress... The thing I worry about is my doorway is really cramp and I don't have space to place that many pots. Gahhh... I'll follow your idea and give them away^^ Probably no one wants them lol :-()

And I live in Singapore, really warm and humid :oops:

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Misting (spraying) is a really difficult way to water and be able to get the soil thoroughly moistened. What you are concerned about watering is the soil and roots, not the leaves. If you can't water from the bottom, then pour water on the soil, until it comes out the drain holes. Then let it drain and get rid of the water that comes out, don't let the pot sit in it.

Tomatoes, even cherry tomatoes, are big plants and will need, eventually, to be in big pots (ONE per big pot). One cherry tomato plant if it does well will give you all the cherry tomatoes you could eat, hundreds of them.

Fertilize weekly, weakly. For little seedlings like that, no more than 1/4 strength of what the directions say. Later when they are bigger, you can move it up to 1/2 strength.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

I agree with pretty much all of what everyone above said, except they don't need additional heat as your temperatures are naturally high enough.
South Florida conditions are similar, we are growing our tomatoes and veggies now, and we are still northern hemisphere too, but we are a little further north than you( not much though).
I had my seedlings getting east light in the AM, and also under a grow light. It took about 2 weeks from sow date to get pretty good sized true leaves. At that point they were transplanted to 4 inch pots and put outside in the shade. Stayed there for about 1 week, then started leaving them out in morning sun until noon for 3 days, then 2 hours extra afternoon sun, then 3 , and by the next week, full sun.
After the second set of true leaves formed, I gave half strength liquid fertilizer every third watering.
By 5 weeks they are 7 to 10 inches tall.
Now I need to pot up in at least a 5 gallon pot each, 10 would be better.
As they said, plant deep, up to the first leaves, because all those hairs on the stem will become roots.

Then all you will have to worry about will be insects and diseases! :cry:
You can post again for help with all that when the time comes. :?
All the best of luck to you.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

you are exactly right, Julius about burying the plant deeper when transplanting, burying part of the stem.

To be really really picky, not ALL of the root hairs will become roots. Some of the root hairs will become root nodules or primordia:


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https://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb2 ... mordia.jpg

If the primordia are buried or kept moist, they will grow in to roots.

In the picture, you can see some of the stem hairs that are still hairs and some that are now primordia.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Yes, I tend to generalize. Not all the hairs, just lots of them! I need to watch doing that! Great photo.
My word for the day is primordia! Yesterday is was thigmotropism! :lol:
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Tomatoes are true warm season crops and like temps between 70 and 85 degrees to do best. They grow very slowly when the soil and air are cool. Too much water and a poorly draining (and drying) medium can kill seedlings. Good air circulation and watering judiciously helps a lot.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

A few of them have grown true leaves. It's still slow. It's now Day 58. True leaves started growing at Day 30. But I noticed that those more exposed to sunlight grew faster than those blocked by the walls of the pot or by other plants. I'm trying to raise the soil along with the plants. Waiting for results... Thanks for your help^^

By the way, I watered the plants more (in amount) and the bottom leaf of the plant is turning yellow but yet the top leaves are starting to grow (seemingly faster). Why is it so???

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Wow, you do have patience! I would have likely given up on them a long time ago. Day 58, if that is from seed sprouting, you should have a full sized plant with ripe tomatoes by now. If day 58 is from when you planted the seed, you still should have a full sized plant with tomatoes on it. Something isn't working right.

Tomatoes are full sun plants. They need at least six, preferably more like 8 hrs of direct sun daily.

You said these are outdoors. Are they still crowded in the one pot? I would consider giving some of them their own pots at least 10 cm in diameter (if the plants are still small). While you are up potting take a look at the root system. In my experience, when plants are just sitting there, not growing but not dying, often something has happened to the root system. It should have a healthy amount of roots, as deep underneath as the plant is tall and bushy and well branched, white and firm.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

If the "bottom leaf" is the seed leaves, they turn yellow and drop off if there is sufficient soil fertility and they are not needed to feed the plant. By watering more, you may have allowed the fertilizer (if dry pellets as described in the cosmos thread) or existing nutrients in the soil to be released.

I'm wondering if they have not been getting enough water if they are being cared for in the same way as cosmos. Aphids and mites will also attack tomato seedlings. Are there ants on them too?
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

applestar wrote:If the "bottom leaf" is the seed leaves, they turn yellow and drop off if there is sufficient soil fertility and they are not needed to feed the plant. By watering more, you may have allowed the fertilizer (if dry pellets as described in the cosmos thread) or existing nutrients in the soil to be released.

I'm wondering if they have not been getting enough water if they are being cared for in the same way as cosmos. Aphids and mites will also attack tomato seedlings. Are there ants on them too?
The bottom leaf is the first pair of true leaves.

When I watered by spraying a little, it grows slowly. But when I poured water (a lot), it grows even faster but also the bottom leaves start to turn yellow. This time it didn't turn brown or dry. It drops off still yellow in colour. Could it be overwatering?

There are ants but not much. Maybe just one or two. No aphids too. But somehow those more exposed to light grow much faster. Those under the shade remained the same. I'm trying to shift their positions so they can get more exposed to light.

Thanks^^ :D

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

rainbowgardener wrote:Wow, you do have patience! I would have likely given up on them a long time ago. Day 58, if that is from seed sprouting, you should have a full sized plant with ripe tomatoes by now. If day 58 is from when you planted the seed, you still should have a full sized plant with tomatoes on it. Something isn't working right.

Tomatoes are full sun plants. They need at least six, preferably more like 8 hrs of direct sun daily.

You said these are outdoors. Are they still crowded in the one pot? I would consider giving some of them their own pots at least 10 cm in diameter (if the plants are still small). While you are up potting take a look at the root system. In my experience, when plants are just sitting there, not growing but not dying, often something has happened to the root system. It should have a healthy amount of roots, as deep underneath as the plant is tall and bushy and well branched, white and firm.
OMG! I only realised now how slow my plants are growing... haha^^

No wonder those exposed to more light are growing so much more quickly^^ I'll try to find a place with more light^^

I separated half of them to two other smaller 10cm diameter pots. The bigger rectangle pot has slightly more than half the previous number of seedlings. The other two pots has 5 each. As for the roots, if it's not like what you said, what is causing it and what can I do? I haven't checked yet though.

Thanks for helping^^ :()
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Very interesting. They look healthy, with good internodes (distances between leaf nodes) on the stem. Not elongated or spindly like they are lacking light. There is one in the back that DOES look a little bit light starved, but not enough to be concerned.

They actually look somewhat as though they could be dwarf varieties with shorter internodes, and if so, the one in the back could be a regular indeterminate stray. Did you mention what variety these are? Are they sold as container or patio type? If they are genetic dwarfs, it could explain the slow growth to some extent.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

applestar wrote:Very interesting. They look healthy, with good internodes (distances between leaf nodes) on the stem. Not elongated or spindly like they are lacking light. There is one in the back that DOES look a little bit light starved, but not enough to be concerned.

They actually look somewhat as though they could be dwarf varieties with shorter internodes, and if so, the one in the back could be a regular indeterminate stray. Did you mention what variety these are? Are they sold as container or patio type? If they are genetic dwarfs, it could explain the slow growth to some extent.
Oh oh... I don't know the variety. I lost the seed packaging... But I don't think they are dwarf varieties because now they are growing really quickly compared to before although there are still some which are small seedlings with only a small pair of true leaves. Good news! I guess it's either because of more water or more fertiliser because it grew faster after I listened to the advices given on the forum (giving more water until surface turns dry). But those still small seemed to be less exposed to light... I don't know... Never mind^^ Thanks for your help^^ I would have felt really lost without your help :D

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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Yeah LIGHT, eight hours of direct sun a day! Even if you can get them to grow with less, they will never fruit. I know from experience, because my backyard is pretty shady and getting more so each year as the trees get bigger. I used to grow tomatoes back there fairly successfully even though it wasn't quite enough light. But now it is down to just a few hours of afternoon sun. I still tried growing tomatoes this year. The plants grew pretty well on 3-4 hours a day of direct afternoon sun, but produced very little fruit.

Be careful with fertilizer. Right now since they are so slow growing, they could probably use a boost. Once they get well established, you don't want to overdo the nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can lead to big leafy plants at the expense of fruiting. Look for Tomato Tone or something like it, that is higher on the PK end of NPK and has some micro-nutrients.
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

They are big enough now to transplant each into their own final pot, if you do, along with all the great water and fertilizer instructions given here, they will take off in a big way. I think a pot at least 5 gallons (20 liters) in size because cherry tomatoes get very large, 8-10 feet (~3+meters) is not unusual). Bigger pot-even better. They look healthy, nice job so far. :)
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Thanks for your help!!! It grew really tall now and flower buds (I assume) are appearing^^ But it has been 2-3 weeks since then and the flower buds looked the same. Is that something I should worry about?

And there are white and black spots appearing below the lower leaves. I check online and looked for pictures for powdery mildew but they don't look like what's growing on my plant. I wanted to attach the picture but it looked blurry. It's white clumps with some black spots in the middle of each clump. Insect eggs???
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Re: Cherry Tomato seedlings not growing

Yes those are flowers. If the flowers are not turning yellow then don't worry that they seem not to be growing, they will. :) really could use a picture of the white and black spots to be able to see whats going on. Could be insect eggs, but some insects are beneficials that you don't want to kill.
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