Why tomato seedlings grow long and thin

Tomatoes are most often grown in seedlings. This is due to the fact that seed germination in open ground is much lower than in containers. In addition, the thermophilic plant does not tolerate spring frosts well. When growing young plants in a greenhouse or at home, gardeners also face a number of problems. So, for example, sometimes tomato seedlings are pulled up. In this case, the stem becomes thin, and the plant becomes weak. Since long tomato seedlings do not give fruitful bushes, it is impossible to leave the problem without attention. Consider, because of which the seedlings are pulled up and what to do if it is pulled long before planting.

Reasons for stretching seedlings in length


There may be several reasons for the tomato seedlings reaching very high. The most likely include:

  • lack of light;
  • non-compliance with the temperature regime when growing tomatoes;
  • excessive watering;
  • frequent top dressing;
  • improperly selected soil.

Let's talk about how each of the above problems affects the development of a young bush.


Most varieties of tomatoes ripen in 2.5-3 months after emergence. This is a long period, so they are engaged in planting seeds of early varieties already at the end of winter. Mid-season and late varieties can be sown in early spring. During this period, daylight hours are short. Accordingly, seedlings do not receive the amount of light necessary for normal development.

The daylight hours for tomatoes should be about 16 hours, so all seedlings need additional illumination. It is also worth noting here that on cloudy days you should not turn off the lamps used for illumination, even during the day. The amount of light needed for tomatoes varies between 240, 000-25, 000 lux. On a spring cloudy day, even windows located on the south side receive much less light.

When arranging additional lighting, lamps are installed not only on top of plants, but also on the sides. Otherwise, a long and thin liana, not capable of producing a good crop, can grow on the windowsill. Seedlings should be equally well lit from all sides.

To reduce the cost of the process of growing young plants suitable for transplanting into the open ground, energy-saving lamps are installed in the lamps. It is advisable to purchase lamps with a timer that will turn on and off at a pre-set time.

Temperature mode

The reason that the tomato seedlings greatly stretched immediately after germination may be a failure to observe the temperature regime. Best tomato seeds germinate at a temperature of 25 ° C. If the air temperature is lower, do not expect friendly and timely shoots.

Subject to temperature conditions, the seedlings will be strong

After sprouts appeared, the air temperature is lowered to 16 ° C. Deviations of 2 ° C are allowed. As soon as the sprouts get stronger and begin to turn into full-fledged plants with a powerful stem, the temperature is raised to 25 ° C. You need to do this in order to stimulate the growth of tomatoes.

It is difficult to say exactly when to raise the air temperature. Some varieties of tomatoes grow faster, others slower. If you rely on the experience of specialists, you need to raise the temperature somewhere 2-3 weeks after the sprouts appear.

In order to prevent stretching of tomato seedlings, after it reaches the optimum height for planting, the air temperature is lowered by 8-12 ° C. If you observe this temperature regime, you do not have to wonder why tomato seedlings are thin and long. Tomatoes will have a powerful stem and well-developed root system.


If the seedlings receive enough light and the temperature is observed during cultivation, the reason that the tomato seedlings are excessively pulled up may be an excess of moisture. Abundantly pouring the roots of young seedlings is strictly prohibited. Watering plants should be necessary.

Top dressing

So that tomato seedlings do not stretch up, you do not need to overdo it with top dressing. The ascended tomato seedling for 14 days does not need additional nutrition, even if it is weak in appearance. After this time, vegetable crops are fed superphosphates. To make it strong, preference is given to fertilizers, which contain potassium and phosphorus.

Nitrogen-containing fertilizers before planting in the soil, the vegetable crop can not be fed. If liquid top dressing is used, there is no need to water the plant additionally. If dry fertilizers are used, after top dressing the plants need to be watered.


If all of the above norms are met, but the elongated tomato seedlings still stand on the windowsills, the matter is most likely in the composition of the soil. Tomatoes need phosphorus and potassium, but nitrogen promotes excessive plant growth, therefore, it is recommended to use substrates intended for tomatoes for planting seeds. If you use land from the garden, you need to monitor the growth of seedlings. If the seedlings of tomatoes stretch excessively upwards, it should be transplanted using a special substrate.

So that the seedlings do not stretch much, before planting the seeds, they wash the soil with a lot of warm water. After this procedure, the amount of nitrogen in the soil decreases.

Recommendations of specialists

To prevent rapid growth, fertilize the bushes with potassium

In order not to think about why tomato seedlings were stretched, you need to know everything about growing this vegetable crop. In addition to the main points that relate to lighting, temperature, watering and top dressing, consider nuances that are not known to everyone.

  • In order not to sprout seedlings, it is recommended to grow it in separate containers of small sizes. If plants are grown in one container, you need to ensure that each of them has enough light. Be sure to dive the plants growing together after the appearance of two full leaves on them. Seeds do not plant too close to each other. If the seedlings are stretched too much, it should be transplanted into separate containers.
  • You need to grow tomatoes on a window located in the southern part of the house. It is these windows that are lit most in spring. When growing tomatoes on the windows located on the northern part of the house, increase the duration of exposure.
  • To prevent the stretching of young tomato seedlings, after the appearance of sprouts, the plants are tempered. Containers with tomatoes can be taken out onto a loggia or a glazed balcony. It is important to ensure that the temperature drops do not exceed 4-5 °. If the room temperature is 15 ° С, containers can be taken out onto the balcony if the air temperature is at least 10 ° С. For a long period of time, containers are not allowed on the loggia. Quenching the plant is enough to take a few hours a day.
  • Regardless of why the seedlings are drawn, it will not be amiss to feed her with potash fertilizer. Potassium makes the juice located between the cells of the plant more dense. And this, in turn, inhibits the growth of vegetable crops.

This problem cannot be ignored. Fruits from plants that have grown excessively will be small.

What to do with elongated seedlings

Let’s figure out what can be done if the tomato seedlings very much stretched up. The order of action depends on how much time is left before the plants are planted in the ground.

Seedlings stretched before planting

If tomato seedlings are very much stretched immediately before planting in the ground, nothing needs to be done. It is enough to adjust your actions during the planting of a vegetable crop. In general, planting elongated tomato seedlings is practically no different from planting plants of normal growth. The only point worth paying attention to is the landing depth. It is advisable not to make a groove, but holes. The roots of the plant are buried in the soil by no more than 8-10 cm. If you overdo it with deepening the roots, the plant will not be strong.

If more than 4-5 days remain before planting, you can treat the planting material with wood ash. But you need to make a small amount of this fertilizer. If you overdo it, you can overly inhibit the growth of vegetable crops.

Seedlings stretched long before planting

First of all, it is necessary to find out why thin tomato seedlings were stretched, and then provide the tomatoes with the necessary conditions for normal development. To adjust the height of the bush, it needs to be transplanted into a higher container, while deepening the root. Too deep to plant a tall plant is not worth it. It is better to pour soil into the container after a few days. If after planting a tall plant falls, it is necessary to create a support for it from improvised means.

If there is enough free space in the container, you can do otherwise. They stop watering the plant and wait until it withers to such an extent that the thin stalk becomes plastic, then we lay the stalk on the surface of the container in the form of a spiral. It remains to fill the formed spiral with a thin layer of soil and moisten it well. The part of the stem that appears in the ground will quickly take root, and thanks to the powerful root system, the plant will become stronger.

Excessively high seedlings

If the planting material is excessively extended upwards, it is trimmed below the sixth leaf. The resulting seedlings are dipped in water, and wait for them to give roots. As soon as the root length reaches 1.5-2 m, the plant is planted in containers. At the same time, from the lower part of the plants remaining after trimming the tops, strong tomato bushes are grown at home.

The plant will definitely give stepsons. No action is taken until the stepchildren reaches 5 cm, then all stepchildren are trimmed, leaving only 2 upper processes. If at the top of the plant there are more than two stepsons, the strongest of them are left. This method of solving the problem is suitable only if at least 20 days remain before planting the vegetable crop.


Growing good planting material at home is easy. The main thing is to adhere to the norms of illumination and temperature conditions. Usually, if the tomato seedlings are extended, when planting it is enough just to dig the roots into the soil.


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