Germinate Tomato Seeds In Cotton Wool In 5 Steps

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:04 pm

Germinating tomato seeds in cotton is a very simple and effective method. It allows you to get a quick result without any equipment and in only 7 days.

If you have bought tomato seeds or read my article on how to harvest and sprout fresh tomato seeds, you may be wondering how to sprout them on cotton.

Germinate Tomato Seeds In Cotton Wool In 5 Steps

In this article, you will learn how to sprout tomato seeds in cotton in 5 steps.

1 Soak Your Tomato Seeds For About 12 To 24 Hours

Faire tremper les graines de tomates

The first step before trying to sprout your tomato seeds in cotton is to soak them. Ideally, you should put in warm water and place the glass or container of water on a radiator so that the water stays warm during the soaking process.

This step will allow the seeds to germinate more easily once you place them on the cotton.

Soaking can take anywhere from 12 hours to 24 hours.

2 Prepare An Airtight Jar And Cotton

Préparer du coton, du cellophane, un récipient et les graines de tomate

Prepare cotton, cellophane, a container and tomato seeds
You don’t need much equipment to germinate tomato seeds in cotton. All you need is:

Tomato seeds
A resealable container
If the container does not have a lid, you will need cellophane
Of course, you’ll also need cotton 😉!
Possibly, tweezers
Place your cotton previously soaked in water in your container. The cotton should really soak up the water, so feel free to run it completely under water.

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3 Place The Tomato Seeds On The Cotton

Laissez germer les graines de tomates sur du coton humide

Let the tomato seeds germinate on damp cotton
Once the cotton is well soaked with water, you can place your seeds in it.

To do this, take your tweezers and grab the tomato seeds in the glass of water one by one.

Place them a few inches apart and close the container or cover it with cellophane.

It is important that the container is closed to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly and to protect the seeds from predators. However, leave a small gap for air to pass through if you close the can with a lid, or cut holes in the cellophane. This will prevent the tomato seeds from rotting on the cotton.

4 Wait 7 Days For The Tomato Seeds To Germinate On The Cotton

Depending on the temperature, the quality of your seeds and the surrounding humidity, your tomato seeds should take 4 to 7 days to germinate on your cotton.

For optimal conditions:

The surrounding temperature should be between 20°C and 25°C. Be careful not to exceed 30°C to avoid that your seeds rot and do not germinate at all!
Concerning the light, it is not necessary for the germination: In any case, when seeds are sown under ground, they germinate without light. On the other hand, if you place them in the darkness, it will be necessary to put them gradually in the light when they will begin to leave their stem.
Normally, if the seeds have been placed in an airtight container, there is no risk that the cotton will dry out. If this is the case, you will have to spray the seeds on the cotton with water. These will not be able to germinate if the cotton is dry, it must remain quite wet.

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This germination is easily observable with the naked eye and quite fascinating! You will see day after day the little stem and the roots develop. They will begin by tearing the envelope of the seed and will leave only a small end, to finally leave completely after a few days.

5 Reproduce The Germinated Seeds In The Cotton In A More Appropriate Substrate

Repiquer les plants de tomate

Transplanting tomato plants
As soon as you have a small stem with a leaf, you will have to transplant your tomato seeds that have germinated on the cotton in a suitable substrate.

In other words, transplanting consists in taking the small stems one by one to put them in individual cups where they will finish their growth.
The substrate used for transplanting is simply special seedling soil. If you do not have any at your disposal, you can still use simple potting soil.

Caution: It is possible that the small seedlings to be transplanted that you have germinated from seeds on cotton are fragile. You will have to be very careful when transplanting to avoid breaking them, and having waited a week for nothing!

Bonus : Another Technique To Germinate Tomato Seeds

Faire germer des graines de tomates dans du terreau

Germinating tomato seeds in potting soil
Germinating tomato seeds on cotton is not the only effective method. It may be fine when you have limited space, time and equipment, but for sowing a large quantity of seeds, other methods are preferable.

To germinate tomato seeds over a large area, it is best to be able to do so directly on a seedbed with seedbedding soil.

This seedbed must be well drained. For that, you can put gravel or sand in the bottom of it so that the water drains better.

Then, you will have to put a layer of compost on this first layer of sand or gravel.

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Finally, you just have to put your seeds on your seedbed. To do this best, you can make small holes in the soil of a few millimeters with a pencil for example and place the seeds in them. Then, cover the hole and that’s it!

The pot will have to be placed in a humid place, and the ideal is that the substrate is at a temperature of more than 20°C. If you have a greenhouse, it is the ideal place for the seeds to germinate at best. There are also heating mats and other utensils which can enable you to join together the conditions necessary to a good germination.

Then, unless you have sown the seeds in individual pots (which takes time and space!), you will also have to transplant your tomatoes as explained in the previous point.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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