How to Start Tomato Seeds in Paper Towels


Starting plants indoors affords gardeners the time to get the plants established before putting them outside where they are exposed to the elements. This is useful in regions where the growing seasons are short, such as northern Nevada or other cooler climates. Starting, or germinating, tomato seeds in paper towels forces the plants to sprout easily without the need for starter pots or extra potting soil.

Step 1

Hold the paper towel under a running faucet to completely saturate it. Wring the towel out by clenching it in your fist tightly to squeeze out excess water.

Step 2

Spread the paper towel out on a flat surface.

Step 3

Place the tomato seeds in the center of the damp paper towel.

Step 4

Fold the top, bottom and sides of the paper towel around the seeds snugly.

Step 5

Drop the folded paper towel into the glass jar and secure the lid tightly.

Step 6

Place the jar in a dark, dry place.

Step 7

Check the seeds in the paper towel after five days. If necessary, add approximately 3 tbsp. of water to the jar and close it again.

Step 8

Remove the sprouted seeds after they have been in the jar for seven days. If the seeds have not sprouted by then, start again with fresher seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar with lid


  • Washington State University: Seed Germination
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Sprouting Seeds for Food
Keywords: tomato seeds, germinating seeds, tomato plant care

About this Author

Chelsea Hoffman is a professional freelance writer with works published both on the Web and in print. She currently resides in Las Vegas. The author of the new series of horror novellas, titled "Fear Chronicles," Hoffman's work can also be found on environmental websites like, where she helps spread environmental awareness with her mighty pen.