How to Plant Mature Tomato Plants


The distinctly different taste between a home-grown tomato and one purchased at the grocery store is reason enough to want to grow them. Tomatoes are usually sold as starter plants at the nursery, but sometimes you will find a less expensive, more mature plant on sale. Or, perhaps you need to relocate a plant to a different part of the garden. Planting a mature tomato plant is very much like planting a seedling.

Step 1

Choose a site in your garden that gets at least six hours of sun a day.

Step 2

Remove any yellow leaves from the lower part of the tomato plant.

Step 3

Fill a shallow tub or bucket, large enough to hold the tomato plant's pot, with a solution of fish emulsion, diluted to half strength, and water. Place the pot in the solution and allow it to soak for one hour, while you prepare the planting bed.

Step 4

Dig the planting area to a depth of 6 inches. Turn the soil over as you dig and crush any large clumps of dirt. Remove any old roots that appear and any rocks or other debris.

Step 5

Add a 3-inch layer of compost to the soil and mix it in well with the gardening fork.

Step 6

Dig a hole in the planting bed the same width and 1 1/2 times the depth as the pot in which the tomato plant is sitting.

Step 7

Remove the plant from the fish emulsion solution, tip the planter on its side and gently remove the tomato plant from the pot.

Step 8

Place the tomato plant into the prepared hole and backfill with soil, tamping down gently to remove any air pockets.

Step 9

Water the soil around the plant until the water puddles and keep the soil moist to prevent the plant from going into shock.

Step 10

Stake the tomato plant, if desired, by driving the stake one foot into the soil, 3 to 5 inches away from the tomato plant. As the plant gets larger, tie a piece of soft cloth around it and tie it to the stake.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow tub or bucket
  • Fish emulsion
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Gardening fork
  • Compost
  • Tomato plant stakes


  • National Gardening Association: Transplanting Tomatoes
Keywords: how to plant mature tomato plants, how to transplant tomato plants, growing tomatoes, transplanting tomatoes

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.