How to Wrap Tomato Plants

Overview

Wrapping tomato plants is a technique that's used to protect seedlings from the elements after they're planted. This method allows the seedlings to develop easily and can promote early flowering. Though garden centers do usually sell wrapped tomato protection devices, it's simple to make a homemade tomato plant wrapper with a standard cage and some plastic wrap. Adding a layer of black plastic mulch to the mix is also a good idea, particularly if you live in a cooler climate.

Step 1

Slide a tomato cage over the tomato seedling, centering the plant in the cage. Push down firmly on the tomato cage until all of the prongs on the bottom sink completely into the ground.

Step 2

Pour a layer of black plastic mulch into the tomato cage, heaping a 1- to 2-inch layer around the base of the seedling. The black plastic mulch holds in heat and keeps the plant's roots warm.

Step 3

Pull the end of the plastic wrap free from the roll. Starting at the bottom of the tomato cage, wrap the cage tightly in several layers of plastic wrap. Cut off the plastic wrap.

Step 4

Move up so the bottom of the next layer lines up with the top of the first, and repeat. When wrapping tomato plants, it's best to cover at least the lower 18 to 24 inches of the cage to fully protect the seedling. The top should remain open.

Step 5

Fasten the loose ends of the plastic wrap with strips of packing tape.

Step 6

Leave the plastic wrap in place until the first flower cluster forms on the tomato plant. Then, cut away the plastic with scissors and remove the black plastic mulch. The tomato plant protection is no longer needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato cages
  • Black plastic mulch
  • Plastic wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors

References

  • Mississippi State University
  • "Jeff Cox's 100 Greatest Garden Ideas;" Jeff Cox; 1998
Keywords: wrapping tomato plants, protect tomato seedlings, tomato plant protection

About this Author

Katie Leigh is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. A Loyola University New Orleans graduate with a Bachelor's degree in communications, Leigh has worked as a copy editor, page designer and reporter for several daily newspapers and specialty publications since 2005.