How to Transplant a Wilting Tomato Plant


Tomatoes do best in a sunny location where the soil has been amended to make it nutrient-rich. Wilting tomato plants may be diseased or suffering from the shock of planting. It's most likely that these plants are not planted in the right conditions. These plants will more than likely benefit from being replanted in a better location where the soil is healthier. Choose a new sunny location and amend the soil where your plant will be moved. Plants will perk up and thrive in their new environment.

Step 1

Till the new garden area using a rake or rototiller. Dig the tines of the rake or rototiller into the soil until the soil is loose, working to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.

Step 2

Remove all rocks and weeds from the soil and place in a garbage bag.

Step 3

Perform a soil test, available at garden centers, to test pH. Take samples from four different areas of the garden, mix together and test.

Step 4

Add lime to the soil if pH is too low or sulfur if the pH is too high. Add lime or sulfur until the desired pH level is met.

Step 5

Empty bags of compost or manure into a wheelbarrow.

Step 6

Shovel a 3-inch layer of one of these amendments on top of the soil.

Step 7

Re-till the area to incorporate the soil amendments, working in rows until the garden area is completely tilled.

Step 8

Drag a rake back and forth over the soil to smooth the soil level.

Step 9

Water the garden area until it appears well saturated.

Step 10

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots and base of the tomato plant.

Step 11

Remove, with a shovel, the soil around the outside perimeter of the tomato plant. Work in a circle 2 inches away from the plant and shoveling to a depth of 8 inches or until the plant starts to release from the soil.

Step 12

Remove the plant from the soil by its base when it starts to separate from the soil.

Step 13

Place the plant, roots first, into the new hole. Pack the soil lightly around the base of the plant, making sure to completely bury the root ball.

Step 14

Water the soil around the plant until it is completely saturated. Water the plant whenever the soil is warm and dry to the touch.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Rototiller
  • Lime
  • Sulfur
  • Compost or manure
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow


  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Tilling Your Soil 'Till It's Workable
  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Planting the Vegetable Garden
Keywords: wilting plant, transplanting plants, tomato plants

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.