How to Save Tomato Seeds to Plant


Tomato seed collection and storage can reduce the cost of planting tomatoes in subsequent years, and it provides you the opportunity to reproduce your favorite tomato plants. Tomatoes from hybrid plant varieties may contain sterile seeds, and their viable seeds will produce unpredictable plant characteristics, so it's usually best to save tomato seeds from heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. Suitable tomato varieties include Brandywine, Green Zebra, San Marzano and Big Rainbow. Save your tomato seeds for up to five years.

Step 1

Select a ripe, unblemished tomato for its seeds. Choose from a healthy plant with favorable characteristics if picking your tomato directly from the plant.

Step 2

Slice the tomato in half or in quarters, and scoop the gelatinous seed filling into a small glass container.

Step 3

Add approximately 1 tsp. of water to the container--more if the juice and water is not enough to cover the seeds.

Step 4

Stir the seed mixture twice daily for three to five days. Fermentation will separate the tomato seeds from their gelatinous coating, and the top layer of the mixture may grow mold during this process.

Step 5

Remove the layer of mold and residue from the container after fermentation completes; the tomato seeds will be resting at the bottom of the container.

Step 6

Rinse the seeds with water, and set them in a single layer on paper towels. Allow them to dry thoroughly before storage; a few days at room temperature is generally sufficient.

Step 7

Pour the seeds into an envelope labeled with the date and plant variety, and store them in the refrigerator or a dry, cool area.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Water
  • Small glass container
  • Spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Envelope


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Saving Vegetable Seeds
  • Oregon State University: Extension Service Garden Hints
  • West Virginia University: Seed Saving Tips

Who Can Help

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Tomatoes
Keywords: save tomato seeds, heirloom tomatoes, planting tomatoes, tomato plants, tomato seed storage

About this Author

Krissi Maarx is a freelance writer who has written web content since 2006. She is an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, with studies focusing on holistic healing, mental health care and medicinal botany. As a pet groomer, too, Maarx writes many dog-related articles for print and the web.