How long do tomato seeds take to germinate? (3 variables)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How long do tomato seeds take to germinate?’. We will look at ways to care for tomato seeds and the factors that ensure that tomato seeds germinate quickly.

How long do tomato seeds take to germinate?

The time tomato seeds take to germinate is anywhere from 5-11 days. 

The first sign that germination has started is the appearance of leaves. The tomato seed splits open and a root forms, followed by a stem, and finally leaves. 

What is germination?

To ensure that your germination succeeds, we need to discuss some fundamental aspects of it. 

The seed has three-part; embryo, endosperm, and seed coat. 

A seed is like a plant fetus that can not make its food. There is food stored because of its inability to carry out photosynthesis. 

The foods are present in the forms of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. 

As the seeds get access to water and warmness, the enzymes are activated. The metabolism process is encouraged in the presence of enzymes.

The seed is an embryo. Initially, the tomato seeds are in a dormant state that needs to be activated before growing. A hormone called abscisic acid keeps the tomato seeds in a dormant state. The germination process is the earlier stage of plant development, where dormancy converts to an activated condition.

The seed coat is the tough exterior that protects the contents of the seed. 

What are the factors that influence the germination process?

The two main varying factors that impact the seedling formation are the age and the variety of the tomato seed.

Tomato germination requires soil temperatures, humidity, and air circulation to be within control to ensure success.


An old seed will take a longer time to germinate. The age of the tomato seeds contributes to optimal growth. Tomato seeds last three years; with each passing year, their ability to germinate declines.


Another significant factor is the temperature. A moderate temperature of 70-80 Fahrenheits is optimal for seed germination. Temperatures that are outside the given range will impede the germination process.

The soil you grow the tomato seeds in should have an optimal temperature that lies between 65- 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The further the temperature lies away from the given range, the slower the germination process. 

You can use tomato seeds straight from the plant. They do not need to be aged or dried for them to grow.


Humidity is also an essential contributing factor. Soil that is dried out will make the seeds die and dormant. 

Soil that is too wet is also harmful to the seeds. Damping-off can occur, which causes the formation of molds and fungus. Tomato seed exposed to high humid conditions is at a higher risk of damping-off.

Adequate air circulation is one of the keys for the normal seed germination process to occur. If the soil is excessively wet, it can prevent sufficient oxygen from reaching the seeds. The soil must not be compact; loosely-packed soil allows air to enter and let the tomato seed breathe.  

You have two options when it comes to deciding the location of the tomato germination process.

You can either plant the seeds outside if the conditions seem ideal. Otherwise, you could start the tomato germination indoors and relocate them outside; after a few weeks.

After the seed plantation, they will take a week to germinate. The average tomato plant will take anywhere from 5-8 weeks. According to this, you can begin the cultivation process two months before you transplant it.

The big Zac Tomato will take 7-14 days to germinate. The huge tomatoes originate from South America. They possess a low probability for germination to occur as compared to other varieties. You need to provide the optimal humidity, temperature, light to germinate and sprout the leaves successfully.

Most tomato seeds will show vigorous and healthy growth under the right conditions. All you need is patience, care, and devotion.

Other FAQs about Tomatoes which you may be interested in.

How do you core a tomato?

What is the seed viability of tomatoes?

The shelf-life of tomato seeds is longer than most other plant seeds. However, the seeds remain viable for 3-4 years; if stored in a cool and dry place.

A good germination result is obtained only in properly-stored seeds. The seeds need to be dried, sealed, and stored in a refrigerator. Your tomato seeds will germinate quickly and smoothly if stored at less than 65 Fahrenheits. 

Also, use fresh seeds, as seeds stored for long have a low supply of food to their endosperm. The old seeds will take a long time to germinate and, the plant will not be as healthy.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How long do tomato seeds take to germinate?’. We looked at ways to care for tomato seeds and the factors that ensure that tomato seeds germinate quickly.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.