How To Save Tomato Seeds: A Comprehensive Guide

  • 5 min read
  • Jul 06, 2023
How To Save Tomato Seeds It's Easier Than You Think You Should Grow
How To Save Tomato Seeds It's Easier Than You Think You Should Grow from

Hello, Ihsanpedia Friends!

Welcome to this informative article where we will explore the art of saving tomato seeds. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting your journey in the world of plants, learning how to save tomato seeds can be a rewarding experience. Not only does it allow you to preserve the unique characteristics of your favorite tomato varieties, but it also gives you the opportunity to save money by growing your own plants from seeds. So let’s dive into the fascinating process of saving tomato seeds and unlock the secrets of successful seed preservation.


Tomatoes are one of the most popular and versatile fruits (yes, they are technically fruits!) in the world. With thousands of different varieties available, each with its own distinct flavor and appearance, it’s no wonder that many gardeners become attached to specific types of tomatoes. By saving their seeds, you can ensure that you will have a continuous supply of your favorite tomatoes year after year.

Before we delve into the details of how to save tomato seeds, let’s first understand the benefits and potential challenges of this process.

The Advantages of Saving Tomato Seeds

1. Cost Savings: Buying new tomato plants or seeds every year can add up. By saving your own tomato seeds, you can significantly reduce the cost of growing tomatoes.

2. Preservation of Unique Traits: Each tomato variety possesses its own set of desirable traits, such as flavor, color, size, and disease resistance. By saving seeds from your favorite varieties, you can preserve and propagate these unique traits.

3. Self-Sufficiency: Saving tomato seeds empowers you to be self-sufficient in your gardening endeavors. You won’t have to rely on seed suppliers or nurseries to acquire the varieties you love.

4. Genetic Diversity: Saving seeds helps to maintain genetic diversity within tomato varieties. This is crucial for the long-term survival and adaptability of the plants.

5. Learning Opportunity: The process of saving tomato seeds allows you to deepen your understanding of plant biology and gain valuable gardening skills.

6. Sharing with Others: Once you have successfully saved tomato seeds, you can share them with fellow gardeners, family, and friends, spreading the joy of growing unique and delicious tomatoes.

7. Environmental Sustainability: By saving seeds, you contribute to the preservation of heirloom and open-pollinated varieties, which are often more resilient and adapted to local conditions, thus promoting environmental sustainability.

The Disadvantages of Saving Tomato Seeds

1. Cross-Pollination: Tomatoes are prone to cross-pollination, which can result in hybridization and loss of desired traits. To avoid this, isolation techniques or growing only one variety at a time are necessary.

2. Time and Patience: Saving tomato seeds is a process that requires time and patience. It involves several steps and takes months before you can plant the saved seeds.

3. Disease Transmission: Tomato seeds can carry certain diseases, especially if the parent plants were infected. Proper sanitation practices are crucial to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

4. Variability in Offspring: Although saving seeds preserves the general characteristics of a variety, there may still be some variation in the offspring due to natural genetic diversity.

5. Storage Requirements: Tomato seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place to maintain their viability. Improper storage conditions can reduce germination rates.

6. Limited Shelf Life: Tomato seeds have a limited shelf life, typically ranging from three to five years. It’s important to regularly evaluate the viability of stored seeds and replace them if necessary.

7. Learning Curve: Saving tomato seeds successfully requires knowledge and experience. It may take a few attempts before you master the process.

Table: Steps for Saving Tomato Seeds

Step Description
1 Selecting the Tomato
2 Harvesting Ripe Tomatoes
3 Extracting the Seeds
4 Fermenting the Seeds
5 Washing and Drying the Seeds
6 Storing the Seeds
7 Testing Seed Viability

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I save seeds from any tomato variety?

Yes, you can save seeds from any tomato variety, but it’s best to start with open-pollinated or heirloom varieties for better results.

2. How long do tomato seeds remain viable?

Under proper storage conditions, tomato seeds can remain viable for around three to five years.

3. Do I need to ferment all tomato seeds?

No, not all tomato seeds require fermentation. Fermentation is necessary for removing the gel-like substance surrounding the seeds in certain varieties.

4. Can I store tomato seeds in the refrigerator?

Storing tomato seeds in the refrigerator is not recommended as it can introduce moisture, potentially reducing seed viability.

5. How do I know if tomato seeds are dry enough for storage?

Tomato seeds should be completely dry before storage. They should feel hard and break easily when pressure is applied.

6. Can I save seeds from hybrid tomatoes?

Saving seeds from hybrid tomatoes is possible, but the offspring may not resemble the parent plant. It’s best to save seeds from open-pollinated varieties for consistent results.

7. Are saved tomato seeds genetically identical to the parent plant?

No, saved tomato seeds may exhibit some variation due to natural genetic diversity. However, they will generally retain the characteristics of the parent variety.


Now that you have learned the art of saving tomato seeds, it’s time to put your knowledge into action. Start by selecting your favorite tomato variety, follow the step-by-step process we discussed, and enjoy the rewards of growing your own tomatoes from saved seeds. Remember, saving tomato seeds not only saves you money but also allows you to preserve the unique traits of your beloved varieties and contribute to the wider world of gardening. So grab those ripe tomatoes, extract the seeds, and embark on an exciting journey of seed saving!

Happy gardening and may your tomato harvest be bountiful!

Q&A: Saving Tomato Seeds

Q: Can I save seeds from store-bought tomatoes?

A: In most cases, store-bought tomatoes are not suitable for seed saving. They are often hybrid varieties, and their seeds may not produce plants with consistent traits. It’s best to save seeds from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties.

Q: How many tomato plants should I grow to ensure genetic diversity?

A: It is recommended to grow at least six to eight tomato plants of the same variety to maintain genetic diversity and reduce the risk of inbreeding depression.

Q: Can I save seeds from cherry tomatoes?

A: Yes, you can save seeds from cherry tomatoes just like any other tomato variety. The process remains the same.

Q: When is the best time to harvest tomatoes for seed saving?

A: The best time to harvest tomatoes for seed saving is when they are fully ripe. This ensures that the seeds inside are mature and viable.

Q: Can I save seeds from diseased tomatoes?

A: It is not recommended to save seeds from diseased tomatoes as the seeds can carry the pathogens. It’s best to select healthy, disease-free fruits for seed saving.

Q: How often should I test the viability of my stored tomato seeds?

A: It is advisable to test the viability of stored tomato seeds every one to two years. This way, you can ensure that you are using seeds with high germination rates.

Q: Can I save seeds from green tomatoes?

A: It is possible to save seeds from green tomatoes, but they will need to be fully ripened and matured before extracting the seeds.

Q: Can I save seeds from heirloom tomatoes?

A: Yes, saving seeds from heirloom tomatoes is highly recommended. Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated and offer a wide range of unique flavors and characteristics.

Q: Do I need to remove the seeds from the gel-like substance?

A: For most tomato varieties, it is necessary to remove the gel-like substance through fermentation. This helps prevent seed-borne diseases and improves seed

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