Tomato Seeds Sprouting Inside Tomato | Why and How to Prevent

About 93 % of American gardeners grow tomatoes in their backyard, and it is the 4th most popular vegetable in US. So, literally you don’t have kitchen without tomato.

But, what happens when you forget to use it for weeks?

They overripe and few tomato varieties, start sprouting from inside.

It can be freaky to look green sprouts popping out of your red tomatoes. But, this isn’t strange.

Why Tomato Seeds Sprouting inside Tomatoes?

Tomato seeds germinate when you provide favorable condition to them. Over-ripe tomatoes kept in warm kitchen and cold temperature inside the fruit, helps seeds to start sprouting.

Apart from this, absence of a hormone called abscisic acid that is responsible for seed dormancy leads to sprouting. In over-ripe tomatoes, this hormone reduces gradually and thus seeds naturally grow into seedlings.

Seed dormancy refers to holding or stopping of tomato seeds from sprouting. Throughout frost and winter this dormant holds seeds from germinating. But, as the spring arrives, warm weather and lack of abscisic acid allow seeds to break dormancy.

This process of seeds developing into a plant even when it is attached to it’s parent has a name, known as “Vivipary”. It’s a Latin name which mean “live birth”.

Below mentioned are the reasons why the hormone abscisic acid is gradually decreasing.

  • As mentioned above, over-ripening is one of the reasons that results in germinating of seeds inside tomatoes.
  • Temperature: When your tomatoes are repeatedly exposed to below 55 F of temperature.
  • Fertilizer deficiency like potassium and too much nitrogen can result in seed germination inside tomatoes.

So, it’s recommended to store your tomatoes in such a way that they ripe properly with excellent aroma and flavor.

Is it Safe to Eat Tomatoes with Sprouted Seeds?

According to NC State University, it’s really safe to eat tomatoes with sprouted seeds.

However, you may not enjoy the flavor.

To avoid over-ripping of tomatoes, you must take utmost care. Read on this article to find how to extend your tomato crop harvest.

Should you throw tomatoes that are sprouted?

No, you can replant them and enjoy your next harvest.

Also Read: How Long After Flowering Do Tomatoes Appear?

Can I Plant a Vivipary Tomato?

Vivipary is the term used when the seeds start germinating even before getting separated from parent.

Seed sprouting is naturally process, given the favorable weather conditions.

My first tomato harvest was from vivipary tomato. But, I never planted them.

Like everyone I threw overripe tomatoes, because they were not suitable for my dish. However, instead of throwing in dust bin I dropped them in my new raised gardening bed.

After that I noticed small tomato seedlings started appearing.

I did no extra work and they started giving me 5-10 tomatoes. This is lot for me, because it was my first tomato harvest.

Now, I don’t throw them. Instead I save them for my crop.

Also Read: How to Keep Birds Away from Tomatoes?

How to Plant/Grow Vivipary Tomato?


When you find white worm like substances in tomato after slicing it, don’t freak. They are sprouted seeds.

In some cases, these sprouted seeds break the red skin of tomato and popup from it.

So, how to grow them into a plant?

  • Gardening experts recommend sowing these germinating seeds in a small container filled with potting soil.
  • Place this container on the window sill and regularly water them when needed.
  • When the weather is favorable to seedlings to grow, you can replant them into a larger container or directly plant them in your backyard.
  • Though tomatoes love warmer climates, they can survive cold snaps.

You can check ideal temperature for growing tomatoes in this article.

Till the last frost you must save your tomato plant indoors. After that you can shift them to outdoors.

Also Read: How to Increase Tomato Fruit Size?

Is it Normal for Tomato Seeds to Sprout Inside the Tomato?

Sprouting inside tomato is naturally and is triggered due to lack of hormone the dormant seed germination, which is already discussed above.

If you think store bought tomato is GMO food and that it why it is sprouting seeds from inside, then you’re wrong.

GMO (genetically modified organisms) fruit seeds don’t be able to sprout. So, if its spouting then it not GMO.

Also Read: How Many Tomato Seeds per Hole?

How to Avoid Seed Sprouting Inside Tomato?

Vivipary isn’t common is all tomato varieties, it is confined to only few varieties among them.

If you take certain precautions you can easily prevent your tomato seeds from sprouting inside tomato.

  • Opt for fresh tomatoes. If you’re buying it from local grocery store, make sure they are farm fresh. Else, you can visit nearby farmers who grow vegetables hydroponically or organically to get required amount of tomatoes.
  • If you’re a gardener, then harvest your home grown tomatoes on time and don’t stack them in papers bags. Allow them to ripe naturally in room temperature. This process will bring natural delicious flavor to tomatoes and increase the store time.
  • Tomatoes are packed with abundant nutrients that are essential for healthy lifestyle. According to reports intake of tomatoes in the form of sauce increase by 30 % in America alone. So, use tomatoes before over-ripping or get rotten.
  • Don’t refrigerate your tomatoes. According to 2016 US study, keeping your tomatoes for a week in refrigerator will reduce the genes activity that helps to get sweeter taste. So, refrigerating will ruin the flavor.
  • Avoid tomatoes getting exposed to sunlight, as warmer climates help them to sprout.

Complete preventing isn’t possible, till you completely know how tomato seeds germinate and what it needs to grow into a seedling.

Temperature is most essential aspect for germination of tomato seeds.

If you check this chart from University of California Cooperative Extension, optimal temperature for seed germination is between 65°F to 85°F. It takes like 6 to 8 days to germinate in this temperature range.

Store brought tomatoes are preserved at 58°F to keep them look fresh. But, this tricks seeds to think that they have completed dormancy cycle and your house which is slight warmer will be spring for them. Thus, they (seeds) assume it’s time to sprout.

Moisture is second thing that is essential for tomato seed germination.

Seed germination needs only some moisture and without soil they start germination. With warm temperature and lots of moisture inside tomatoes, seeds start germinating.


I hope you got to know why tomato seeds sprouting inside tomatoes.

This isn’t strange, it’s normal.

And to be brief, the reason behind it is gradual decrease of a hormone that dormant seed to prevent germination.

Apart from this, temperature and over-ripening leads to seed germination inside tomato. Did you ever find your tomatoes with sprouts coming out? Please share with us in comments.

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