Starting Tomato Cuttings: Rooting Tomato Cuttings In Water Or Soil
Many of us have started new houseplants from cuttings and maybe even shrubs or perennials for the garden, but did you know that many vegetables can be started in this manner too? Tomato propagation by cuttings is a perfect example and very easy to do. Read on to find out how to root tomato cuttings in water or directly in the soil.
How to Root Tomato Cuttings
If you admire a neighbor’s lush tomato plant, starting tomato plants from cuttings is an excellent way to clone their plant and, hopefully, get the same vigorous result; just be polite and ask first before you snip from their prized plant. Rooting tomato cuttings is cost saving as well. You can purchase a couple of plants and then root additional ones from the cuttings.
The advantage of starting tomato cuttings in this manner is that it can take seedlings, from seed, six to eight weeks before they are of transplant size. Provided you keep tomato cuttings warm, the transplanting time is reduced to just 10-14 days! It’s also a great way of overwintering tomato cuttings.
Currently, I am starting two houseplants from cuttings, simply in glass bottles. This is very easy and rooting tomato cuttings in water is just as simple. Tomato cuttings are amazingly fast and easy root growers. To begin, look for some of the sucker shoots on the chosen tomato plant that don’t have buds on them. With sharp pruners, cut about 6-8 inches (15-10 cm.) of the sucker or new growth at the tip of the branch. Then, you can simply immerse the tomato cutting in water or plant it directly into some soil medium. In water, the cutting should root within about a week and will be ready to transplant.
Roots will be stronger, however, if the cutting is allowed to root in soil. Also, rooting directly into soil medium skips the “middle man.” Since you are eventually going to transplant the cuttings to soil, you might as well start propagation there.
If you choose this route, it is also extremely easy. Take your 6- to 8-inch (15-10 cm.) cutting and clip off any flowers or buds, if any. Snip off the bottom leaves, leaving only two leaves on the cutting. Put the cutting in water while you prepare the soil. You can root in peat pots, 4-inch (10 cm.) containers filled with damp potting soil or vermiculite, or even directly into the garden. Make a hole with a dowel or pencil for the cutting to slip easily into and bury it up to where you cut off the lower leaves.
Put the cuttings in a warm, but shaded area either indoors or out. Just be sure it isn’t scorching hot and the plants are protected from sun. Keep them moist in this area for a week to acclimate and then gradually expose them to stronger light until they are finally in the sun for most of the day. At this point, if they are in containers, you can transplant them into their permanent large pot or garden plot.
Tomatoes are actually perennials and can live for years in warm climates. However, they do not produce fruit in their successive years nearly as well as the first. This is where overwintering tomato cuttings for spring clones come into play. This idea is especially useful in areas of the southern United States. Just follow the above instructions up to transplanting the cuttings into a larger pot and keep in a warm, sunny room to overwinter until the spring.
Voila! Tomato propagation couldn’t be easier. Just remember to take cuttings from plants that have the best yields and tastiest fruit, as the cuttings will be a virtual clone of the parent and, thus, retain all its characteristics.
How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings
Did you know that a new tomato plant can be grown from just a snip off of a mature tomato plant? The cells within the stems of tomato plants are capable of developing roots. Amazing, right?
This is exciting news for you tomato lovers out there who have wished you could make one particular plant produce even more. This is also good news for the frugal gardeners who would like to purchase one plant and enjoy a double harvest in the same season. While starting a new tomato plant from seed can take a month or more, a new start from a cutting can be ready to transplant to the garden in 14 days.
To start a new plant, begin in early summer. May or June is the best time to begin so that your plant will have plenty of time to grow, mature, and produce before the end of the growing season. So, find a handy mature tomato plant. Snip a 6 inch piece of stem from the growing side shoots of the plant. Pinch off any buds or flowers, and remove the leaves from the length of the stem with the exception of the two upper most leaves.
Image link https://pixabay.com/en/tomato-plants-leaves-plant-334393/
Starting Tomatoes in Soil from Cuttings
Fill a small 4 inch pot with potting soil or compost, and stick your finger down into the middle of the soil to make a hole. Tuck your stem into the hole, and bury the portion of the stem where you removed the lowest set of leaves. Moisten the soil in your pot, and place it in a bright windowsill away from direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist, and leave your cutting in the windowsill for a week.
Gradually expose your developing plant to direct light during the second week. Increase your plant’s exposure to light each day. By the end of the second week, your plant should be sitting in the sun for most of the day. Your plant should be ready to transplant into your garden where it will continue to mature. You can expect a harvest from your new plant several weeks after the mother plant has produced its fruit for the season.
Rooting Tomatoes from Cuttings
A second method for propagation of a tomato plant from a cutting is to simply place your cut stem into a jar or vase of water. Set your jar on a sunny windowsill, and replenish the water every day. You will be able to observe the growing roots daily, and this cutting will be ready for planting in soil outdoors after three or four weeks. While this method for propagation takes a little longer, you will enjoy tomatoes into September if you can protect your plants from an early freeze.
Growing Tomatoes from Cuttings in the Winter
Winter propagating methods for growing tomato plants should be considered for tomato lovers that know store bought tomatoes do not compare to homegrown. If you’d really rather have a garden fresh tomato option through winter, consider this. If you can provide the proper amount of light to your tomato plants indoors, you can grow some types year round.
While it isn’t an easy gardening feat, it can be done. The critical factor is to provide as much light as possible. Choose the largest, south-facing window in your home. A sunroom or a floor to ceiling picture window are perfect.
Take a cutting from one of your favorite plants in your garden. Propagate your cutting on your windowsill until it is ready to be moved outdoors in a small pot. Keep the small pot outside until the first frost requires you to move your plant indoors for the season. When your new plant has grown large enough, transplant it into a container that is at least 5 gallons in size to accommodate the mature size of your growing plant. Plan ahead for a method to provide support for your plant as it matures.
Once your tomato plant is indoors for the winter, water it regularly, and fertilize it often. You can aid in pollinating your indoor tomato plant by giving it a gentle shake when you water it which will encourage it to produce. Also, consider tomato plant pests before you decide to grow a tomato plant indoors. If your houseplants have often fallen prey to spider mites or other insect pests, your tomato plant will probably be very susceptible to infestations, and it may not be worth the effort.
If you do find success with an indoor tomato plant, you will be rewarded with tasty, homegrown tomatoes any time of year. Just think of how special that fresh tomato will taste in January! You will also be able to continue to propagate new tomato plants for next spring with cuttings from your healthy indoor plants.
Want to learn more about growing tomatoes from cuttings?
Check out these resources:
Winter Tomatoes from Mother Earth News
Rooting tomato suckers can provide great mid-season replacement plants, extend harvest from University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Step By Step How To Root Tomato Plant From Cuttings
- When you prune tomato plants mean plucking off these suckers that grow between branches, save these cuttings that about four inches long to make them root in a week.
- Put a quarter cup of water on the glass.
- Put the tomato plant cuttings on the water.
- Keep the glass in a warm place, like a countertop or windowsill.
- Add more water if it evaporated.
- Tomato plant cuttings will have roots within a week.
Once it has roots, you can replant them to the container with growing medium, or plant it straight to their final spot in the garden if you still have growing season.
If you want to keep it indoor, repot the rooted cuttings in at least one-gallon container per plant.
If you are going to replant it in the garden, wait until the day cooler like early evening or an overcast day to reduce the plant shock.
Plant it like the usual way you do with a tomato plant. Add the best fertilizer for tomatoes into the planting hole. Keep the soil moist for the first few weeks.
These root form within a week. It sure does faster than growing tomatoes from seed.
The plant will have fruit about the same time as the mother plant because basically, this is mature plants from the tomato sucker you just pruned a few weeks before.
How To Root Tomato Plants from Cuttings
It’s actually pretty easy to do. Tomato plants will root fairly easily from the stem. If you’ve ever seen a plant that has toppled over, you might have noticed roots starting to form at the places where it touched the soil.
Making Tomato Cuttings
Generally cuttings should be about six inches long, with the leaves removed from the bottom 2-3 inches. I took my cuttings from the tops of the plant as well as from some suckers that were growing further down the plant. (Suckers are the shoots that grow at the intersection of the main stem and a branch.)
Be sure to remove any tomatoes or flowers from the cutting. This gives the cutting a better chance to produce roots as the energy of the plant isn’t going into reproductive parts.
Potting Your Cuttings
Fill a small pot (4-6 inches) with potting soil and moisten it thoroughly. Gently stick your cutting in the middle of the pot and press the soil around it firmly.
I kept my pots in a container with a little bit of water in the bottom of it for the first two days. This allowed the soil to soak up the water from below and remain moist. After the second day, I drained the water, but kept the cuttings in the container for ease of transport.
Tomato cuttings rooted in a cup of water
I also put some cuttings directly in water for the first week. They developed roots and then I planted them in soil. I don’t see much difference in this method.
Adjusting to Full Sun
Keep your tomatoes in a shady place for the first week, then, if they are developing roots, gradually ease them in to the light until at last they are in full sun. Do this slowly, making sure not to burn the plants. This could take as long as a week or week and a half. You can gently tug on your tomato cuttings to see if they are developing roots. If they resist a bit, there are some roots there.
After your plants have adjusted to the light conditions, transplant them into larger pots and place a tomato cage or other support around the plant.
Taking cuttings from Tomato plants
Early this summer, I was having great success with a couple of tomato plants. I planted them as seedlings early in the spring, and about a month later they were at least 4 feet tall and producing small cherry tomatoes every day. I’ve had at least 600 cherry tomatoes from the two plants and they are still producing.
One day in June I got the idea to try and see if stem cuttings would make new tomato plants. I snipped off about 6 growing tips, dipped the end in rooting powder and used perlite as a rooting medium. It took about two weeks and all of them had rooted. I transferred them to larger pots, hardened them off in the shade of a crepe myrtle tree and then planted them in my garden in July.
The two plants are about 4 feet tall. Not producing yet, but they are very healthy and flower buds are starting to form.
The original plants were supposed to be hybrid indeterminate regular sized tomato plants. They were planted in a shady spot, and all I got were cherry tomatoes from them. I don’t know if this is because the plant was mis-labled or because of the lower light that the plants received. See the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes here.
It will be interesting to see what I get for fruit later this month. I’ll update the page when they start producing.
Update on the plant cuttings. I got dozens and dozens of baby tomatoes from these two cuttings. Because I planted them later in the season, they produced much later than my other plants. I expect to have them until the frost hits.
Have you had any experience with stem cuttings of vegetables? Was it a success or not? I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below.
How do you propagate tomatoes from cuttings?
Propagation by seed takes 6 to 8 weeks but cuttings are ready for the garden in about 2 weeks. If you examine the stem on a tomato plant, you will notice tiny bumps that protrude all along the stem. When these bumps come into contact with soil, they grow into roots for the plant.
Likewise, how do you root a plant from a cutting? Grow New Plants From Cuttings
- Remove only healthy, nonflowering stems.
- Sprinkle rooting hormone powder on a saucer.
- Fill a small pot with soilless potting mix that's been moistened.
- Carefully insert the cutting about 1 inch into the planting hole avoid knocking off the rooting powder.
Also question is, can you grow cherry tomatoes from cuttings?
Growing tomatoes from a tomato slice is a really easy project, and the mystery of what may or may not come from it is part of the fun. You can use romas, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes when planting tomato slices. To begin, fill a pot or container with potting soil, almost to the top of the container.
How do you get clones to root in 5 days?
Making clones in water
- Use water with pH 5.8.
- Cover top of the cup.
- Cut a small hole in the cover.
- Dip clone in rooting gel.
- Put it into the water.
- Clones will root in 5-10 days.