Broken tomato plant--can it be saved and is it worth trying?

megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)April 21, 2009

My cat managed to break one of my Beefsteak plants about a half-inch above the soil line. I know it was her and not a pest-- I saw her out chasing the little lizards that hang out in that corner of the garden, and she got careless.

Anyway, I immediately put the broken plant in a glass of water mixed with a spoonful of weak compost tea so it wouldn't keel over until I decide what I ought to do. I have lots of Beefs and other varieties, so it's not a big loss if I can't save this plant, but I'd like to try just for the learning experience. I realize that tomatoes can root anywhere along their hairy stems but how much growing and production loss would this plant sustain, and is it worth the effort? The plant is about 15" tall, very green and pretty, and it is/was setting blossoms.

So-- what would you senior tomato-heads suggest for this junior tomato-head: try to save the plant, or just chalk it up as "one of those things" and move on?

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Pinch off the blossoms...that's what I would do first. You can root the stem in a glass of water, changing the water every few days. Some say honey is a great rooting hormone, so try coating the base of the stem in honey before putting it back in the water.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:14AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Many of us routinely clone tomato plants by rooting suckers and you'll find many discussions here about how to do it with both suckers and broken growing tips. Just search 'rooting cutting'. There is no loss of production.

But the important point is that it should be done in wet potting mix, not water.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:21AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

Either the wet potting mix or just stick it in the ground and water well. I have broken them many times myself and usually just stick it in the ground and they re-root..

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 2:12AM
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Find a sucker growing in between the main stem and a branch..pinch it off and put it in to potting mix and keep it moist..but not wet. It will droop, but will recover.
Bingo. perfect clone.
I had a Olena Ukranian take a hit and so far so good.

Happy Gardening

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:05PM
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yep...what they said.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:15PM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

I broke a Cherokee Green off recently when I was moving milk jugs of tomatoes for a plant sale. I stuck the broke top in the pot next to the rest of the plant. It wilted for a couple of day then perked up and is growing like crazy--just found it has put on tomatoes. I will plant both in a container when my hubby gets back into town with some more potting mix.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 9:15AM
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