How to make your tomato plant stay dwarf ?

seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)May 13, 2013

I am entertaining this idea to make a real big tomato variety, like Brandtwine, to staw dwarf . Is this possible and how ? I have heard how they make Bonsai trees. Can it be done with tomatoes ?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Not if you want any tomatoes and why grow a tomato plant if not for the tomatoes? If you want a dwarf plant then grow one of the dwarf varieties.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:10PM
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jimm_sc

In a word - no. If you want a large tomato on a small plant, chose one of the existing dwarves. Bonsai works on woody trees and shrubs, not tender perennials.
Jim

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:20PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thank you Dave, Jimm

The reason I am thinking about it is:

I want this specific tomato .
I don't want a ton of it :
I don't want great big foliage.
I want fruit.

I wonder how did they come up with bush and window box varieties!!

Here is what I am thinking about:
--on the one hand limit the growth of root system.
-- along with that prune . Especially pinch off the tip of main as well as branches. So I have just enough foliage to take care of a few fruits at a time.

I already have a lot of tomato plants. So quantity and production does not matter to me in this case.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:02PM
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kathyb912_IN(5a/5b)

You can't take a full size plant and will it into being a dwarf. It doesn't work that way. Breeders create dwarfs -- or window box or bush or other varieties -- by cross pollinating different varieties that have the characteristics they want until they create what they are looking for. This can take just a few generations if they luck (or skill) into what they want right away, or it can be a long, many-generation process.

Check out the book "Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties" by Carol Deppe to get a crash course in plant genetics and how to make your own crosses. It's fascinating stuff. My local library had it; yours might, too.

Also, look into what's already available through the Dwarf Tomato Project. Maybe they've created something similar to what you want.

Here is a link that might be useful: Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:02AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks Kathy

I am not trying to create a new plant with differen new genetics.
I am just talking about growing an "training" it such a way that it is dwarf.

I think I can train it to be dwarf but the question is : Will it bear a limited amount of fruits?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:50AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

First, you're in GA and Brandywine does not always set fruits well in the south.

Second, Brandywine is an indeterminate variety and you can't trim it here and there to convert it to a determinate variety which is shorter. Going from indet to det can only be done via a spontaneous mutation and I know of only one variety where that has happened.

A determinate variety is NOT the same as a true Dwarf.

Lastly, I and many others do not consider Brandywine to be the gold standard for taste. Yes, for many, including myself, it does have a unique taste, but for me there are other varieties that also have a unique taste.

Below I've linked to Tania's superb site, and when there scroll down to where it says What's NEW and below that click on the link that says Updates of Dwarf Project varieties and there you'll find all the seed vendors who sell seeds for the Dwarfs as well as a listing for each one that's clickable and will tell you more about each one.Tania herself sells seeds for all of the released ones and notes what other seed vendors sell as well.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Dwarf Releases

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:47AM
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mambooman(5b/6a)

I guess I don't get what you are really after. To get good fruit you need good foliage (but certainly not an overkill of foliage) and good root systems.

I am growing Brandywine (Pink) this year for the first time and I heard it isnt a very prolific producer anyway. So, I couldn't imagine trying to make it stay small and limit its production even more.

I suppose you put it in a pot and keep cutting it back but I really don't see the purpose in it. If you keep removing the growing stems, it won't bloom and thus no fruit. Blooms come from new growth...if you keep stopping that...then yes, you will have very limited fruit (like 0)...I don't think you can keep it to say 1 ft tall consistently and expect to get fruit. I just dont think that will work.

I agree with the others. The reason to grow a tomato plant is for tomatoes....as many as can be had. I built a custom trellis with an arch to give my tomatoes up to 14 feet of growth room (probably not close this year...but that is my goal for the coming years). So, I couldnt even imagine trying to make it 'dwarf'.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:11AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I think I can train it to be dwarf but the question is : Will it bear a limited amount of fruits?

Already answered above. It will bear NO fruit. The resulting "training" will so stress the plant that it will remain in the vegetative growth stage for as long as possible in an attempt to simply survive. Blooming and fruit set cycle will either never be triggered or if triggered - 1:100 chance - will result in blossom drop, BER, and fruit abortion. Then it will die.

Bluntly put, your goal, as you have defined it - creating a dwarf Brandywine plant by treating it like a bonsai - makes no logical sense and defies the basic laws of botany. But if you believe you can do it by all means give it a try and learn for yourself what happens.

If your goal in all this is merely to try a Brandywine tomato or two and/or save seeds from one then grow a normal plant or go to a farmer's market and buy one.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:23AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

seysonn, this is the growth pattern of indeterminate tomatoes such as BW:

Once the plant has reached a certain size and produces its first flower cluster, the growth pattern of the main stem is 3 compound leaves (sometimes aka "leaf branches"), then a flower cluster. That pattern repeats until frost kills the plant.

A "sucker" or "lateral branch" can grow in any leaf axil -- the angle between a stem and a compound leaf. (And yes, lateral branches can grow from the leaf axil of lateral branches as well as leaf axils on the main stem.) Lateral branches have the same growth pattern as the main stem: 3 compound leaves, then a flower cluster; the pattern repeats till frost.

Pinching off suckers or a stem's growth tip does not change the growth pattern or enable the plant to sprout suckers or flower clusters in other locations than where they would normally grow.

[Exceptions:

1. If you remove a sucker, sometimes a second sucker will later sprout in the same spot.

2. Sometimes the end of a flower cluster will turn into a lateral branch. A recent thread speculated why that happens, but the general feeling is that such branches are weak, and letting them continue puts the fruit in that cluster at risk.

3. If your plant is accidentally decapitated -- or reduced to a bare stem by hail or deer or whatever -- the plant may send out a new growth tip from the bare stem. However, it will take the plant weeks and weeks to get to the point of producing its first new flower cluster, and then from the first blossom you'll have about 7 weeks to wait for ripe fruit.]

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:56PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Can I train my brother to be a dwarf ?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:29PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks everyone, Carolyn, Dave et all.

Like I said this is an adventure in gardening, I will have plenty of tomatoes coming from other plants. Have you tried Upside-Down planting ? I have done it just for fun and adventure. It did not yield a great amount but I do not regret it. Like they say: the man does not live with bread alone.

To Carolyn: I am no longer in GA. Now I am in Seattle, WA area. So we do not have the scorching heat of the south hear.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:48AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks everyone, Carolyn, Dave et all.

Like I said this is an adventure in gardening, I will have plenty of tomatoes coming from other plants. Have you tried Upside-Down planting ? I have done it just for fun and adventure. It did not yield a great amount but I do not regret it. Like they say: the man does not live with bread alone.

To Carolyn: I am no longer in GA. Now I am in Seattle, WA area. So we do not have the scorching heat of the south hear.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:35AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

"I am no longer in GA. Now I am in Seattle, WA area. So we do not have the scorching heat of the south hear."

Then you should go to your profile page and change that information. That way when you ask a question, you will receive more relevant responses.... Although in the case of "dwarfing" Brandywine, the responses you received are relevant, dwarfism just doesn't work that way.

Betsy

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:36AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks for reminding, Betsy.

This post was edited by seysonn on Thu, May 16, 13 at 1:10

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:51AM
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