Cloning Tomato Plants

atascosa_tx(8b)May 1, 2008

Did a search and found this thread..from gonefishin..(amen)

I'm going to try the same thing, but I wonder if I take a 6 inch or so sucker and put it in a glass of water, would it benefit if I was to take a small aquarium pump and pump some O2 into the water (to help o2 intake) or would it make roots without any intervention?

If memory serves correct, Dave and I quoted on an earlier post last week..

Trying this on my Amish Paste..(super growth and healthy) I know it's a lil bit early for a fall crop, but I want to experiment before I commit to a fall crop..

Happy Gardening

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Though it will certainly root in water (and the O2 pump will help) unless it is your intention to grow them that way it is best to root them in damp media like wet sand or a peat-lite mix.

This is because the cells created will adapt to grow in that kind of environment (all water) then you will take them out of that and place them into another environment they will have to adjust too. It just slows the process down by stressing the plant for a short period.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:35AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Direct link to gonefishin's thread

Carolyn discussed recently the difference between roots formed on cuttings in a glass of water and those formed when the cutting is rooted in moist mix (I'll try to find that post for you) and, if I understand it correctly, it seems to be a crucial difference when it comes to nutrient transport for the plant.

I had always rooted mine in water before and they eventually did ok after doing the garden transplant droop bit. But this year I am doing 12 different cuttings in wet soil-less mix. Doing great so far and I expect a much easier transplant to the garden with them. I used 4-6" main tip cuttings from mixed type extra plants that had gotten way too tall to plant easily.

Will let you know how they do. ;)


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 1:43PM
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I notice some tree stamens on the starter cells ... did you root those cuttings outdoors? If so, in shade, partial shade, full sun ... ?

I'm asking because I too have several plants that are getting way too advanced to hold any longer and we're having a helluva spring for transplanting. Terrible! Late frost, rain, blistering sun, cool spells ... we've got it all this year.

I'm gonna top a bunch of plants and try rooting them. Tell me where you held yours as they look great.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:20PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Hi Bill - Thanks! Yeah they spent the first couple of days in the greenhouse but since I had moved everything else outside and needed to power it down they are out on the table in the GH lean-to.

The roof is that dirty beige corrugated fiberglass stuff and has 50% shade cloth shades on the 3 open sides so they are well sheltered from too much sun.

With all the oak tree pollen we have blowing thru the air right now some always manages to get in. Take a deep breath and you get a mouthful of the darn stuff today. ;)


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 4:10PM
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Thanks everyone...
I'm going to try the soil-less mix and keep it damp and see how it does...seems it may take to hardening off easier that way.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Took the advice and put the sucker cutting in moistened potting mix..
We'll see how this one goes..this is merely an experiment, but for the Fall crop in this zone, the time should be around mid August right? or am I off..

guinea pig #1...Amish Paste cutting

Happy Gardening..

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:00PM
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~~~ I'm asking because I too have several plants that are getting way too advanced to hold any longer ... ~~~

I'm interested in the strategy here.

Will you plant the host and save the cutting as a backup in case of bad weather or vise versa?

Or, are the plants just getting to lrg. to handle? Too much space, need to pot up beyond desire etc. ??

I've got a few that are maybe a tad over a foot. One each of 20 went out this week, all planted to within half inch of the first leaf. Not a drooper in the bunch. Another set planned for this week. Picked up Earl's ingredients this eve. for these. Another set held in reserve.

I read what Fusion wrote the other day and I'm not qualified to disagree except that I have on several occasions planted 2'+ plants and been quite happy with the results. Obviously you can't do that at any kind of scale but for a few I haven't found a flaw, unless you think tomatoes in early June for 5b-6a is a flaw :-)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 12:50AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Doing cuttings is an OK thing to do when the plants are getting too big, but my commercial friend Charlie taught me another way to hold them back.

Now this sounds cruel but it works. Take off all the side foliage leaving just a tuft of foliage at the top of the main stem. No fertilizer and hold back on water until you see them start to wilt. Withouht leaves to make more energy via photosynthesis they will slow down.

In the past I've grown so many darn plants there was no way I was going to trench lots of too tall plants, but when pushed a few times I have done it. I want seedlings to be about 6-9 inches when I put them out, no more.

And I keep saying I/me but I think most of you know that I'm using a walker now so someone else does my gardening.

And Dave was correct that I've always recommended not rooting cuttings in water b'c they then have to readapt to a solid matrix. So any cuttings I ever took I put directly into damp artificial mix.

When I was dealing with critter or hail damaged plants in the field I'd often take a sucker cuttinmg and just jam it into the soil next to the damaged plant, build a little moat around the cutting and keep it full of water until I saw new growth.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 7:43AM
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My strategy is too start a fall crop using cuttings rather than starting from seed...saves a couple of weeks..

The cutting that I put into the potting mix has shown a little sign of drooping (was told that was normal) and I'm keeping it moist and out of direct I put it out in spotted shade for a couple of warm the mix..
If this works I'll give the plants away to a good home and then wait till mid August to start my fall crop.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 6:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Will you plant the host and save the cutting as a backup in case of bad weather or vise versa?

No, I don't plan to plant the source plant. I'm mostly all planted unless I find a previously undiscovered garden bed here somewhere so I don't need them. These were all topped off of extras and so I'll use these to replace any that go belly up and to put in later when the lettuce, beets, and snow peas are done. I'll root some more later for fall planting.

Or, are the plants just getting to lrg. to handle? Too much space, need to pot up beyond desire etc. ??

I don't have any problem with trenching in the occasional 2' plant but don't want a steady diet of it. It wasn't that these were TOO big, just bigger than my ideal of 9" and since I had the extras I just wanted to see how it would go for me in dirt rather than water.

But based on the results so far I'd sure recommend the solution to those who start their plants way too early and find themselves with nothing but long, lanky 2-3' plants. Top and root them about 2 weeks before planting time and have better plants to set out.



    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 7:19PM
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Atascosa and Dave, I'm in that iffy place where fall gardens are not high probability payoffs and when I did decide to do a cutting, always did it in potting mix and had acceptable success. Good for you! Mixed sun n shade, keep it very moist for at least a week and expect, like germination, less than 100%

Dave, I'm not a fan of trenching, I'd rather plant deep. When I said 2'+ I meant 2'+ planted and had toms a month before anyone else in my area. Again, you can't do it at scale but a couple works for me fine.

Planted the main stash today, 1 each of 20, all in the new bed using a slightly modified version of Earl's Hole Method (Thank you Earl). Couldn't really mix the in situ soil as well as Earls rec, (b/c of the tree) hope I didn't burn em up. We'll know in a few days I s'pose. Cutworm stakes in place (Thank you Carolyn). Pics coming tomorrow and again when I have the trellis painted and up. It is cooler than I'd like but I guess thats better than too hot.

I'm planted out and get to turn off the lights tonight. Reserves are in the mini GH.

Beer time!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:22PM
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By far the easiest and most successful way to root tomato cuttings-with almost 100% none failure rate, is to put a standard potting mix with a little added sand and perlite into small three inch pots or slightly smaller, wet it quite a bit and leave it stand for a few minutes, then take the very tip three inches of the cutting and push it into the soil right up to the first set of leaves-(remove leaves to get a bit of bare stem first) then place the whole thing into a plastic sandwich bag and twist it round a couple of times at the base to seal it-(or at the top) then place in a warm well lit place 70 degrees F preferable, leave for twelve days minimum, then take them out and look at them , and place on bench to recover and grow for further potting on etc,by this time they will have rooted beautifully .
I do dozens of tomato cuttings each year like this, some of which I over winter inside, and it always works fine for me.

without the polythene sandwich bag over them the plants leaves tend to flop and wither a bit,this keeps them moist and green and growing on, but it must be removed after twelve days and allow air to circulate.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 1:20AM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

As others have indicated, I prefer to root cuttings in some sort of soilless/light media, as 'water" roots are different than "soil" roots. However, when I take a cutting to root, I find I get the best results if I place it in a glass of water for a few hours so it can take up some water and become fully turgid/hydrated before I plunge it into some sort of potting media.

I've also found that if I push the cutting all the way down so that the end of the cutting is touching the bottom of the container, the cutting may not always take. My guess is that this might be because this makes it difficult for the cut end to access any water in the rooting mix before it puts out roots. So I try to leave at least a half inch to an inch or so between the cut end and the bottom of the pot.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 3:24AM
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Cuttings are doing great now....

After a brief period of wilting, they came back to life..and are doing well in MG potting mix..gonna give these away to co-workers and start a fall crop in August.

Thanks everyone for your tips.

Happy Gardening.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 8:05PM
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Would it be a waste of my time at this point to take cuttings and root them in a soilless mix? Oddly enough I can't get a clear answer - at least online - on my county's frost date, so I'll guess the first week of October. Thank you! Maureen

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 10:50AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It's worth trying Maureen. You never know what the weather will do so you could easily make it till Nov. with a little protection. Also depends on the variety - I'd try clones from the shortest DTM plants you have. And even if you get a bunch of green fruit in Nov. you can harvest them and store/ripen inside.

Figure 2 weeks to root and then transplant so that would get them in ground mid-July. That gives them 75-80 days.


PS: call your local county extension office and ask. They always say +/- 2weeks either side so maybe it will be + 2 weeks for you. ;)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:27AM
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Thanks, Dave, I'll give it a shot! Maureen

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:06PM
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Pre-root callus tissue forms best in darkness, hence better roots in media besides water. 50-50 perlite and vermiculite works very well for initial root formation reportedly. Also, a rooting hormone powder or gel (better) can help a lot. Happy gardening.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 1:03PM
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Thanks, Mitch! I'll follow your suggestions. Maureen

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 1:05PM
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