How to root tomato sucker branches?

frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)June 17, 2009

Do I root them in water or use some Root Tone and put them in the earth? Thanks. Also, this is just a comment: My one bush cherry tomato is growing very well. It's the first time I've grown one, which I guess is "determinate" so I understand I'm not supposed to prune them. It's very hard to see the tomatoes. I have to pull back the leaves to find them.

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

Suckers or grow tips only, leaf branches will not work. Trim up the stem and take off all but the tip, the top 3-4 small leaves, cut to 4-6 inches in length, plant deeply in a small container of wet potting mix, not in water. Root hormone is not needed. Done hundreds of them and never used it.

Keep the potting mix damp and the container in shade. They will droop for 24-48 hours and then recover. Wait 10 days to 2 weeks before transplanting to the garden.

Link below is to several previous discussions on how to and some have pics if you want to look through them for more details.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 1:10PM
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kandm(8b coastal alabama)

I take the leaves off the bottom and bury the sucker deeply and keep it well watered. The thing will look pathetic for a week or two but if you keep it watered it will recover.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 1:49PM
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karenrei

Tomatoes are trivially easy to root. Don't sweat it. Just don't rot them -- i.e., keep them in a constantly damp, but *aerated* mix. Don't just put them in a vase of water; roots need air. A good way to do this is to have a tray with a quarter inch of water at the bottom, with pots of an airy mix sitting in it so they can wick it up. Just fill back up to that quarter-inch level in the tray whenever it gets too low.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 2:03PM
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bigdaddyj(Zone7)

Well, I differ. I take my sucker and I DO place it in a glass of water for two days remembering to change the water daily. Then I pot it up like Dave does on day 3. I get less wilting this way and I've never lost a patient to rot or anything. Tomato plants are hard to kill...:)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 2:14PM
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karenrei

Tomato plants are hard to kill...:)

I'll second that ;) Yeah, a couple days in water isn't long enough to rot a tomato plant. I was referring to trying to fully root it in water.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:15PM
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containerted

The Root Tone is not necessary, but it will not hurt either. Like the others have said, cut off a tip, you know, an end or a sucker. Dip it in the Root Tone if you want to and then stick it in some wet potting mix. Keep it damp to wet unti any wilting is gone. Don't add fertilizers while the plant is in this extremely stressful condition. Also, keep it away from direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight or shade is best until it gets a new root system.

Ted

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:56PM
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buzzsaw8

In a cup of water works for me.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 8:21PM
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tedln(7 Texas)

I agree with every previous post. In other words, all the methods presented work.

I may be wrong, but I seem to remember rooting some branches that were not suckers.

Ted

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 12:09AM
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kterlep(5/6)

An excellent pot for rooting is a 1 or 2 liter pop bottle. I cut off the top as high up as possible, put a few holes in the bottom, put about 2 inches of dirt in, stick in the branch (stripped about 10 inches of leaves), fill the bottle with potting soil, and water thoroughly. The benefit of using a clear pot is you can see when the roots are strong, and the length of the pot means you have pre-trenched and the plant will grow faster when you plant it than if you plant it deep.(in my experience) I have to do this several times a growing season because I'm a klutz. :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:55AM
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maryann45(z8bGA)

I love the pop bottle idea. I'm always wondering what is going on in a pot and this way I can see!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 10:35AM
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DHLCAL

I am rooting a couple of branches as an experiment. One is in a potting mix. The other in those "water absorbing polymer beads."

One question: Do these rooted branches grow as well as the "mother plant" or those grown originally from seed?

The branches I did this with last year grew roots just fine, but didn't do well after I planted them in ground. This may be because the locations I put them in didn't have sufficient sunlight or good soil or are overcrowded though.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:56AM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

AAARRRGGGH! I did it again! I replied to a zillion year old post!

This post was edited by cold_weather_is_evil on Wed, May 7, 14 at 19:55

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Do these rooted branches grow as well as the "mother plant" or those grown originally from seed?

Yes, they do just fine. Carbon copies of the parent plant in appearance and performance.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 1:34PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have done propagating by cutting on so many things. Right now I have about 10 Thai basils potted up. I always first root them in water and than transplant into pots. Starting in soil is difficult. And you need to pay constant attention and you cannot see what is happening ; rooting or rotting?. But in a glass, you don't have to do anything, Just transfer when you see the roots.

Everybody has his/her preferred way of doing certain things, I guess.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:08AM
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Green0Thumb

Old thread I know, but the way I take clone's of my tomato plants is take the lower branches, bend them over, cover them with dirt, week or 2 later, cut them off the mother plant and they have a strong healthy root system

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:17PM
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blattlaus

Does it work only with suckers and will branches work too?

I ask because I have a branch in water for 3 or 4 weeks now, it looks very green and healthy - but no roots at all. My basil roots fine under the same condition.

And what water you use? My rain water has a Ph a bit below 5, very acidic. I usually add a little NaOH to bring it up to 6.0. I also add a little liquid fertilizer. On top of that I have an air stone in the container.

I wonder what water is best to use for rooting?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:47AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No it doesn't work on leaf branches. It has to have a growth tip. Worrying about water pH, O2 levels, nutrients, type of water, etc. isn't necessary and makes no difference at all. It only over-complicates the process.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:24AM
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blattlaus

@digdirt
Thanks for the clear answer. The 'growth tip' (or lack thereof) makes total sense.

For the water, I will just use rain water (with an airstone) then. How often should I change the water?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:04PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No need to use rain water, no need to use airstone, no need to change the water. A glass of plain old tap water works as well as anything.

However, based on my experience of rooting hundreds of cuttings over the years, rooting cuttings in moist potting mix rather than any water set-up is far more effective. Better root development and much faster recovery time when transplanted.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 3:37PM
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blattlaus

digdirt
Thanks for the reply. All clear now. I do hydroponics, so no soil here.

BTW, the branch I have in the water for a few weeks seems to start rooting now. I know that nothing useful will come out, but I keep watching anyway.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:37PM
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NoSpamKevin(9 - East Los Angeles)

I have tried different methods of rooting suckers and I prefer using a clear or semi-transparent cup filled with only perlite. I put a couple of tiny holes about half an inch up from the bottom and water it daily until the roots start showing. It usually takes about 10 days for a good root system to form.

Contrary to what most people have already posted, leaf branches will also root and put out their own growing tips, but it will just take longer than using a sucker.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:49PM
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molex

I just stick the sucker in the ground, water well, 9 out 10 times, new tomato plant

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 9:28AM
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