Last year, I read an article about growing tomatoes from cuttings taken from a mature tomato plant. It so intrigued me, I thought I’d try it. I shared with you a picture of my cutting in one of my November garden updates, and today I’m going to show you the progress.
On November 3, I cut a branch off one of my Black Krim tomato plants (the last one surviving at that date). I cut the branch end at an angle and put it into a bud vase with tap water. Here’s my cutting on that day.
I put the vase in my kitchen window, which receives a great deal of afternoon sun. All I did was continue to add water, changing the water out every week or two.
Within a couple of weeks, the cutting started growing roots. Ideally, I should’ve transplanted it before Christmas, but life happened and I didn’t get around to transplanting it until a couple of days ago.
After 9 weeks in the vase, here’s how the cutting looked.
Here’s a closeup of the roots. The long roots are starting to grow side shoots.
I chose a medium sized pot to transplant this into because it needs a home only until spring planting time (end of March/beginning of April here). I then created a mixture of half potting soil and half of my own germinating mix (a recipe of Gardener’s Supply Germinating mix, Azomite, and worm castings). I wanted the roots to be able to breathe as they acclimated to being in soil.
I placed the roots all the way down into the pot – even a little sideways – so that the stalk could grow more roots up to the soil line. I made sure the soil was pressed down (but not too much) and watered the pot thoroughly. Then, I took a stake from one of my orchid pots (an orchid not currently flowering), and staked my new tomato plant.
While staking my new tomato plant, I noticed it has its first tiny flower buds! How about that??
My pot is back in my kitchen window to get sun, and I will continue to water it and feed it.
When my seedlings are ready to be hardened off the end of March, I will have to do the same to this plant. After being inside, its leaves are thin and delicate – just like a seedling’s are – and it will have to adjust to the outside world again. Once it’s been hardened off, I can transplant it into my raised bed with the tomato seedlings; and I’ll have a head start on getting ripe tomatoes. (Who knows? I may get a few tomatoes growing before it goes outside. That would be cool!)
As a note, this plant has exactly the same DNA as the plant I took the cutting from, so whatever characteristics the mother plant had – good or bad – will manifest in this new plant. That said, it’s best to take a cutting from a strong, healthy plant.
Stay tuned to my weekly Sanctuary Gardener updates where I’ll keep you posted on how my new tomato clone is doing.
Have you ever grown tomatoes from a plant cutting?