What’s better than cutting up and adding a perfectly ripe tomato to your sandwich or salad? That’s easy. Growing your tomato plants from cuttings for fresh, delicious produce at home
I don’t know why it is, but tomatoes are so much juicier and sweeter if you grow them yourself. The cool thing is you don’t only have to use seeds to grow tomatoes; you can grow your tomato plants from cuttings. And it’s super easy!
Why Tomato Plants From Cuttings?
Propagating a plant from a cutting is essentially cloning a plant, thereby creating two of the same plant, whereas before, you only had one. It’s cost-effective, easy, and fun. You can do this with most plants; however, each type has its own little eccentricities.
Tomatoes, on the other hand, seem like they’re made for cuttings. In fact, if you leave a tomato un-staked, and one of its limbs touches fresh soil, it will start to root and create a whole new plant.
So if you want to start propagating your plant collection, I recommend starting with tomato plant cuttings.
No. I’m not calling the garden centers suckers because they just sold you one plant that you’re about to turn into three or four. The suckers are a part of the tomato plant, and for propagation purposes, they’re your number one source for tomato plant cuttings.
The anatomy of a tomato plant is relatively straightforward. It has a top stem, limbs, suckers, and flower clusters that will eventually turn into fruit clusters.
The top stem is the tomato’s main stem. The limbs are the branches coming off the top stem.
An armpit area is called the axil between a limb and the top stem. That is where the suckers grow. It’s basically a branch popping out of the armpit. The suckers will eventually grow flower clusters and then fruit. Here is where you can get your tomato plants from cuttings.
Side note: You’ll eventually have to prune the suckers off your tomato plants to get the best fruit. Pruning is a perfect time to take some tomato plant cuttings for propagation. It’s a two-birds, one-stone type of deal.
You’ll have to cut off that sucker to grow tomato plants from cuttings.
So go ahead, grab that sucker, and let’s begin propagating!
Supplies for Taking Tomato Plant Cuttings
There isn’t much you need for the tomato cuttings project. In fact, you’ll probably already have most of this around your house.
Clean Garden Shears, a Sharp Knife, or Some Scissors
It’s important that your tools are clean and sharp because you don’t want to cut roughly. A cleaner cut means the tomato plant can heal better, and you won’t introduce any diseases.
Here are some I recommend for pruning tomato cuttings from your tomato plant from cuttings:
Nothing compares to just a good, old-fashioned, Benchmade pocket knife. Great for any situation, even propagating.
Hoss has a beautiful set of shears, ideal for pruning and snipping off those suckers for tomato plant cuttings.
You can use any type of scissor as long as it’s properly cleaned and strong enough to cut through a thick tomato stem. These Vivosun garden scissors are perfect.
A Jar and a Small Plant Pot
We’re going to cover two methods of growing tomato plants from cuttings. The first requires a jar or a glass that you can fill with water. It helps if it’s clear so you can see the roots growing.
Mason jars are great for everything, and they’re very decorative. These Verones jam jars are perfect because they’re a bit taller than regular mason jars.
For both methods, you need a small plant pot. This Tierra Garden set is awesome because each container is deep, and when you’re ready to plant them out, you can just pull them apart.
Tomatoes love nutrient-rich soil, so if you’re buying soil, make sure to get yourself The Best Soil for Tomatoes.
The Jar of Water Method
The jar of water method is perhaps the easiest and most fun way to grow tomato plants from cuttings.
Step 1: Cut and Trim
Take a pair of clean sheers or a sharp knife. Remember, a cleaner cut helps the tomato plant heal better, preventing potential diseases or infections.
Look for a good sucker. Generally, you want one that hasn’t started growing fruit and is about the thickness and length of a chopstick. Take your cutting instrument and cut that sucker off at the base.
Now that you have your tomato cutting, you’ll want to give it a bit of a haircut. Each leaf or flower cluster will leach nutrients from the base of the tomato plant cuttings, restricting root growth. However, you do want to keep some leaves on so the plant can take in some rays of the sun.
I recommend removing all the leaves except for the top two, maybe three if they’re small.
Step 2: Place
Now that your sucker is all trim and proper, you just pop him into a jar of water. After about three to four weeks, you’ll notice an intricate root system has developed in the bottom of that jar.
It’s that simple.
Well, almost. As always, there are a couple of rules that you can’t break.
- Do not place your jar of water in direct sunlight. Your poor little tomato plant cutting isn’t ready for the sun’s full force. Putting it on a sunny window sill or in a dappled shade is best.
- Make sure to keep your jar full of clean water. Dumping the water out and giving it a fresh jar once every couple of days is a good idea to prevent mold. While you’re doing this, be gentle with your little tomato plant cuttings.
Step 3: Transplant
After your tomato plant cuttings have developed nice root systems, pot them in small pots with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Let those little guys establish in the soil for a while.
Once you have noticed some significant growth, you can bring your tomato plant cuttings into the garden, plant them into your tomato beds, and, eventually, enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The Soil Method
The second method is just as easy for growing your tomato plants from cuttings, but it might not be as fun because you don’t see all those spindly roots growing through the glass jar.
Step 1: Cut and Trim
Cut and trim exactly as you did with the jar of water method. Cut the sucker off at the base, then trim the leaves so only two or three remain.
Step 2: Place
This time, we’ll skip the jar of water and place your tomato plant cuttings directly into small pots filled with soil.
Again, don’t place your tomato plant cuttings in direct sunlight. This will dry out the pour plant and leave you with a stick rather than a stem.
Also, make sure to water the soil regularly. The soil needs to be moist at all times. It helps to use a propagation container like the one I mentioned above because the clear plastic lid prevents evaporation and keeps most of the moisture within the soil.
Step 3: Transplant
After you see some significant growth, and by significant growth, I mean the sucker has grown into a stem and has even put out some limbs of its own, then you can transplant your cuttings into your garden. Rinse and repeat, and you can keep having tomato plants from cuttings forever.
You Grew Tomato Plants From Cuttings!
You did it! You turned a sucker into a flower-filled, fruit-bearing, amazing tomato plant. And you did it for virtually no money. How cool is that?
Now that you’ve grown tomato plants from cuttings, you can do anything, so check out this article covering everything you need or want to learn about Tomato Plants.