How to make more tomato plants for free

Near disaster doubles the tomato harvest

The heirloom tomato plant falling off the planting bench turned into a good thing. Both the top and bottum of the tomato were planted, creating two Gold Medal plants.
The heirloom tomato plant falling off the planting bench turned into a good thing. Both the top and bottum of the tomato were planted, creating two Gold Medal plants. | Source

Didn't buy or plant enough tomatoes?

Plant the two pieces and get identical results.
Plant the two pieces and get identical results. | Source

Tomato plants want to live

Make more tomato plants, don't buy them. Look what happened to my tomato plant today. Tragedy. The wind blew it off the table and it snapped at the base of the plant. No worries, now I will have two of my favorite Gold Medal heirloom tomato plants.

If the tomatoes in your garden are well established, but a big vine breaks, just stick that branch in the garden soil. Really. Trim off the lower leaves and stick it in the ground. Keep it well watered, at least twice a day.

Remember, this plant has no roots, so be generous with the water. Go ahead and stake the tomato branch like any other tomato plant in your garden. It will quickly develop roots and take off on a summertime growing spree.

Let your plant divert it's energy to developing a strong root base. Pinch of those first few blooms. The tomato plant will grow stronger, deeper roots. It will be able to handle the coming heat and drought stress better.

Water tomato plant twice daily

With no roots is is very important to keep the new plant well watered.
With no roots is is very important to keep the new plant well watered. | Source

Make more tomato plants

It will probably catch up to the tomato plants you originally planted. Or, your harvest will be staggered with heavy fruit production stretched out by a couple of weeks. If you want to only eat fresh tomatoes, plan on three to five plants per person. If your goal is to enough fruit for processing, then plan on five to ten plants per person.

This technique doesn't have to be an accident. If you find extra space in the garden, prune the original tomato plant and save the larger unwieldy cuttings. Snip off the lower leaves and stick that stem in the ground right where you want that plant to grow up.

If you are producing most of your tomato plants using this method, your plants will all be the same.

Plants produced in this way will produce tomatoes exactly like the mother plant. Plan on 3 to 5 plants per person for fresh eating only. For fresh and processed tomatoes, plan on 5 to 10 plants per person.

It is OK to leave only 2 or 3 inches of the stem above ground. Roots will form all along the planted stem. It may surprise you just how fast the new plant catches up to the traditionally planted tomatoes.

Make more tomatoes

  • Stick the broken vine in the soil.
  • Water twice a day.
  • Stake.
  • Mulch.
  • VoilĂ ! 2 times the tomatoes!


Make two tomato plants from one

Remember the stubby broken base of the tomato plant? Plant that too, has a good root base. Go ahead and plant it. Soon it will regenerate a stem and leafy growth. It will probably produce tomatoes at the same rate and quality as the other tomato plants in the garden. How cool is that?

Gold Medal results

Twice as many of these beautiful one pound slicers is a summer bonus and NO PROBLEM!
Twice as many of these beautiful one pound slicers is a summer bonus and NO PROBLEM! | Source

Staking tomato plants

Staking improves production and makes harvesting easier. Staked plants are less likely to pick up diseases and can handle heavier production. There are lots of methods including stakes, trellis and cages.

For a cheap and affordable method, buy 6 foot long, 1x2 wooden stakes. Cut to make pointed at on end.

Stake plants at the same time you plant the tomatoes. Place the stake 3 or 4 inches from the plant.

Tie vines loosely to the stake. Use twine or thin cotton cord, leaving extra space for tomato vine to grow. Or, use torn strips of old t-shirts and panty hose.

They should sell pantyhose in the garden department. Because this is the only good use for pantyhose. Use old or new pantyhose to loosely tie tomato plants to the stake.

If the wooden stakes are brought in for the winter, the stakes will last for years. When they finally do break, cut flat at one end and cut a point at the other. Use them for pepper plant stakes or row markers.

Clone any variety of tomato

Any cloned plant will be identical to the mother plant.
Any cloned plant will be identical to the mother plant. | Source

The secret to tomato success

Mulching tomatoes

Reduce the causes of disease by mulching the tomato plants. In early summer, lightly cover the soil with a good organic mulch, like glass clippings or leaf mulch. As summer progresses, add more mulch.

Mulching is one of the best and easiest things you can do for tomato plants. The mulch will help hold ground temperature, retain water and prevent erosion. It also prevents soil from splashing on the plant, reducing the risk of soil borne disease.

Growers won't tell you about making more plants from broken vines because they make their money selling tomato plants and seeds. Fertilizer companies make money selling fertilizer, a product often used in excess. If you have good garden soil, plants won't need additional artificial fertilizers. Read Plant tomatoes the right way to learn more about good garden soil.


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30 comments

Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 19 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

mary615, I can't wait to hear about your success with tomatoes. You should write hubs on rooting flowers. Thanks for your comments.


mary615 profile image

mary615 19 months ago from Florida

I have rooted flowers many times, but I've never tried this method on a tomato; thank for the great info.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 19 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

rebeccamealey, this can be a season extending idea as well, after the plat gets a good and leafy size, cut or break another stem and stick it in the ground. Thank you for your comment.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 19 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Awesome! I didn't

't know you could root tomatoes like this. Thankss!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

You just might be able to find a tomato plant on the close out table at the garden center. They are sad and tired looking and will be thrown out any day. But with your care and attention, a grateful little tomato plant will produce tomatoes. That is their only goal in life. Thank you for reading my Hubs.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

I didn't get any tomatoes in this year (I grow them on my deck), but will be saving this hub for next year. I love fresh tomatoes.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

teaches12345, Thank you. I appreciate your kind words. Please ask if you have any tomato questions.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

My, you do haves some very large and yummy looking red tomatoes. THanks for the information, especially about planting.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Allyson Cardis, Thank you for your kind words. When the heat waves start, your tomato plant's foliage will protect the tomatoes from sun scald.


Allyson Cardis profile image

Allyson Cardis 2 years ago from Gloucestershire, England

This is full of useful information Patsybell, I'm going to go out and properly stake my tomatoes right now! Voted up.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

I am honored that you read my Hubs. Thank you for your kind words.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Thank you for sharing this useful information here! Good to know for sure! Nothing better than home grown tomatoes.

I appreciate this useful and insightful hub here.

Up and more and away

Happy gardening!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

The Dirt Farmer, thank you. I always appreciate gardeners comments. I would love to hear about it if you try this.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

rebeccamealey, I am glad you read this hub. Thank you. When you do this, the longer the stem or vine, the better. Putting it deep in the ground will create a deep root system.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Perspycacious, don't break the main stem or vine. Break off an unweildy branch, or prune the original plant and use some of the thicker cuttings to make more. This will also extend your season - more tomatoes longer. Thank you. I appreciate that you read my hubs and will use the information.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Jackie Lynnley, much appreciated. I think sharing and Pinning makes a big difference. Thank you kindly.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

DzyMsLizzy, Thank you. If you have too many ripe tomatoes all at once, just was dry freeze whole on a cookie sheet. When they are frozen, put them in a ziplock and throw them in the freezer. Then you can add them to chili or stew this winter. (just drop them in whole and frozen.)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I didn't know you could do that! Where have I been all this time??? Thanks, and sharing. BTW your tomatoes are pretty!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

I planted 3 tomato plants by accident this year. hahaha! I thought I had only purchased one set plant, and decided that since I wanted to make some picalilli, a relish made from green tomatoes, that I would need another plant. So I bought an extra--lo and behold, when I went to set them out, I had bought two in the first place, so now have three. And, I'm the only one who eats tomatoes--hubby does not like them, so that should give me plenty for me and me. LOL

This is good information to know, however; we do have some fairly strong summer breezes around here, and I've been known to accidentally break off a hunk of a plant by accident.

Voted up, interesting and useful.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

MsDora, it really is that simple. just stick it in the ground. And water. Thank you for sharing. Thanks for reading my hubs.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 2 years ago from United States

Way to make lemons out of lemonade, Patsy--or rather, tomato plants out of tomato stumps! Enjoyed your hub.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Printed, and if I share I will send the link, not my personal copy which goes to my "Gardening File." A valuable insight that makes me want to go out and break all my tomato plants in half! (Why not in thirds?)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Shared!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Never did I think the tomato plant could grow from a broken vine. I watched my friend grow hers on her back porch, helped her water them too. I bet she doesn't know this. Glad to pass on this article. Thank you.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Thank you Moonlake. I appreciate your kind words. And I am going to try your method with roses. I love to share gardening ideas.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Jackie, I am honored that you read my hubs. You made my day. I appreciate all shares and pins. I used chive herb vinegar to make a hot bacon dressing for salad tonight,


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Thank you cygnetbrown. I buy one tomato plant each of several varieties, then with this method, I make more. Shall we write a hub about the late season or winter grown tomatoes?


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

Enjoyed your hub. I was saying to my husband tonight we needed to get the tomato stands on the tomatoes before the deer stomp them down.

I never thought of planting the branch if something happens. Same thing I do with rose cuttings. Voted up


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I am so glad to read this. I was breaking the bottom stems off my plants and broke on of my plants and I was so upset but I thought maybe I could try taking it while it was still fresh and juicy looking but by morning it was all wilted but I watered it and left it alone and in just a few hours it had perked up and healed! I like your idea better though of getting two plants! Can't wait for those home grown tomatoes!

I am working on some of your vinegars too!

Can't find any share button...but never fear, I will be back to share...whenever they show up!


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

I love this idea! I have heard that you can do something similar in the fall and keep doing this with tomato plants during the fall and winter and then replant the little plants you grew during those months in the spring for another harvest. I have never done it, maybe I will next year!

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