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Make more tomato plants by cloning

Updated on October 7, 2015
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Plant a cutting to create more tomato plants

Remove all but the top few leaves and stems.  place dirctly where you want the new plant to grow in the garden. Or plant in a near by container, keeping your cutting close by for frequent watering.
Remove all but the top few leaves and stems. place dirctly where you want the new plant to grow in the garden. Or plant in a near by container, keeping your cutting close by for frequent watering. | Source

Cloned plants reproduce exactly like the Mother plant

 When I  was staking this tomato plant, I accidentaly broke off a branch. I stuck that branch in the soil and kept it well watered. Soon I had another Purple Calabash tomato plant.
When I was staking this tomato plant, I accidentaly broke off a branch. I stuck that branch in the soil and kept it well watered. Soon I had another Purple Calabash tomato plant. | Source

It works. Really.

Put that broken tomato plant branch, or cutting directly in the ground at least six or eight inches deep. Place a stake beside the stem. The big tomato stake or cage will stand as guardian over your little cloned tomato plant. Since this new plant has no roots yet, you MUST keep the soil well watered. At first, the cutting or broken branch that you stuck in the ground, will go limp. Don't give up. Keep watering the planted stem at least two or three times a day. Some shading of the cutting will reduce the stress as the new tomato plant starts making roots.

Do not fertilize. No need for rooting compound. Use only water and kind words. If you have garden fairies, summon them now.

Disaster strikes! How to save the broken tomato plant

A branch from my favorite Purple Calabash tomato breaks while I am staking. Panic. I only bought 1 plant.
A branch from my favorite Purple Calabash tomato breaks while I am staking. Panic. I only bought 1 plant. | Source

Midseason gardening techniques to stretch the growing season

Did you break a branch of a heavily producing tomato pant?

Remove all tomatoes and all but the top leaves. Plant the tomato branch as deeply as possible into the ground where you want to tomato plant to grow. Water it faithfully two or three times a day. Remember, it has no roots. You must provide lots of water while it grows roots.

Use this method to make more plants and extend the productive gardening season.

Clone tomatoes now

It is not too late to plant a garden. In fact this may be the perfect time to start seeds and start on a second wave of heat loving vegetables and plant seeds to take advantage of the second cool season crops this year.

To extend the tomato season, consider cloning the tomato plants that are the most successful in your garden.

Here in the heartland, zone 6 we are about halfway through the summer growing season. I think I have about two and a half months left before our first frost.

If you haven't planted tomatoes yet, ask a gardening friend for a cutting. As I stake my tomatoes, I often break off unruly stems that won't be supported by the tomato stakes.

Productive baskets

With regular watering, your plants will be more productive and attractive.
With regular watering, your plants will be more productive and attractive. | Source

The good news

Cloning plants will get you tomatoes faster than starting from seed at mid season. Planting tomatoes midseason will also stretch the harvest season.

I broke off a branch of an heirloom tomato plant about a month ago. The black tomato plant is named Purple Calabash and I am happy to have more of these large, rich tasty tomatoes.

Starting warm season plants midsummer, means that fruits will be developing during the cooler, end of summer weather. Be prepared to cover or protect the heat loving plants during light nighttime frosts.

Making more strawberries from runners is a snap. Just place the runner in the soil where you would like another plant. Keep watered.

Tell me about your successes

Gardeners are all so helpful. Please share your tomato growing tips here, in comments.

Got any water wise ideas for the garden? Please leave a comment.

I love hanging baskets. Half of the tomatoes I grow are in containers. It used to be a pain in the neck (and back) to water over head baskets plus a dozen containers.

I fought putting in an irrigation system because it is time consuming and costly. But let's rethink those 2 reasons.

1. time consuming. Not really, it takes time to plan connections and the layout for the garden or patio. If it takes a day to figure it out and put on an automatic timer, give it a try. It's a one time project. Otherwise, you will spend everyday all summer long watering hanging baskets and containers. No time off or vacation for you.

2. costly. Not so, you won't waste water in the broad coverage of a sprinkler or sprayer. Buy it once, use it for years. Once you have the layout and timing adjusted that first year, a repeat performance is a snap next year.

AND a bonus: The thrill of cold water running down your arms while you water overhead baskets once or twice every single day during August. If you really miss this chiller, feel free to re-enact the clammy armpit experience in the privacy of your own home shower.

Probably, your plants and neighbors will appreciate the reduction in foul language once you stop dragging the hose around the garden and watering over head.

Comments

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  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    SusanDeppner, I think of this method as a frugal gardeners trick. And when it succeeds, it always seems like a bit of magic.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Phyllis Doyle, I don't wait for an accident to happen. This is a bargain for me. I buy 1 of several different tomato plants and when a stem gets big enough to cut, I make more. Thank you for your comments. Happy Gardening.

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 

    3 years ago from Arkansas USA

    I had this happen accidentally last year (sometimes I'm not a very attentive gardener) and the resulting plant did very well in the latter part of the season. Imagine my surprise! :) Great information - thank you!

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 

    3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Hi Patsy. Glad I saw this hub. I never knew the broken or cut stems could become a new plant. I will try that this season. Thanks for the tips.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    You made my day. Thank you.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    I'd love to see you success. I'm just starting from seed. Can hardly wait. Thanks for the update.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    5 years ago from Australia

    Just wanted to let you know that the tomato plants I cloned did really well. They're now producing lots of delicious juicy tomatoes :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    A thousand thanks for your note. You made my day. Merry Christmas.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    5 years ago from Australia

    Hi Patsybell

    Just wanted to let you know that the cuttings and the tomato plants I transplanted are all doing very well. No fruit on them yet but some of them have started to flower, which can only be a good sign. I removed the flowers because I want them to grow a bit more before spending energy of producing fruit.

    Have a wonderful Christmas :)

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    I have 4 different varieties of tomatoes growing, so there's no problem there. Thank you so much for answering all my questions. I will let you know in time how all cuttings and transplanted plants have fared.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Yes, Now is the best time. But remove the flowers and fruit so the roots will quickly establish. Believe it or not, you will have fruit just as soon or sooner. But that clump of tomato plantlets are probably all the same variety. In my garden they are always cherry tomatoes. Just think, how many of the same plants do you want?

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    I see. OK, I'll withhold the fertiliser then. Just one more question though, I hope you don't mind, I have a clump of tomato plants that I want to thin out. I should have done it sooner but just never managed to get around to it. They're about a foot tall and already flower. Would it be safe to transplant some of them at this stage of their development?

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    No need. You are starting with good soil, able to support tomato plant growth, it's a waste of time/money. Also, you have the most fragile if root systems forming and they could eaisily be burned by strong fertilizers.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Remove the flowers and any fruit. Let all the energy go to making roots. Keep me posted. You made my day. Thank you. Do not fertilize.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    Ok, so I planted two cuttings today. Does their size/age matter? They are quite large branches and already flowering.

    By the way I've recommended this page on my hub about growing tomatoes. I just thought I'd let you know. No need to reciprocate, it's probably best that you don't actually, I don't think Google likes reciprocated links.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Great idea. Linking can only help us both.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    I will. I might even create a hub about it and link to yours as my source of inspiration :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Please share your success . Would love to hear about your success.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    No worries, will do and thank you, I'm always happy when gardening :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Keep the soil moist because your new tomato plant has no roots. It will catch up and produce fruit at about the same time and rate as the original plant. Thanks for the comment and happy gardening.

  • sleepylog profile image

    Sleepylog 

    6 years ago from Australia

    Thank you for the post, I'm going to try it as I still have lots of room in my garden for more tomato plant but didn't want to start from scratch.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    I never thought of it as cloning either till a prefesessor said that was what I was doing. Thanks for stoping by Lilleyth.

  • Lilleyth profile image

    Suzanne Sheffield 

    6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

    Yep! Tomatoes are very easy to propogate from stems. I've never thought of it as "cloning" before now. Thumbs up!

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