MaryDel
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Delaware

Cloning Tomatoes

For years, I have been taking suckers from my tomato plants around the 1st of July, and rooting them for a fall crop of tomatoes. I've been taking suckers from low on the plant that already have root nodes starting to show and placing them in a bucket of water in a shaded spot for a couple of weeks. I change out the water if it starts getting green. Once I get roots an inch long or so, I transplant. I keep all the blossoms pinched off until the end of august. I grow these plants on low supports and let them sprawl over the black plastic. It makes the plants easy to cover-up for late fall frosts. I often am picking my last tomato harvest right around Thanksgiving.

I've noticed that determinates and semi-determinates are very difficult to get rooted this way. I've also found that bucket rooting works best if the temps are not too hot. Does anyone else use this technique? Do you have any other tips to make it more successful?



This year, I am going to try to clone some plants using a rooting gel. Has anyone used this method? My plan is to use trays filled with wet vermiculite, and keep the seedlings well misted under some sort of plastic dome to keep the humidity high. Will this technique work on determinates and semi-determinates? Is there anything else I need to know?

TZ -OH6
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Location: Mid Ohio

I would be surprize if you got it to work with determinants because of the way they are programmed to stop growth.

Most people find the rooting hormone is not necessary because the tomatoes are so willing to root anyway, and that starting in water sets the plants back because they have to grow new roots adapted to soil. Taking top cuttings is more common (top 8-10 inches), but I do not know if a plant would grow fast enough from that small size for your needs.

Have you tried simply sticking the cutting into pots of well watered potting mix? Some people simply put the cuttings in the ground and keep the soil moist until the plants root, but I think a bit of protection from wind and sun would make that more successful.

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farmerlon
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TZ -OH6 wrote:... starting in water sets the plants back because they have to grow new roots adapted to soil...
I did not know that. Next time, I will try sticking the cutting directly into moist potting soil.
:D

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ozark_rocks
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:58 pm
Location: Arkansas

I've cloned both ways, in water and in soil. Have you tried leaning over a lower branch, covering part of it with soil , and letting it root befor you sever it from the mother plant?

MaryDel
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Delaware

I talked to a buddy of mine. He has been cloning 4-5" tomato cuttings using gel. He said they rooted up in about a week, much faster than other things he has tried. He said it works with determinates or indeterminate varieties. I'll wait a few more weeks until I start getting fruit, and then clone a couple of dozen of the best tasting varieties for the fall.

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gixxerific
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Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

I have never tried this on purpose myself.

But as TZ said I planted a plant that I accidentally broke off at just above the soil surface in my pot before transplanting. Since I was about to put it in the ground I went ahead and did it anyways no roots whatsoever. It looked like hell for a few day's than all of the sudden it sprang back to life to my amazement.

Here is a pic this was planted 3-4 weeks ago, notice the tomato plant in the upper right of the screen I bought this one and another that is behind the one in my hand the day I planted the broken plant. The broken one I grew from seed. The ones I bought are half the size now and don't look as good they are all Black Cherry. They were all the same size when I planted them.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC03831.jpg[/img]

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