How to Start Tomato Plants from Cuttings

comments (50) March 9th, 2009

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Photo by Manjith Kainickara under the creative commons license for attribution 2.0Click To Enlarge

Photo by Manjith Kainickara under the creative commons license for attribution 2.0

Photo: Manjith Kainickara

Gardeners may be familiar with starting new perennials and shrubs from cuttings, but you may not realize that veggies can be started this way, too! The tomato plant, in particular, lends itself easily to cutting propagation because even the cells in its stems can become roots.

Starting tomato plants from cuttings comes in handy when you're perusing someone else's garden and they have a particular tomato plant that you admire. Be considerate and ask first, but it's easy enough to take a few snips and off you go. It also gives you the opportunity of buying just a couple of plants and then creating few more for yourself free of charge.

While you’re at it, pop in a couple more and bring some to close friends. Tuck a little tomato plant that you propagated yourself into a colorful pot, complete with planting instructions. I can't think of a better hostess gift for an early summer BBQ.

One of the advantages of propagating tomato plants by stem cuttings is that it can take tomato seedlings (started from seed) 6 to 8 weeks before they reach transplanting size. If you keep tomato cuttings warm, the transplanting time frame is cut down to a mere 10 – 14 days.

Even if you’ve never tried propagating plants with cuttings before, you’re practically guaranteed success. Tomato cuttings are such incredibly easy rooters, they will even root in a cup of water. That being said, the plants are stronger if they are rooted in soil.

What you’ll need:

• 6 inch long tomato cuttings from the tips of the plant
• 4 inch clean containers
• Potting soil that had been dampened thoroughly
• A pencil

How to start tomato plants from cuttings:

1. First, you want to fill your 4 inch containers with the dampened potting soil.
2. Take the 6 inch cuttings and clip off any flowers or buds. Clip off the bottom leaves leaving only two leaves on the cutting.
3. Make a hole in the potting soil with the pencil–you don’t want to be trying to shove the soft stem into the soil.
4. Put the cuttings into the soil and press the soil up around them. Make sure the places where you cut off the lower leaves is buried.
5. Keep them in a warm place, but shaded form any direct sun. I prefer a kitchen window to protect them from the elements, but where ever they are protected is fine.
6. Leave them moist and in this spot for about a week.
7. You’ll then want to gradually expose them to stronger light until they are in the sun for most of the day. This may take another week.
8. At this point you can transplant them into the garden bed or maybe a large pot, where they will continue to grow and produce some lovely tomatoes for you! This is the best time to give the baby tomato plants to friends so they can start them in their gardens right away.

Read more articles about growing tomatoes...

posted in: tomatoes, propagation

Comments (50)

timonrooster writes: impressive..
Posted: 3:40 am on August 20th
charisbaker writes: useful information
Posted: 2:00 am on August 20th
ballidhoot52 writes: looking great
Posted: 12:26 am on July 27th
lyunmoss writes: useful information
Posted: 5:52 am on July 26th
DonnaCox writes: looks healthy to eat
Posted: 2:12 am on July 26th
Rohit Kumar writes: its looking great
Posted: 6:08 am on September 15th
Dallinlarsen555 writes: nice one
Posted: 3:01 am on September 30th
Dallinlarsen222 writes: lovely
Posted: 3:06 am on September 27th
Dallinlarsen4 writes: beautiful
Posted: 1:30 am on September 17th
Dallin_larsen1 writes: tomato is very nice
Posted: 3:19 am on September 16th
Johnychamp writes: what a picture of tomatoes
Posted: 5:11 am on September 14th
DallinLarsen writes: suspended
Posted: 2:14 am on September 13th
Parkevenew writes: nice
Posted: 3:13 am on August 20th
matthewtweedie writes: looking great
Posted: 12:34 am on August 3rd
RobertCormick writes: fabulous information keep it up !!
Posted: 12:59 pm on July 10th
jacobjohn11 writes: Amazing.
Posted: 12:41 pm on July 7th
FelisaRussell writes: nice work.
Posted: 12:01 pm on July 5th
MacGarnett writes: i love tomoto
Posted: 1:48 pm on June 9th
Andrewlang writes: like it
Posted: 5:15 am on June 2nd
Kavinjose writes: looking so preety
Posted: 5:57 am on May 23rd
jacobgravers writes: awesome
Posted: 1:23 am on May 11th
Brunojohn writes: nice information
Posted: 12:47 pm on May 10th
Davidecristiana writes: its looking great
Posted: 12:51 am on April 29th
DanielVDreyer writes: Great information! I will definitely try at my home.
Posted: 12:22 am on April 20th
alliancelimo writes: very nice information i like it
Posted: 3:26 am on April 4th
dennysmudge writes: Loving your idea.
Posted: 11:37 am on February 4th
ScottSStone writes: Nice information...
Posted: 12:33 am on October 28th
mickysingh writes: well done
Posted: 5:56 am on October 23rd
CarlCGustafson writes: Really helpful information.....
Posted: 12:20 am on October 21st
ajayind writes: organic vegetables good for health and tomatoes also
Posted: 1:59 am on October 20th
prophc writes: love the idea
Posted: 5:27 am on October 10th
Austin_Ayword writes: good help
Posted: 1:53 am on July 6th
Ashtonjames writes: very nice
Posted: 7:11 am on July 2nd
Anna_Bloom writes: nice
Posted: 6:31 am on July 2nd
esteph6 writes: well done
Posted: 5:05 am on July 2nd
Brettlii writes: great job
Posted: 2:11 am on June 27th
Lissa53 writes: Yes I familiar with this
Posted: 6:05 am on June 25th
marktheo writes: " If you keep tomato cuttings warm, the transplanting time frame is cut down to a mere 10 – 14 days."

How warm ? Min/Max extreme limits ?
floor temp 55-65 air 65-75 with heated mat floor 80-100 (?) worked with seeds
for cuttings ?
Posted: 10:33 pm on April 14th
Sandyadkin writes: In spring
Posted: 4:43 am on April 13th
RosieDavis writes: Yes I familiar with this
Posted: 3:14 am on March 30th
Tomatoes_in_Motion writes: Hello, is there any google+ users on here?
I run a page about how to grow tomatoes inside through the Winter. I have only recently started the page so I'm looking for followers. I'd love your contributions to the page as I'm looking into growing my micro Tom cuttings... My page is called Tomatoes in motion
Posted: 4:30 pm on December 10th
jolj writes: Seedlings are cheap & easy to grow.
Transplants are cheap too.
I only root woody plants, not annuals.
But for someone who like the sort of thing your text would help.
Posted: 10:03 pm on April 27th
heni1022 writes: i have a bad habit of letting "suckers" grow too big. when i finally cut them, i stick them in water and let them root in there.
every 2-3 days or so, i put fresh water in.
I LOVE seeing this:
btw: this is 12 days after taking the cutting!!!
this can now go in the ground and in 1-2 weeks i'll have flowers!

There is one single problem with this method: you end up with WAY too many tomato plants... I am up to 100+ and no place to plant them!
What a fantastic problem to have :D
Posted: 3:31 pm on April 21st
jamo237 writes: i would like to say thank you chris i will try this out.
Posted: 7:19 am on September 13th
Robert_Humphries writes: OK, I'd like to try it. My question is: What about next spring? My plants are growing and producing now, so I expect them to give up the ghost last of September, or early October in Tennessee.
Can I take a cutting and grow them over the winter? Cutting them now does me no good, as I have no place else to grow them.
Robert H.
Posted: 4:50 pm on August 25th
tanagaba writes: Wow! I did not know it was so easy. I'm going to try this right now! We still have a couple of warm months left.
Posted: 2:24 pm on August 19th
tiredarms writes: What makes you think, "That being said, the plants are stronger if they are rooted in soil.".

I have never found it to be true.

Did you read it somewhere?
Posted: 7:04 pm on May 4th
curiosity writes: Sounds too good to be try, but I will definitely try it. I love the idea of saving time (60 days to 14 days).
Posted: 12:59 pm on March 14th
Rosamarina writes: Aha! Do I smell a plant thief? Like me? Thank you for the good directions. I have heard you can do this, but there were no real directions. Probably because the advisors thought it was so easy even a dummy could do it. I will try it and use the new plants for barter with my neighbours.

Posted: 8:10 pm on March 13th
nettiepoo writes: i will definitely try it this spring!
Posted: 12:18 pm on March 13th
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