It stays warm enough here in Mississippi that we sometimes get the chance to have a second crop of tomatoes and other vegetables. For those of us who love home-grown tomatoes, it is definitely worth replanting to try and get a second round. At this time of year, it’s impossible to find any tomato plants in our local stores. So in lieu of purchasing plants, I decided to root some suckers for the new plants.
How To Root Tomato Plants from Cuttings
It’s actually pretty easy to do. Tomato plants will root fairly easily from the stem. If you’ve ever seen a plant that has toppled over, you might have noticed roots starting to form at the places where it touched the soil.
Making Tomato Cuttings
Generally cuttings should be about six inches long, with the leaves removed from the bottom 2-3 inches. I took my cuttings from the tops of the plant as well as from some suckers that were growing further down the plant. (Suckers are the shoots that grow at the intersection of the main stem and a branch.)
Be sure to remove any tomatoes or flowers from the cutting. This gives the cutting a better chance to produce roots as the energy of the plant isn’t going into reproductive parts.
Potting Your Cuttings
Fill a small pot (4-6 inches) with potting soil and moisten it thoroughly. Gently stick your cutting in the middle of the pot and press the soil around it firmly.
I kept my pots in a container with a little bit of water in the bottom of it for the first two days. This allowed the soil to soak up the water from below and remain moist. After the second day, I drained the water, but kept the cuttings in the container for ease of transport.
I also put some cuttings directly in water for the first week. They developed roots and then I planted them in soil. I don’t see much difference in this method.
Adjusting to Full Sun
Keep your tomatoes in a shady place for the first week, then, if they are developing roots, gradually ease them in to the light until at last they are in full sun. Do this slowly, making sure not to burn the plants. This could take as long as a week or week and a half. You can gently tug on your tomato cuttings to see if they are developing roots. If they resist a bit, there are some roots there.
After your plants have adjusted to the light conditions, transplant them into larger pots and place a tomato cage or other support around the plant.