I’ve been growing my own tomatoes for years but can’t believe that I’ve only just found out how to multiply your tomato plants in this way!
This handy trick appeals on so many levels: the cuttings needed to make the new plants are just the unwanted side shoots from the original mother plant, that would normally just end up on the compost heap. So you are not sacrificing anything, just putting the whole plant to good use. This method is also a lot quicker than planting direct from seed, because the little plantlets will give you a head start.
When I read about this propagation method I knew it would work, as I had some great results last summer making lots more basil plants . But since I grow them outside, and we live in the UK, I thought it might take too long and it would be too late to actually produce any ripe tomatoes.
I needn’t have worried, because the cuttings in the picture above were put in water on a bright window sill for only one week, and tomato plants grow so quickly, they’ll be ready to plant out and flowering in no time at all.
- It all starts from the mother plant, so you need a good quality organic tomato plant that is the cordon type, not the bush variety. This means they grow upwards from a central stem with side branches which bear long trusses of tomatoes.
- This type of plant needs support from a sturdy cane and to be tied in at regular intervals as it grows upwards.
- The side suckers appear at the junction between the main stem and the side branches, and if left to grow the plant puts too much energy into leaf growth and so the overall yield of tomatoes will suffer.
- Just pinch or snip them off when they are around 3-4 inches long and put them straight into a clear bottle of water.
- Keep them in a bright window and in a few days you will see lots of tiny roots sprouting from from the stem.
- Allow these to develop for a week or so before planting into potting soil in the usual way.
- It’s so satisfying to make more plants instead of just throwing the cuttings away.
- When you have lots of tomatoes to use up, why not try my recipe for Roasted Tomatoes With Garlic and Basil.