Introduction: Grow Cherry Tomatoes From Cuttings. a Newbie's Guide.
GROWTH UPDATE April 17, 2014: Check Step 8 for cuttings growth.
I do have a small terrace garden mostly filled with pothos and lots of hanging baskets with ornamental plants but with an exception of some edible plants like basil and cherry tomatoes.
I love to eat cherry tomatoes and it was difficult to find them in my city. I always wanted to grow them in containers, I tried with seeds after reading tons of online articles. I have had several failures but finally I succeeded. Before I got success with seeds one day I found a large cherry tomato plant in one of my relative's place. I was so desperate to have a cherry tomato plant that I asked them to give me a few cuttings which they were hesitant to give and told me that it is not possible to grow tomatoes like that. But I insisted like a child and they gave up. I cut few cuttings on my own (they kept an eye on me, because they spotted greed in my eyes LOL)
Honestly I was also not sure how I am going to grow those cuttings. But later on I did grow not just one but many plants. And this is the tutorial about what I did after I picked those cuttings.
IMHO growing tomatoes from seeds is fun and I have been growing it but I like this approach better especially if you have a container garden :).
This ible is for anyone who always thought of having a cherry tomato plant at home but never dared to grow one:)
Take my words it is easy.
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Step 1: Stuff You Need
You would need
- A healthy cherry tomato plant or have someone who can give you some cuttings.
- A pruning tool or a sharp scissor.
- Some disposable mugs of depth 4". If you have bigger cuttings you may choose a bigger cup. You can also choose small bottles.
- Some water.
- Gardening soil and a container later to transplant.
Step 2: Selecting What to Cut
The most important part about growing cherry tomatoes from cuttings is to choose the right cutting which in my opinion is an easy job to do if you know the following:
You should have or have access to a healthy cherry tomato plant. Like the one (grown from cuttings :) ) in the picture above growing in my container garden in my terrace.
Before you grab your pruning tool and start cutting, I suggest you keep the following things in mind or educate yourself about it
- Always pick a healthy plant. In my case I usually select a plant which is past its prime but is healthy.
- Sometimes due to harsh wind, many tender branches in my plants gets broken. I use them too.
- Avoid cuttings which are flowering.
Usually it is best to cut a sucker. What is that ??? But you can pick any branch too (I have had no problems) , just follow the rules above.
SUCKER : The shoots that sprout in the “V” between a tomato plant's main stem and its branches. see the second picture above
If you are still not sure to prune your tomato plant, i suggest you read this very good article about pruning the tomato suckers.
Suckers are said to suck nutrients from plants and therefore hinders its growth, many professional gardners recommend pruning them but it is debatable. See this article for some insights.
Having equipped with the information above, prune your (or your neighbor's who is retired & a gardener :D) cherry tomato plant to 4"-8" cuttings. If you had to cut the ones with flowers, pinch the flowers.
Step 3: Put the Cuttings in Water
See images and follow:
- Pick those disposable cups.
- Fill them with 80% with water.
- Put your cuttings in it.
- Mark a date on each cup, this way you will know how much time it took to root.
- Place the arrangement is shade.
- Wait for a week or 10 days
While you are waiting, you need to do few things :
- Check daily for water levels.
- Change water every two days.
- If any of the leaves rot, remove them.
Step 4: Sweet Surprise. the Roots
After a week or 10 days (depending on climatic conditions in your area), you should be able see that cuttings are rooted.
Keep an eye on your cuttings for another week or so till the roots are at least an inch long. I went out of town for 3 days so I found the roots even bigger when I came back.
Your plants is ready to be transplanted in container. Unlike plants grown from seeds, the wait is much lesser here.
Step 5: Transplant
You can easily grow 3-4 cherry tomato plants in a 10" container.
See images and follow:
- Fill the pot with gravel (for excess water drainage) and then garden soil (must be well drained). You can buy soil or prepare yourself. I prepare my soil using 50% black grown soil, 40% cow dung manure, 10% sand. I also added a hand full of coco peat to promote better moisture retention because it gets really hot here in this season.
- Water the soil such that the soil it all wet. This is important because you do not want to water those tiny plants to prevent leaves from rotting.
- Wait for few minutes for the soil to set.
- Now using your finger or a wooden stick, dig 3 holes (I have 3 plants) of about 4"-5" depending on the length of cuttings.
- Place your rooted cuttings carefully, try to keep the roots free from getting coiled.
- Hold the plant with your one hand and put soil in the hole, keep pushing the soil gently.
- Water the pot a little in the middle, this will make the plant feels like home :).
- Keep it in shade for a day.
- If you notice the plant is in shock, keep in shade for another day.
- Then keep the container in a sunny area. Like tomatoes, cherry tomatoes also requires bright sunlight for at least 5-7 hours but I have had success with 4-5 hours too.
Step 6: My Recent Harvest
The pictures above shows my recent harvest from the fully grown cherry tomato plants grown using the cuttings:)
I will update this ible with growth updates for pictures of the plants I used in this ible.
Step 7: Care and Final Thoughts
Cherry tomato plants in containers do needs little care like all plants:
- I water them almost daily unless it is raining, because it is very hot in my city in India. I water alternate or every 2 days in winters (my city does not have snow or frost). I check with my finger if the soil on top is dried at least half an inch, I water them a little in winters.
- I use general purpose liquid plant nutrition which can be sprayed. I use it once a week.
- Every 15 days I spray my plants with neem oil mixed in water (Neemastra is a an excellent organic pesticide) to prevent any pests or diseases.
- I rarely do pruning unless I want to propagate more plants like I recently did.
- When the plants grow Tall , I either use jute rope to provide them support. This variety of cherry tomato which I have grows like 5-6 feet. Sometimes I also tie thin bamboo sticks around the pot for support.
Thank you for your time to read this ible. I hope you have found my experience with growing cherry tomatoes from cutting helpful. Should have any questions, feedback or suggestions, please put them in the comments below.
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Step 8: Growth Update April 17, 2014
I planted 3 cuttings but sadly only one of them survived because I went out of town for 2 days and there was no one at home to water them in this hot weather. Out of 3 one surprisingly survived probably because that side of the container did not get enough direct sunlight (You can see in the picture that the cutting was planted in corner).
Now it stays in full sun and it has grown almost a feet tall and even started to flower. I am sure in a week or two I should be able to update with fruits.
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