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Tomato cuttings - Is letting them put roots in water before planting a waste of time?

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Aldo, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Aldo

    Aldo Gardener

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    Hello everybody,

    Last year I put tomato suckers in water to develop roots, which took 3 weeks, and then planted them out to establish, which took another good 3 weeks.

    I just read from someone stating that the roots which develop in water are different from the roots tomatoes would need in soil, so upon planting in soil they have to develop a further root system. As such, that gardener suggested, we are all better off planting cuttings directly into potting soil, as that saves time.
    Somebody replied that they are careful to only let the tip of roots into water, which requires to set with a paper clip the stem progressively higher in the water jar. Supposedly doing so forces cuttings to develop "soil roots" rather than "water roots", which will establish faster once planted.

    Is there any truth to either theories, as far as you know?

    My tomato plants got mixed up as plugs, I did not trim them at all until now, in the hope to tell apart bush varieties from cordon ones.
    So I have a ton of suckers now, and I am planning to turn them into another 20 or so productive plants (when life gives you lemons, make tomatoes..), but obviously the faster I can have them establish themselves the better, also considered this Summer does not look too sunny.

    Thanks,
    Aldo
     
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener

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    It's getting very late unless you have a greenhouse you probably won't get a crop from them.

    I would not faff about with water, put them straight into compost, they root very quickly.
     
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    • Mike Allen

      Mike Allen Total Gardener

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      Hi Aldo. This is one of the many intersting things about gardening. It allows you to experiment. I have no need to grow toms, so no cuttings etc. It may be of some interest. Newly produced roots either having been produced in a soil based enviroment or in water, are the same. In either case they will be quite delicate. It is only when the root sytem begins to, if you like, draw nourishment from the growing medium that changes take place.

      Saint paulias, African Violets have a similar vascula system to tomato plants and others. In such cases, no need to take cutting just below a leaf node. (some cuttings require the former). Saint Paulia cuttings take off well in water. Take a jar and cover the top with a piece of polythene, secure it with a rubber band. Make a few holes in the covering, about 3/4 fill with water and pop the leaf stems though it, just allowing the ends to be in the water. Keep the water level topped up. IMO there is no reason this wouldn't work for other cuttings.
       
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      • Aldo

        Aldo Gardener

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        Thanks for all the info, Mike!
        I will give it a go then, and see how it goes.

         
      • Aldo

        Aldo Gardener

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        Thanks John, you are right that it is already late in the season, I might be just kidding myself :)
        I do have two mini greenhouses and a large gazebo, so I could try sheltering a few.

        In reality, I was hoping to try Allen Cooper approach, basically pinching out the top of each plant after it sets the firt truss of fruits. In theory, that should limit fruit production but speed up a great deal maturing of those already set.

        It is not something I would like to try on my grafted plants, which I will let develop 7 feet like last year. But for late cuttings it sounds like a good option.
        In his book, James Wong seems to be very positive that it works,
        I was wondering, have you experimented with it yourself by any chance?
         
      • JWK

        JWK Gardener

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        Hi Aldo, yes I do use that method of keeping just one truss but for getting early fruit. It does work so should for you to get a late crop
         
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        • Aldo

          Aldo Gardener

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          Thanks, I will give it a try then.
          I just planted in pots 20 or so cuttings and put them in one mini greenhouse, sheltered from direct light.
          Fingers crossed at least some will make it!
           
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