Cloning plants may sound like a very complicated, scientific project, but it’s actually quite easy. Weather you want to stay more traditional and use rockwool cubes or invest in a cloning machine, any home gardener can clone a mature tomato plant and fill your indoor garden. Once you grow or buy the first plant you will be able to live off many generations of the same plant by cloning, for free! Follow these easy instructions so you can successfully clone tomato plants.
Get everything prepared before moving to the cutting phase. You are going to want to grab a pair of pruners or scissors and alcohol wipes to clean your cutting utensil. It is always smart to wipe off your pruners each time you take new clones because even the smallest amount of bacteria will lead to unsuccessful rooting of your new plants. Make sure to have your neoprene inserts ready to place right into your cloning machine.
If you want to do this the traditional way with rockwool then you will need to have a tray to place them in. No need for drainage holes in the container for the cloning process. You will want to make sure your rockwool starter cubes are PH’d before sticking in your cuttings. As soon as the shoot is cut from the parent plant many growers like to dip their cutting into a rooting gel and to increase the rate of success. If you are going to do this make sure to pour some rooting compound into a shallow cup.
Mature Tomato Plant
You will need one healthy, mature plant. At the location along the plant stem where large branches grow out will be a ‘V’ formation. In the ‘V’ you will see a new shoot (also called a start or sucker) growing. This is where you will take you cutting to create the new clone.
Make the Cut
Locate the shoots nearest to the bottom of the plant. These will make the best clones, but shoots from anywhere along the parent plant will also make new plants. Use a pair of sharp snips or scissors to cut the shoot off the parent plant. Make one clean cut close to the main stem of the parent plant. Once the initial sucker cut away from the parent plant I make a proper Tomato Clone45 degree cut make the cutting approximately 5-8 inches in height. The 45 degree cut is important because it increases the potential rooting surface area of the cutting.
Dip the cut end of the shoot into rooting compound to coat it. If you are using rockwool you will want to stick the cutting right into the middle. Once you make all your cutting you want to place them under a humidity dome keeping the environment warm and moist. Repeat with as many shoots as desired.
Rooting your Tomato Cuttings
My preferred method of cloning plants involves using an automatic cloning machine. They are so easy to use that it can really be explained in two steps. First, fill up the cloning machine resevoir with tap water, and step two is to plug it in! A product like the PsyCloner uses an aerating pump to keep the water oxygenated. Using a cloning system like this will get you perfect roots in 7 days every time, guaranteed. It truly takes the pain and stress out of the cloning process. A system like this makes cloning plants a dream!
Place your fresh cuttings in a bright, warm location. When using rockwool, many growers will use heating pads set on a low setting to helps make a nice warm environment for the clones. Mist the rockwool with water when it becomes dry. In a few days the cut-off shoots will develop their own root system and will be ready to transplant into a container or garden in 10 days.