Growing Tomatoes From Side Shoots

When you grow tomato plants you will find plenty of side shoots coming off them, which are traditionally removed and thrown away.

However, these don’t have to be wasted and can be turned into new tomato plants. If it is later in the season then this technique won’t work because there isn’t the time for the tomato plant to mature, but early in the season this is a great way to get extra tomato plants.

I particularly like this technique for making more heritage or rare tomatoes. I bought some Black Russian tomato plants and they weren’t cheap so I only got two but I took the side shoots off and grew them on and ended up with about a dozen plants. The tomatoes from the side shoots tend to mature later in the season, but it does mean you get a nice late crop of tomatoes! You may benefit from keeping these in a greenhouse or on a windowsill so they get the heat they need to ripen.

It’s very easy to propagate these side shoots.

Firstly you need to choose a good sized side shoot and then very carefully pinch it off. I would recommend using scissors or secateurs but be very careful not to damage the main stem.

pinching off tomato shoots

Then you need to put the shoot in a glass or water on a sunny window sill and leave it for a few days.

growing tomato side shoots

When a good root system has established it can be removed from the glass of water and planted on.

Tomato Roots Close up

These are then planted on as normal.

Tomato Seedlings In Pot

Simple isn’t it?

Of course you are going to get a lot of these side shoots and it isn’t practical to grow them all on. Many of them you will simply discard but for expensive tomato varieties or if you realise you have some spare space this is a great way to get extra tomato plants.

Remember to check out my book on growing tomatoes for more practical tips on growing a fantastic crop at home – Growing Tomatoes – Your Guide To Growing Delicious Tomatoes At Home!


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