How to Take Tomato Cuttings to Root and Grow Indoors

Get a jumpstart on plants to grow indoors when you take tomato cuttings rather than starting new plants from seeds. Root them in water and plant them in pots.

How to take tomato cuttings

Tomato cuttings with Tomato Dirt

Use a sharp knife or garden clippers to cut a branch from a tomato plant. (If you’re in a special hurry to root a new tomato plant, cut a lower branch that already has root initials.) Section the branch to smaller cuttings that have at least two sets of leaves.

Place cuttings in a jar of water or a rooting vase on the windowsill. Label the jar with the correct tomato variety. Use a separate jar for each variety of cuttings you root.  Replace water in jars every few days to prevent the spread of algae and disease. Watch for roots to sprout from the tomato stem. They will be light-colored and extend downward into the jar.

Once a cutting develops a strong set of roots, plant it in a seed cell tray. Use a good potting mix. Move to a transplant pot after a couple of weeks.

If weather is still warm, move newly-planted tomatoes outdoors. Place them in the shade or a protected area rather than direct sunlight. Allow them to harden off for several days. Plants can remain outside until temperatures get cool.

During winter months, bring plants inside and set in a sunny window, under grow lights, or in a greenhouse (find greenhouse plans here).

Take cuttings from indoor tomatoes to grow in your spring garden

In late winter, take cuttings from indoor plants and root them as outlined above.

Plant new seedlings in cell packs. Transplant them to a 4-6” pot when they have two sets of leaves.

Harden them off and set them out in the garden as soon as the forecast allows.

You’ll enjoy an extra-early crop of fresh tomatoes – plus by rooting your own cuttings you’ll save money!


Get more tips on our Indoor Tomatoes Pinterest board.

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