Tomato seedling propagation

(Question)

I am new to gardening and I started cherry tomato plants from the seed.

This morning, when I went to check on the growth and to water them, I noticed a little rock rolling onto one of my smallest seedlings and pushing it to one side.  I tried to carefully remove it with my nails without hurting the seedling, but I cut it almost in half.

The seeding still had some stem coming up from roots but the other half had some stem and the leaves.  Trying to save the plant, I did take the stem & leaf portion and plant that, but I do not know if it will survive.  Will it grow back or what should I expect from this unfortunate dilemma?

I live in Northwest Indiana – the plants get partial sun/shade because they are indoor starters.  I keep their soil moist, but I am unsure what type of soil I have.

 

(Answer)

Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening!

The good news is that growing tomato plants from cuttings is a highly successful method of plant propagation.  Below are the steps to follow when planting your cutting.

1. If you have potting soil available, dampen it, then fill a 4 inch container.  The soil in which you planted the seeds should also be satisfactory.

2. If your cutting has more than one row of leaves, gently snip off the bottom leaves, leaving only the top two leaves.

3. Make a hole in the soil with a pencil rather than trying to push the stem into the soil.

4. Insert the cutting and gently press the soil around the base.  Make sure that the areas where you removed the lower leaves are below the soil surface and buried.

5. Place the container in a location that provides bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist.  After a week, begin to gradually expose the plant to direct sunlight.  This transition should take another week.

It is also possible to root cuttings in water before planting, but the above method is preferable.

As for the portion of your seedling (stem) remaining in the pot, it may or may not grow a new stem & leaves from the roots alone.  It’s worth a try so keep on taking care of it.

If you want to learn more about caring for your plants during the growing season, there is a wealth of information available on the Toronto Master Gardeners website.  To access it, type “tomatoes” in the box on the right side of the screen titled “Find it Here”.

Wishing you a successful growing season and a bountiful harvest!