Tomato grafting is very popular among home gardeners. We sell grafting clips and root stock seeds everyday. In fact, we cannot keep them in stock.

Plant grafting has been done for hundreds of years. Grafting is done with many different plants, not just with tomatoes. My in-laws used grafting with some of their apple trees in their apple orchard. David and I have not done grafting but some of our family members have. This article deals just with the grafting of tomatoes.

Some varieties of tomatoes and other plants are susceptible to disease so it is better for some to graft these types of tomatoes to root stock.

Root stock grows from seed to look like sticks with nothing growing on them. Then you cut the root stock and graft a piece of tomato plant into the root stock using grafting clips.

In the video below, shot on January 13, 2015, David shows how to graft a tomato plant on to a tomato root stock during a presentation to his BNI meeting.

Below is a very brief explanation of grafting for tomato plants.

(Scroll down to see our successful graft.)

There are three kinds of grafting used for tomato plants, approach grafting, tube grafting, and cleft grafting.

Approach grafting is when you cut opposing tongue notches in the root stock and the shoot of the plant that produces fruit, also known as a scion. With this type of graft, the shoot is not cut off from its own root system until after the graft heals. They fit together with spring-loaded grafting clips. Both the root stock and the tomato plant are potted together until the grafting is healed. Then the scion is severed from the original root.

Tube grafting uses silicon grafting clips when the plants are very small.

Cleft grafting uses a V-shaped cut in the scion which is placed into the top of the root stock which has been sliced vertically down the center. Hold it together with a spring-loaded grafting clip.

The grafting clips should stay on the plant for seven to ten days  to make sure the grafted branch attaches to the root stock. Then the clips should be removed so the plant can grow without being damaged by the clips.

Below are pictures of the seeds I have started for tomato grafting. They are in order as I started them on 12-11-2014.  I have tried to add a picture each week.

Some things to keep in mind.  The plants will need sun or artificial light for at least 12-14 hours a day.  In most places, these are started in the winter time so sun may not be available for this long.  You will need grow lights if this is the case.

Sometimes just putting these in the window may not work since most windows will not get this amount of sunlight.  If the plants do not get the right amount of sunlight, they will grow tall and thin instead of short and stubby.  Tall and thin they will never perform correctly and may even die.

Be careful when buying pre-made growing products with pre-drilled holes for planting.  I have found that many of these have holes that are 3/4 to 1 inch deep which is way to deep for these.  1/4 inch is all it takes for many types of seeds.

Below are some of my tomato plants at about four weeks.  My rootstock is doing fine but the sicon are trailing.  I guess I should have started the sicons first.  There is no exact science on this.  The sicons could have grow faster than the rootstock. 

For tomato grafting let the plants heal in a humidity zone at about 90% and in the dark for the first 24 to 48 hours. (something I did not do)

One thing I learned about this is that the sicon should be started about one week before the rootstock.  Below are pictures of my successful tomato graft.  I will be doing another fifty of these for our trail.  (I did not get to do these--too many spoons in the pot)

Below is a picture of my plants after the hail storm hit them.  It tore everything off that was sticking above the tee pee. 

I thought I had downloaded the picture so I deleted it.  But here is the plant as it looks today.

I guess I blew it all the way around with this set of pictures.

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More on Tomato Grafting

In the picture below is a grafted tomato plant I pulled up at the end of the season.  You will notice that the roots base is larger and the roots are longer than the usual non-grafted plants.  Usually I can just pull up old tomato plants with no problem.  This one though, I had to put some effort into in order to take it out of the ground.

In the picture below is my tomatoes at the end of the season.  I did not take care of them as well as I should have but we have a whole new set up for 2016.

Return from Tomato Grafting to Growing Tomatoes

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Germination Tips

When starting seeds, the most important thing to remember is not to plant the seeds too deep. Believe it or not, less than 1/4 inch deep into the dirt will do.

The seed is a living embryo that contains enough energy to germinate and break the surface. But if planted too deep, it will run out of energy and die before it breaks the surface.

Keep the soil moist, but not wet, with a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over watering will drown the seed. Here is a good rule to follow: The dirt should be moist like brown sugar up to the first knuckle of your finger. If it is dry like salt, the dirt is too dry for your seeds to germinate. If it is wet like cake batter, then it is too wet.

The best watering is bottom watering. Put your starter pots in a tray and let them soak up the water they need until they germinate. Pour the water in the tray, not in each pot. Watering the top of the pot can dislodge the germinating seeds and kill them.

Seeds should germinate in about 7 to 14 days, and sometimes even 21 days, depending on the seed type.

If you are starting your seeds indoors, seeds need 12 to 14 hours of daylight a day. A grow light will be needed. A regular florescent or lamp light will not do the job.

This means you will need to make a small investment. Putting your pots on a window sill will not work in most cases. If the seeds do not get enough light, they will grow tall and thin and then die.

Cherry tomatoes
Texas bluebonnets

A pumpkin from our garden.
Growing cucumbers in your garden is easy.