Experiment: To see if you can clone a tomato plant while it is still attached to the parent plant and how effective such a cloning method might work.
The following tomato plant was cloned from a Purple Cherokee (Heirloom) tomato plant.
The stem of a side branch was not cut or nicked. Left as it was.
We used a plastic water bottle, bottom cut off and the side slit from end to end.
We wrapped the stalk with the bottle and taped the slit to maintain integrity of the shape.
It also helped to retain the brand name store bought organic potting soil we put in (ran out of plain peat moss). While the potting soil I used may or may not be organic as the bag claims, it is of little consequence when that is all I had to use at the time and will not impact the experiment. When in doubt, the soil can be hosed off if desired. But that is not what we did.
Tied the bottle with string to the tomato cage.
Watered as needed with collected rainwater.
Today, 3 weeks later we have an abundance of roots.
We also transplanted the 'cutting' today as well. It was transplanted in the yard dirt adjacent to some established garlic plants, not in the garden.
Theory has it that while the stem was growing roots, the remainder of the stem was fed by the main plant and it's roots thus obtaining energy & nutrients needed for root development and additional growth.
Assuming nature cooperates, the plant is expected to grow quite nicely and produce earlier than a traditional stem cut in water due to less transplant shock and a more established root system.
See below pictures:
Questions: What would happen if we rooted a stem in more dirt and left it attached to the plant? It would provide an additional root system for nutrient uptake and water as well. But would the plant as a whole benefit from such a condition? Or just that section?