Rootstock recommendation for grafting tomatoes

5 years ago

This last season I grafted most of my tomato plants to a rootstock called Colossus and had amazing success. As I prepare for next year's crop, I've been looking to buy more rootstock seed but can't seem to find any seed houses selling Colossus. I've found Maxifort, SuperNatural, and a few others that are named after a bunch of numbers and letters. I would prefer to use what I already have experience with but unless I can find a dealer, it would appear that I need use a different rootstock. Maxifort has been advertised as super vigorous while SuperNatural is advertised as being more balanced...whatever that means. I'd like to hear peoples experience with either of these rootstocks or others that are readily available on the market.

Comments (9)

  • fusion_power

    Look for Multifort. It is a bit less vigorous than Maxifort, which is actually an advantage given that Maxifort is too vigorous. Multifort is also a tad more disease tolerant.

  • digdirt2

    DRO141TX - less aggressive so easier to balance fruit productivity with leaf growth.


  • pappabell

    Annapolis Seeds,NS

  • fusion_power

    Estamino is available from several suppliers. It is comparable to slightly better than Colossus in most required traits.

  • yardenman

    I tried to graft tomatoes last year and failed completely, even with a warm humidity chamber. I tried to go at it cheap, using Big Beef rootstock (I had enough seeds and figured "why not")?

    But I also waited too long to do the grafts. So I think I'm going to try the Big Beef rootstock again and do the grafting earlier. I plant enough so that I have plenty of ungrafted seedlings. Its just something I'm playing around with right now. If I can get any grafts to work, I'll try the more expensive rootstocks next year.

    Just for learning the technique, I may try grafting some back onto the original roots. I used 60 and 45 degree cuts last year. I may try a few V cuts this year.

    I just need to see if I can get the grafts to work, first. It seems more an art than a science.

  • bear999


    I tried grafting for the first time last year. I practiced all winter long. I got 0% yield the first couple of times I tried. But by the time February rolled around, I had the process nailed down and got >90% yield. The key learnings I got were 1) you need very good contact between the rootstock and scion and 2) you need to dial in the recipe for the healing chamber.

    For #1, I found that getting good contact is extremely difficult with an angled cut because if the angles are off by even just a little, you get a gap and it's game over. I tried all kinds of jigs to help make the angled cuts uniform and repeatable, but I didn't have a lot of luck. So I ended up going with a basic horizontal flat cut. After that, my yields improved dramatically. The way I do it is I put a grafting clip on the rootstock and scion. I then lay a razor blade on the top surface of the clip and make the cut. This gives me a nice flat cut that is very repeatable.

    The 2nd thing is to nail down the recipe for the healing chamber. The recipe will be different depending on what setup you have. I use a propagation kit with an extra deep dome. I put about 1/2" of hot tap water in the tray and then place a heating mat underneath the tray to keep the water warm. It takes 8 days for the healing to occur. The first 4 days I have a towel draped over the dome to maintain complete darkness and keep things warm. On the 5th day, I remove the towel, open one of the vents in the dome, and turn on one lamp (for 12 hrs). On the 6th day, I open the 2nd vent and introduce a second lamp. On the 7th day, I crack open the dome to lower the humidity even more and introduce a third lamp. On the 8th day I remove the dome completely and stay with the three lamps. On the 9th day, the plants are healed and ready to go under the lights in the garage.

    The best way to fine tune the recipe is to graft a plant onto itself. This way you eliminate the contact goodness as a variable and you can focus on getting the recipe right.

    Good luck!

  • yardenman

    Amazing. I thought a flat cut was the WORST way to go! Live and learn.

    I have a humidity stand and it was warm upstairs where I had it, but I didn't use extra heat. I'll try that.

    And I think, (from your description) that I left the grafted seedlings in the dark too long.

    Thanks for all the advice!

  • ryliu_us

    I first cut off the root stock crown a bit above and the the scion a bit below where I am actually going to make the final cut. Then I shave off some leaves and cotyledon so the rootstock and scion is easy to work with. After that, hold the scion stem right next to the rootstock stem and cut both at 45 degree with a single cut of shaving blade. That way, the cut angle will be the same. I think the key with top graft is that the plants have to be really small, like stems of 2 to 3 mm. That's smaller than what people realize. If the plants gets bigger, or the stem sizes don't match up perfectly, best to do an approach graft or cleft graft.

  • rick9748

    Drop dead simple method for perfect degree cuts. Cut off foliage of root stock then cut off scion where meets soil.Lay side by side and math size of stems. Push both stems together and make one cut. + exact match on angle of cuts. Saw on YT Purdue U grafting methods.Never try to make 2 different cuts!!

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