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I have a pair of indeterminate tomato plants in the garden, which gave me quite an impressive harvest, but now the weather turned and the vast majority of the leaves have shrivelled up and died.

I was told however, instead of just ripping it up off the ground, I should trim off most of the branches and prune it in a particular manner (trimming off branches coming from the main, but leaving a small nib), such that it'll regrow anew next season instead of me having to start over.

I tried researching it, but could find nothing about it. Is it worth giving it a try? How exactly should I be pruning it?

  • What do you mean 'the weather turned'?? Please post pictures. This is seriously fascinating to me...not ever have grown tomatoes in a tropical environment!! – stormy Sep 27 '17 at 20:58
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If you get frost in your region, I doubt your tomato plant will survive the winter to grow again in spring. That said, I have grown a 6ft tomato plant from a 3" section of stem with roots but no leaves. After several weeks of nothing suddenly leaves started budding out of the stem. It was kept inside on a warm sunny windowsill until the plant was fully leafy and 8-10" tall. Based on that, possibly, if you could protect a section of the stem (8"??) with roots from frost, perhaps with a cover like a thick cloth, for the winter I could imagine it restarting come spring. This might be a fun experiment, but I wouldn't count on the plants surviving.

A more reliable method I know of is to collect the suckers (new growth between the main stem and branches) and plant them in the potting soil until they grow roots and then can be planted in the garden. You can view each sucker as a brand new tomato plant, an exact clone of the original. Here is a link with some more specifics on collecting suckers.

If it is cold in your region, you will need to keep the suckers indoors or possibly in a greenhouse as long as the temperatures stay above 50 degrees. The main issues will be giving the tomatoes enough light and warmth to make it through the winter. Depending on the size and maturity of your tomato plants come spring you might want to take suckers off your suckers and start some fresh plants for the summer garden. Who knows maybe you will even be eating tomatoes in February!

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    Well, we don't get any frost in the region, even 50 degrees would be considered very cold by local standards, so I think it should be fine in that respect. Might give the sucker collection thing a try as well whilst I'm at it. – Haedrian Sep 27 '17 at 19:05
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    Always encourage putting your zone information in the original question so responses are more relevant to your situation – JStorage Sep 27 '17 at 19:54
  • If the temps don't go below 50 (including at night) then you shouldn't have a problem keeping a tomato growing indefinitely.. or at least for a few years. Since your region isn't very cold I'm surprised that your leaves shriveled up and died. It is possible your tomato plant has a disease that caused the leaves to die off. If you suspect a disease you can post another question on the forum with pictures and we can try to help you figure out what is going on. – 1800-94-Jenny Sep 27 '17 at 20:05
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    I for one would love to see actual tomato plants grown as perennials. I always think it is a blessing that the plants die from year to year with as many diseases tomatoes love to attract. I know they are supposed to be perennial but guess I don't live where tomatoes can be grown this way...please post some pictures!! – stormy Sep 27 '17 at 20:56

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