What a difference grafting (vegetables) makes!


I didn’t plan well, and had to leave for an extended weekend while my grafts were healing. None survived. I’m sure I can do it now and I have the stuff, so looking forward to getting started.

I will say this, 2018 convinced me that grafting is my future. I’ve seen enough side-by-side examples now that I know it can work great in humid growing regions.


They seem have more diseases resistance,but no conclusions.

To me grafting tomato is a curiosity, trying something new.

I also grafted tomato plants onto potato. I got a lot tomatoes, but didn’t get any potatoes as I was hoping. I am not sure what went wrong, theoretically, it should grow tomatoes above the grafting point, and grow potatoes under soil level. It seemed , the plant exhausted its energy to produce tomatoes, and left no energy to grow root crop


I feel like I accomplished a pretty good initial evaluation of using Rootstocks for tomatoes in my hot/humid 7A and more specifically using Maxifort and RST-04-106-T with 5 different heirloom types - Opalka, Cherokee Green, Black from Tula, Stump of the World and a beefsteak I keep that came up as a chance seedling from Prudens Purple one year… I planted 3 of each of the 5 different varieties with one on its own root, one on Maxifort and one on RST-04-106-T - total of 15 plants. The only one I didn’t have with both types of rootstocks was Stump of the world where my Maxifort graft didn’t make it, so that one had own root, plus 2 on RST-04-106-T. They were all grown as a single stem, and the few extra Maxiforts grafts I wound up with were just put in cages, which they quickly overwhelmed as they developed into monster plants.

All of my grafted tomatoes survived the season, while 3 of the 5 non-grafted were dead from one disease or another by mid-August. So just on survival alone it is well worth doing for me and I expect to only plant grafted tomatoes from now on. Outside of the grafting test, I grew some other heirloom types as single stem which also survived pretty well, so I think that approach seems to help a lot with keeping good airflow around the plants, plus taking off lower leaves as they grow helps keep all foliage higher off the ground vs. a more sprawling multi-stem. I think my grafted plants were more productive as well, although that may just be because they were healthier.

I did notice later fruiting with Maxifort, particularly for some of the larger fruiting beefsteak types. I think if you’re growing them undercover with a really long season and just keep lowering the vines, the vigor and strength of Maxifort is probably worth it, but for growing out in the open, I’d prefer they start fruiting earlier. With the few extra Maxifort grafts I wound up with and just let grow, they got huge by the end of the season. I did notice that Maxifort kept the tomatoes coming in large, whereas the RST-04-106-T and own root plants had some smaller fruit later in the season. Based on the 2 I tried, I will go with RST-04-106-T for most of my plants, maybe trying a few Maxifort with some smaller growing types like Lucky Tiger to see if it beefs up the plants and gives me more total production.

One disappointment is that I was hoping the rootstocks would help out with blossom end rot that I always get on some of my Opalkas which are notoriously susceptible. Unfortunately I still had some BER and it was about the same percentage on each of the grafted tomatoes and on its own root. So I guess a vigorous rootstock like Maxifort doesn’t fix whatever the weekness is with Opalka. Oh well.

@PatapscoMike, sorry to hear that you didn’t have good luck with your grafts. I was looking forward to hearing how the DRO141TX grafts grew and produced, since that sounds like a promising alternative to Maxifort and I’d love to see how they do around here. I may look around to see if I can find a reasonable size packet to give them a try this year, but I don’t think I’ll spring for a packet of 50, which is the smallest Johnny’s sells.

Anyone else use DRO141TX, RST-04-106-T or any of the others besides Maxifort and see some interesting results? There are just so many different types of rootstock to try and it is hard to know which might be worth trying.


I had great survival of melons grafted onto African horned melon. All of my undrafted plants collapsed from nematodes and died as fruits were sizing up. Visual inspection of roots showed a night as ne day difference I. Galling between grafted and non grafted. However I had zero fruits to harvest due to pickle worms. If I can figure out how to stop the worms then I should be all set. I plan to graft again this year.

I also have nematode trouble on tomatoes and plan to graft them this year. I usually get one early crop then the plants slow down and roots show major galling problems. Anyone know of a rootstock that will resist nematodes? I don’t really have much trouble with blight, just nematodes.


There are quite a few showing nematode resistance in this chart:

But many of them may not be easy to get or not too well tested for home growers. Since you are in a warmer zone, you might want to try Maxifort even though it may take a little longer to start fruiting. Estamino is another that looks to have nematode resistance and is available from a number of seed companies.


I lost a Paul Robeson that was grafted, and had a second do poor. Bear Claw survived on it’s own roots. The other plants grew well, but were late to set, and not very productive. I loved the Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Bear Claw tomatoes I did get.
We now have large 270 gal square tanks we have cut in half for growing in, so hubby wants me to try clean soil and self rooted plants this year.
Going to try a determinate paste tomato, and maybe aunt ruby, stump and bear claw again.
We also had problems with blossom end rot on most varieties, grafted or not.
I used supernatural and estimino.


I am going to do it again this spring. Last year I did not take the care I had in the previous year and the plants did not do as well. As a result, this winter I find that I really missed having the frozen melons for smoothies, and I regret not taking the time to make sure the plants were large enough before transplanting outside.

Up here in the northern hemisphere bigger transplants for grafted melons is key. The smaller 6 inch pots did not produce like my previous 1 gal. transplants did the year before. One gallon transplants yielded around 35 melons for 3 plants and I got maybe 4 this summer.


Since Sun Gold grows so well for me I tried using them for rootstock. That did not provide any improvement with the tomatoes I did. Next I’ll have to get some seeds of the recommended rootstock to see if that helps under my growing conditions. Disease has been a big problem and last summer it was unusually wet. Actually it started raining heavy in April and continued till the end of 2018. We received an extra 29 days of rain for the year.


Just an FYI that if you haven’t ordered tomato rootstock seed, you may want to act quickly. I purchased some RST-04-106-T about a month ago and went back to order more, but the company I buy them from was out of stock. I noticed they were out of several other types as well. When I contacted the company that produces the seed to try to find another source, they informed me that they are completely out and suggested I try the 105 variant (previous generation) which is also already out of stock at several suppliers.

I don’t know if suppliers had a poor seed production year or the interest has grown so fast that it is outpacing supply, but either way you may want to grab some seeds now if you see your preferred rootstock still available.


Which is the best rootstock for tomatoes for a short Northern season? Johnny’s seems to recommend Estamino. I wonder if that is the best.


Best choice depends on what types of soil based diseases you are dealing with. We have a lot of bacterial wilt here, so that narrows it a fair bit for me which is why I like the RST rootstocks. Maxifort is probably not good for you since it is very vigorous and vegetative, delaying fruiting, although it seems to carry the vigor and good fruit size all the way until frost.

If you can, I would recommend trying a few different types that should be good for your region, growing the same scion type on each to compare results. I did that last year and it was very helpful. If you think Estamino might be good based on diseases there, you could order from High Mowing Seeds that offers smaller quantities than Johnny’s and get the Fortamino as well to trial them against each other. High Mowing currently has free shipping for orders over $10, so you could get 20 of each of those two for under $20 delivered.

I have also heard very good things about DRO141TX that Johnny’s carries, but I’m not sure if it is good for short seasons.


$29 for a packet of 50 seeds… whew that’s a tough pill to swallow for just trying grafting.

I’m hoping to use Bottle Gourd for melon grafting (mostly to avoid fusarium wilt) this year.

Another form of disease resistance is to graft watermelon plants onto bottle gourd or squash rootstocks that are resistant to Fusarium wilt.6 Because the pathogen infects through the roots, a resistant rootstock prevents infection of the susceptible scion. Grafting can effectively protect plants from several races of FON, and grafter plants produce higher yields than non-grafted plants in FON-infested fields. Grafting is used extensively in some watermelon growing regions such as Europe. However, grafting is labor intensive and costly, so the practice has not been widely adopted in the U.S.


From what I gather from this thread is that the tomato grafts were successful, but the watermelon ones were not particularly so. I have never had successful melons in Wisconsin, so have toyed with the idea of trying this, but am waiting to hear of some smashing successes.


Looks like I’m going to go tomato grafting crazy this year. After doing about 30 plants with what I felt was great results last year in terms of plant health and production, I’m jumping up to 144 (2 72-cell trays).

There will be 18 Maxifort, 42 RST-04-106-T and 84 DR0141TX rootstocks for grafting - depending on how things go with germination. I probably wouldn’t be doing so many, but I found a deal on the DR0141TX rootstocks, but had to buy 100 to get the good price. The RST rootstock is the best for me I think in terms of disease resistance, but maxifort had great survival last year as well. This is my first time with DR0.
RST is the only one of the 3 that gives resistance to bacterial wilt, which is definitely an issue here in Virginia, although not too bad in my garden - yet.

Most of these, plus a bunch more ungrafted will go to the local PTA plant sale. For myself, I’m only growing grafted plants in my garden, except for cherry tomatoes, dwarfs and determinate varieties. My list is up to 39, but a few are for other people to grow (and me to still taste). It seems like a ton, but since I grow them as single stems, they get planted in a 3 rows, spacing them 1 foot apart down each row. I’ll grow 1 of most of them, bumping it up to 2 or even 3 of some of my favorites.

I’m starting my scion seeds in wet paper towels until they sprout and then starting the rootstocks in a few days. I did them all at the same time last year and it worked okay, but a few scions were a little slim. Anyone have suggestions for what stagger worked best for their grafting?


I’m doing something very similar this year. My rootstocks were started at the same time as my scions. They are very, very close in timing. Within a few days. Based on what I’m seeing right now, if you want them to be identical go with a 3 or 4 day offset. Rootstocks start growing first, obviously, so plant the scion seeds first


Wait, rootstocks first? I had heard scions first from some people since the rootstocks can grow a bit faster.

Also, since you are pretty close, when did you start yours? I’m feeling behind suddenly!


Never type a reply just as you settle down for bed. I fixed the post. Yeah the disease resistant rootstocks come up first and grow a tiny bit faster.


Big Beef seed are commonly available and can be used as a rootstock for heirloom tomatoes. They are less vigorous than most of the commercial rootstocks. This is an advantage since most heirloom tomatoes do not produce very well if on a very vigorous rootstock.


Wow, your timing of this reply couldn’t have been better. I’m already trialing melon grafting this year and didn’t feel like spending 25 additional dollars on tomato rootstock seeds - but I happened to buy Big Beef seeds and started my tomato seeds just two days ago. My Black Krim and Moskvich tomatoes thank you!


By the way, anyone know of a good rootstock for eggplants or peppers that increases their productivity?

I heard grafting sweet pepper varieties onto vigorous hot pepper varieties works well but don’t know the specifics.