You might think that peppers are one of those seed only grown plants. For many gardeners they are. We sow the seeds in late winter and grow the seedlings on to plant out in the spring but there is another way we can get more peppers. Peppers respond very well to cuttings. Recently I took a cutting of the 'Ghost' pepper (Bhut Jolokia) to try grow a few more.
Why would you want to take cuttings of peppers? For one thing peppers are perennials and can come back repeatedly as long as they are not killed by frost. This makes pepper plants excellent for bringing indoors in the fall before cold weather hits. Peppers brought indoors can even produce in the winter under the right conditions (excellent light and good heat). In the fall you have all your pepper plants out in the garden. Rather than dig them up take a few cuttings a few weeks before the frost date in your area to root some indoor pepper plants. In the spring you can do the same and plant your successful cuttings outdoors to grow in your garden. This is especially good if you have a rare variety of pepper you want to keep growing or if you have an especially delicious pepper you don't want to do without!
How do you take cuttings of peppers? It's very simple. With a clean knife or pruners cut a 4" section of a pepper branch. I like to select branches with stem tips then pinch off the growing tip of the branch. Dab a little rooting hormone on the base of the stem and stick it in a moist rooting medium like sand or a 50/50 peat and perlite/vermiculite. Keep the cuttings moist so they do not dry out. You may want to mist the leaves every now and then to prevent too much water loss through the leaves. Since there are no roots misting helps to prevent water from transpiring from the leaves. In about 2 weeks you should start to see little roots begin to form. That's when I put my cutting in a pot and introduced it to the outdoors in a shady location.
Making more plants for free is very cool, but its even more cool when you can eat from the plant you propagate!
Labels: peppers, plant propagation