Sometimes through luck or by accident, we end up with one or two vegetable plants that are very prolific or that are producing very flavorful vegetables in our gardens. You may be in such a position right now.
One of your pepper plants may be very prolific or maybe producing very tasty peppers with just the right kind of hotness. If this is the case, then you probably want to continue growing it season after season.
You can take the seeds of the pepper plant and try growing it again next season. This is what most people do but planting the seeds does not necessarily mean you will witness the same traits you are currently witnessing. This is because of different reasons including the fact that pepper plants can cross-pollinate resulting in hybrid pepper plants or different first generations.
You can alternatively dig out the pepper plant and take it indoors for overwintering to replant it the next season. This is great but the plant could die due to disease or in the process of overwintering. And even if it does not die and you successfully replant it, it is just one plant.
The best thing to do when you stumble upon a fantastic plant is to clone it. If you successfully clone your favorite pepper plant, you will end up with an exact copy of your current pepper plant producing peppers with the exact same flavor and hotness and that is just as prolific as your favorite pepper plant. This is because plant cloning produces a new plant that is 100% genetically identical to the original plant.
And what is even better is that it can be used to produce several new plants at once.
So What Exactly Is Plant Cloning?
Unlike animal cloning, plant cloning is not controversial. This is because it simply involves rooting plant cuttings. So it is pretty natural and does not require laboratory manipulation. Nobody gets upset by the idea of plant cloning and many expert gardeners regularly clone their favorite plants.
Successful plant cloning or successful rooting of plant cuttings results in new plants that are exactly identical to the original plant. So if you have a favorite pepper plant that is prolific or that is producing peppers with just the kind of flavor or heat you like, the best way to continue growing it is to clone it.
To successfully clone your favorite pepper plant, follow the steps below.
How to Clone Your Favorite Pepper Plant
As mentioned above, plant cloning simply involves the rooting of plant cuttings. You can clone just about any plant by cutting a piece of it and trying to make it root. Follow the step-by-step guide below to successfully clone your favorite pepper plant.
- Identify Two or Three Branches That Still Look like they are growing at the Base. This is the first thing you need to do. You need to examine your favorite pepper plant carefully and identify two or three branches on it that have several inches of new growth at their base. Greenness is the biggest indicator of new growth.
- Cut the Branches Near The Base. Once you identify mature but growing branches, you are supposed to cut them near the base. Make sure the branches are at least eight inches long. To do the cutting, use a sharp pair of scissors or knife. The sharp pair of scissors or knife is what will enable you to make clean cuts. A poor quality pair of scissors or a blunt knife can crush the stem of the plant cuttings you will make and make it near impossible for them to absorb water and generate roots.
- Make Sure You Cut The Branches Diagonally. When cutting the branches you have identified, ensure your cutting device is diagonal. This will guarantee the cut surfaces are diagonal (not perpendicular) and will, therefore, increase their surface area and the volume of water they can absorb.
- Remove All Big Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and Buds On The Branches. Once you cut the branches diagonally, you are supposed to clean them up by removing all flowers, fruits, buds, and big leaves on them. You are supposed to live only three to four small leaves on them. By eliminating everything but small leaves on the plant cuttings, you will enable them to put more energy on generating roots. If you leave the unnecessary stuff on them, the plant cuttings will put energy on keeping them alive and this will prevent them from producing many new roots for successful replanting.
- Put The Plant Cuttings In A Tall Cup of Water. After eliminating the unnecessary stuff on them, you are supposed to place the plant cuttings directly in water. But don’t submerge them. Only about a third of their bottom end should be underwater. In case you can spare some money to buy a waterlogged medium like perlite, sphagnum, peat or rock wool, do so because you can use it instead of water. But it is not exactly necessary.
- Place The Plant Cuttings And The Medium Inside A Propagator. This step is not necessary but it can help your plant cuttings to produce roots faster and to become ready for replanting quicker than you think. This is because a propagator can provide the right warmth and humidity for fast growth.
- Use A Rooting Hormone. Many online stores gardening stores carry rooting hormone products. If you want your plant cuttings to grow faster, you can buy one that is appropriate for your pepper plant and use it to grow its plant cuttings. If you are growing your plant cuttings directly in water, mix the rooting hormone product with the water. If you are growing your plant cuttings in a medium, dip the cut surfaces in the rooting hormone before rooting it.
- Wait For Five To Six Weeks. After rooting plant cuttings either in water or a medium, you are supposed to wait for five to six weeks. After this period, the cuttings will have generated roots and will be ready for planting and growing into full plants. You will have successfully cloned your favorite pepper plant.
As you can see, it is not very difficult to clone plants. However, it is also not very easy. There is a need to follow the steps to increase your chances of successfully cloning your favorite plant.
Other Important Details You Need To Know About How to Clone Pepper Plants
Six Important Tips
- Buy A Quality Pair of Scissors. To successfully clone any plant, you need to make clean cuts and to do this you need a quality pair of scissors or a very sharp knife. If you don’t make clean cuts, you will reduce the chances of your plant cuttings surviving because you will most likely damage the stem and its ability to absorb water.
- Make Diagonal Cuts. You need to make diagonal cuts to increase the chances of your plant cuttings succeeding. This is because diagonal cuts increase the ability of plant cuttings to absorb water by increasing their surface area.
- Leave Small Leaves. When clearing big leaves, buds, fruits, and flowers, you need to leave small leaves to enable your plant cuttings to continue needing water and to generate roots to absorb water. Removing all leaves reduces the likelihood of root generation.
- Use A Rooting Hormone. You can clone plants with or without using a rooting hormone. However, if you want your plant cuttings to generate roots faster, use a planting hormone.
- Keep the Cuttings Out of Direct Light. Plants need light. However, direct light can dry out or kill plant cuttings. Therefore, to enable your plant cuttings to survive, keep them out of direct light by using filtered light or by buying low-intensity grow lights for them.
- Monitor The Cuttings Carefully in the First Ten Days. In the first ten days, the leaves on the plant cuttings you’ve rooted may start getting droopy. If this happens, remove the biggest ones to refocus the cuttings on root generation. If new flowers form, also remove them to refocus energy on root generation.
If you follow the tips above and the steps above them, you should be able to successfully clone any pepper plant or any plant for that matter.
The Final Word
If you have discovered a pepper plant in your garden producing flavorful peppers and you want to grow it again and again, the best way to do it is to clone it. Cloning the plant will ensure you get identical copies of it so that you continue enjoying the flavor that you like so much. You can also use cloning to increase produce.
It is not very difficult to clone pepper plants. It is not very easy either. However, by following the steps and the tips I have provided in this article, I am confident you will be able to clone your favorite pepper plant and any other plant in your garden.