Growing Peppers From Cuttings: How To Clone A Pepper Plant

By: Laura Miller

Did you ever buy a pack of seedlings at your local nurseryonly to discover months later they were mislabeled? You find these wonderful peppersgrowing in your garden, but you have no idea as to the variety. Savingseeds won’t do much good since they’re most likely a hybrid, but did you know youcan clone peppers from cuttings?

Gardeners often think of peppers as annual plants which needto be started from seeds each spring. In truth, peppers are perennials thatform woody bush-like plants in frost-free climates where they can survive thewinter. There is a way to regrow that wonderful mislabeled pepper for nextyear. Propagation is easy!

How to Clone a Pepper Plant

Select a stem which is approximately 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to13 cm.) long. The stem should be from a healthy plant with no frost damage,discoloration or stunted growth. A woody stem will have a better chance ofabsorbing adequate amounts of moisture to prevent the leaves from wiltingduring the rooting period. Choosing a stem with two or more small branches willmake bushier clones. When rooting peppers from cuttings, it’s wise to takeextra stems in case some don’t root.

Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, clip the stem at a 45-degreeangle. Make the cut directly beneath one of the small nodes where the leavesemerge. The plant tissue in this area is more likely to generate roots. Removeany peppers, buds or flowers. Rooting a pepper cutting requires the plant to putits energy into making roots, not toward reproduction.

Remove the leaves from the node that is directly above thecut. If another node sits directly above the first node, remove the leaves fromthat node as well. Dip the bottom of the stem into rootinghormone.

Use a seedlingstarter soil, rockwool cubes or rooting medium such as sand mixed with peator vermiculite for rooting a pepper cutting. Gently push the pepper stem intothe rooting material.

When rooting peppers from cuttings, it’s essential to keepthe soil or rooting medium consistently moist. Lightly mist or cover the peppercuttings with plastic to prevent excessive water loss through the leaves. Keepthe cuttings at an ambient temperature of 65 to 70 degrees F. (18 to 21 C.) oron a heated plant mat. Provide indirect sunlight or artificial light.

It takes approximately two weeks for small roots to appear.When the roots are about an inch or so (2.5 cm.) long, transplant the rootcuttings into a pot. Overwinter the pepper plants in the house or plant outsideif weather conditions permit.

While growing peppers from cuttings is more common withornamental type peppers, any type of pepper plant can be used. Rooting a peppercutting is a great way to save and regrow a favorite pepper variety or grow ahybrid variety without saving seeds.

This article was last updated on

Ornamental peppers from cuttings?

I bought a very unusal ornamental pepper with bright purple leaves. I have had very poor germination with the seeds and the seeds that do sprout are growing very slowly, probably our high summer time temps.

Has anyone had luck rooting peppers from cuttings? Any secrets/tips to help the process?

I have already taken a few cuttings and placed them in my propagation/cuttings area that gets misted several times a day. But, before I scarifice a good portion of these 2 plants I want to be sure I am not wasting my time.

I will know in two or three weeks if the cuttings I have taken already will root - it is just that I am in a hurry and was hoping someone had done this before.

Here is a photo of the plant. My cheap digital camera doesn't really catch the brightness of the colors of the leaves>

This message was edited Jun 10, 2009 3:16 PM

In the back left corner of this hoop house is where the propagation area is located.

I think that is black pearl ornamental pepper. I have heard several people mention rooting it from cuttings.

I'll put a cutting of mine in my cloning machine and see what happens.

Well, I will just have to give it a try, with a few more cuttings.

I have no problems with coleus>

Dale-what a beautiful Coleus! I really like them, but recently moved here to WA- Coleus are hard to find, and I have never had mush luck with seeds.

Only people who are really good with seed have success with Coleus Seed. I have tried the seed - it did not go well.

Any seed smaller than a bean just doesn't work for me. I prefer cuttings.

I could do cuttings if I had some plants! Here there just isn't any choice at all- I don't know why. Years ago I was a grower for a nursery and I did a lot of seeds- of course that takes the proper equipment and space to do. Now I play on a small scale with heat mats & lights- just enough to keep my green thumb in shape.

Do coleus even grow in Washington state?

I live in zone 10 (northern edge) and have problems keeping them going during the winter inside an unheated greenhouse (maybe I should call it a solar heated greenhouse, sounds 'greener')

Of course being east of the Cascades you have warm summers, but still, 5 months of summer seems pretty brief.

Perhaps our climate is why they are uncommon in garden shops. I did grow a nice one last year (my 1st year here) and kept cuttings rooted in water all winter, then it croaked when I potted them up! It definitely is a new world than I had in Gainesville FL and before that Bossier City, LA. On the positive side I do NOT miss lovebugs, biting yellow flies and 2 seasons of pollen! Oh, and the humidity and hurricanes are not missed, either!

And what is your take on winter?

I grew up in MN, about the same distance north as you are.

Dale - I've done 'Black Pearl' cuttings successfully. The original plant was started from seed and I over-winter it in a cool greenhouse. I use rooting hormone on all of my cuttings just as insurance. Two to three weeks is about right for these. I never root in water - I had heard/read somewhere that the root systems develop a little differently in water and have a hard time adapting to soil. Not sure whether that's true or not since I'm not a botanist. I know some cuttings can make the transition from water to soil better than others. Most often, I use a blend of seed starting mix with extra perlite to start cuttings and keep them covered with a humidity dome or tented plastic but do allow for a little air circulation. Keep the cuttings out of direct sun. They're almost as fast as coleus. In my limited experience, coleus is one of the faster rooters.

Also forgot to mention - I also get some self seeding from 'Black Pearl'. As long as the little peppers are allowed to ripen (they turn bright red), you can get some viable seed. Most of them come true but you may get a few greener seedlings. My daughter in TN treats BP as an annual and usually has seedlings in the same pot the following spring. I found a couple of the previous year's ripe peppers and experimented with the seeds - still pretty viable.

Thanks for all the good information. I will start more cuttings soon.

I have been saving seed, as the peppers begin to dry I pull the fruit and have them in a small bowl on my desk. I will try starting them this fall, when the weather cools down some.

I agree with you about rooting in soil vs water. I have no problem rooting most cuttings, I even have been starting peach trees from half ripe wood cuttings. I have never tried root hormones. Maybe I should on the stubborn stuff, like Crotons.

Dale - While I don't know much about rooting hormones, some brands have different hormone levels depending on what type of cuttings you're trying to start. I just use whatever I find at the "box" stores and it generally works. However, I may need to expand my knowledge as I tried some dormant cuttings over the winter/spring with very limited success. I have no advice on starting Crotons since I've never had one.

Just happened to come across this thread. I thought that was BP, just got a plant from the swap I attended this spring. I planted it in with a dark coleus and OSP vine.

I just found out there were different rooting hormones also, I too just go with whatever I find. And always root in a soil mix not water.

And I am trying air layering with a very old Croton, put a little rooting hormone in the cuts, have not unwrapped it yet.

And Dale, I just want to take my little plant wagon and start loading up in your hoop house. LOL. I should never open a thread with your name on it, I get in trouble every time.

Hey, now - I am no seed wiz and I got all of my coleus seeds to sprout, and well! I think having the domes (for humidity) and steady temps in the mid seventies might make the diff.

I should try them inside. Our temps outside don't go below 80 this time of year. I keep the house at about 78. The floor always seems 'cool' when I am barefoot - maybe indoors under a dome would get them going.

I really like ornamental peppers. I wish I was better at getting them started.

PS I am very unsuccessful with seeds.

I can relate - at least outside, in the garden, it seemed like I could never get any seeds going. But once I started using the silly domes and heat pads, well. you could probably even do it outside with temps like that, Dale, probably in the shade.

I do know that pepper seeds like it really warm.

I got a black pearl last year and fell in love with it. It stood up to our Texas heat and looked great all year. I was ablet o succesfully propogate it this spring after overwintering the original.

I use a method of propogation that is much like a mini greenhouse. I use a 2 lite soda bottle, or a juice bottle. I cut in the middle to create a top and a bottom. I DO NOT add any holes. the idea is to create a mini climate. I then use potting mix that is only wet enough that I can clump in my hand with no water draining. Any wetter and your cuttings will mildew. place this in the bottom of your mini greenhouse.

I use my finger to create holes in the mix. My cuttings are no longer than 4-6" making sure I have at least two nodes that will go in the mix. I wet the cuttings, dip in root hormone (still using the small container DH got me for my b-day two years ago) and place cutting in the holes and plant. Cover with the top. Place in a shaded spot. DO NOT place in direct sun, as it will bake the cuttings. The peppers took about 3 weeks. Coleus can be done in this method with out the hormone and have a viable plant in less than 2 weeks.

See pic with roots on side. This is a cuphea (very successful at propogation with this method)

I have also propogated brugs, ficus trees and lots of perennials in this same method.

That looks like a good method, I will have to try it, but, on a slightly larger scale. I have some leftover rock wool and trays with clear covers. I hadn't considered using them for this project.

I tried a few pepper cuttings, but, they didn't make it. I think it is too hot and too humid. I am going to wait until Fall (Nov) when the days and nights are a little cooler.

These 80-85 degree nights are hard on everything except the tropicals.

Some of my Begonias like this time of year>

beautiful. Even though we are having triple digits here, if you keep your mini greenhouse inthe shade, it will work. good luck.

TexasLizzy, I am intreaged about "no holes".Is your "GH" air tight?Sorry, but I would like to know more. Mike

not a 100% airtight, but pretty close. If you feel it has too much moisture, you can open the lid. I usually leave lid on and open the container to check moisture and for roots.

Thank you, I will try that method tomorro. Mike

the whole point is to create a terranium like setting.

Help with cutting/rooting

OK, this is going to sound silly to some of you-but I have to ask. I have tried cutting and rooting several times now with several types of plants. Can someone tell me how long the rooting takes. do the leaves generally look pretty bad before they get healthy looking again? I have been using a hormone and have cut at an angle and everything else, but the cuttings always look dead by the second week so I have tossed them out. Should I be waiting longer? I have several going right now and they are looking pretty sad (not as bad as my last attempt where I kept them in the sun and baked them!!). Any tips would be great!! Thank so much! Robbi Hoy-aka distantkin

What are you trying to propagate?

I have taken cutting of just about everything to see if I could do it! LOL
First I tried my raspberry plants as I would love more of those. I baked those in the sun. Then I moved to a place that my hosta's love and am now trying my raspberries again, a spirea-just for fun as I have plenty, 3 different milkweed plants, some clipping of a neighbors shrub and I think that may be it. I just so want it to work!! Thanks so much!

To me propagation is a trial and error experience. I also try to root different cuttings to see which are successful. Sometimes the first attempt is not a good one but I try again and occassionally that one works. I've taken cuttings of practically everything in my experimenting. I do use a rooting powder and that helps alot. I love the feeling of accomplishment and reward when the little cuttings start growing on their own. Dont give up dist, eventually you'll be enjoying your new plants from cuttings.

Propagate your raspberries by inserting a long branch into
the soil. Take off the leaves on the end that goes into the ground.
Peg down the branch. It will root.

Other plant slips you are trying to root should be in the shade.

Thanks for all the advice! The shade thing I did get worked out after my first kill! :o)
I just got some honey suckle canes (with nothing on them, no leaves etc) in a trade-can these be rooted?

I don't know about the HOneysuckle, but you could put them
in water. Wait, watch.

Lay the honeysuckle on its side and bury as much as you can in shallow soil. Use a long rectangular pot instead of a deep round one.Keep the soil really damp and place the pot in the shade. I usally put the pot into opne of the plastic zip bags that you can buy comforters in. I keep it out of sunlight all together.
Honeysuckle and forsythias are usually really easy to start.
If you want to see instant results, try a forsythia. LOL They practically grow without roots. I just stick a longish branch into a wet pot and put it in the shade. It seems to keep putting out growth even before new roots form.

Going out to try this right now!!

Ergh I didn't have any luck with my 1st 2 forsythia attempts. Guess I'm going to have to try it again. Were you using soft or hard wood cuttings Windy?

Make sure you use a sandy mix for striking cuttings and warm shade is best . honey works as well as rooting hormone if not better. some things strike better as hardwood cuttings. some as soft. some things grow better if struck from new bits . some from old.Time and a bit of experimenting will work. and don't throw out for a while. give the cuttings a chance. once you see active new growth and perhaps a little root escaping from the drainage hole. bingo. Last but not least some stuff even roots in water. It's a lot of fun!

i agree layering is the easiest and best method if it can be done on the plant.

You might check into a book (or website) to see which cuttings are more apt to take and which ones are less likely to root or never root. There is no sense in taking cuttings if it has been documented that it will not root or very unlikely it will root.

Some are just too difficult to start by cuttings while others are so easy, but just knowing ahead of time helps tremendously.

Layering and division are always good methods but cuttings can be very productive depending on the stock plant and of course the conditions you place them in such as time of year, rooting medium, humidity, temperatures, etc.

You mentioned honeysuckle canes. Is this winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)? Here is a reference that may help.

I don't think butterfly weed will root from cuttings for example. Seeds or possibly root division (big fleshy root may act like a yucca root) is the way to go for this plant.

As Chrissy said, water rooting can be a good way to go as well but it is best to cover with a humidity tent or change water every day or two. Most people forget about water souring so quickly which will usually kill the cutting.

Thanks so much for all of the great info and the wonderful links. I appreciate it all so much! Thanks again!

There's a character on the web named Mike McGroarty whose site has some good, simple advice about cutting propagation. I tried the upside-down fish tank over a tray, it works fine. I think it's "free plants" dot com.

Has anyone had any success rooting roses? I've tried and they always die right away. I've had one success with a bud graft but I'd like to try cuttings. Any tips?

I root most of my cuttings using about 50/50 perlite and sand. I water well and put them in the shade. I will leave them as some take a long time to root unless they rot. If they look bad you can pinch the stem near where it is in the sand or dirt and if its soft and slimy, pull it out, its a goner. Honeysuckle will often lose its leaves and when you decide to toss them, you find roots on them. Good luck, its a fun thing to do.

Also, Distantkin - Robbi, some really easy things to root are: brugmansia, rosemary, ivy, perenial morning glory, succulents, and thunbergia grandiflora. I found that softwood cuttings of herbacious vines will usually root in water, if your interested in that. That's really easy and fun. you just put them in a jar and set it in the shade.

I will have to give that a try-I am in the process trading for morrning glories, so I will have to keep a close eye out for perenials. Thanks for all the wonderful advice on this thread!!

Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner on the question of soft or hard wood. I just take the cutting in early spring. When the plants are starting to grow from being dormant is a good time for the forsythia since it is an early bloomer.
Just cut a branch about ten inches long so you have plenty to stick under ground.
When the ground is really soggy from a lot of rain you can just stick it right into the ground without anything special. Just remember to keep it in the shade and to keep it moist. It can't put out roots unless it has plenty of moisture to draw into the plant.
Remember the experiment as a child when you used a stalk of celery and colored water. It sucked the water right up and colored the leaves. It has to be able to remain "alive" until roots are formed. I am just using the colored water as an example of how a plant can draw up water without roots. You don't have to color water. LOL
I have used all types of cuttings hard and soft and they all seem to work well. Just be patient and do not keep pulling it up to look at it. Stick it in the ground and just forget what is going on below the surface.

with the forsythia all you have to do is let a limb touch the ground and it will root no need to cut from mother plant,that is the easiest way to root them and azaleas you can do that too as well

One summer I accidentally broke off a zinnia plant from the stem. It had pretty flowers on it and I wanted to continue to enjoy them. I stuck the broken off stem into a pot just expecting it to finish with the flowers it had on it. It made roots and continued to grow until frost killed it. It was a surprising developement.
I also over wintered a Thai hot pepper plant last fall since we had an early frost here. I kept it in the cold garage not really expecting it to survive, but not ready to throw it away. LOL
Now it is doing great and has become invigorated and has some twenty plus little peppers of all stages on it.
I do believe I read somewhere that the pepper was a perennial in warm climates, but I may be mistaken on that.
Rooting annual flowers can be a fun way to experiment with your green thumb and cuttings.

I have pretty good luck getting the flowers to root (mums, petunias etc) as well as coleus and sweet potato vines. But those shrubs? Argh. I guess I'll just keep trying, thanks!

LOL @ "You don't have to color water".

Sealing the cuttings in plastic to preserve moisture is what finally got rooting softwood cuttings of shrubs to work for me. I put a tray of cuttings in one of those zippered plastic bags that blankets and pillows come in and you can see if the water is condensing on the sides or not. Whatever works, you can put a pot in a plastic bag, or use an old fish tank upside down over a wooden tray, etc.
Also, I think I had been keeping the soil too wet - if it's too wet, the roots won't seek moisture and grow, but the foliage needs to be moist so it doesn't wilt. Kind of ironic.

Obviously, some things will root easily in a glass of water, but others are a lot harder. I think a lot depends on what you use for cuttings, too - an actively growing twig from a well-watered plant will root more easily than one that's not. And like hcmcdole pointed out, some things just plain won't root. Try some easy plants first, look at the lists of plants and what kind of cuttings to use, softwood, hardwood, semi-hardwood, etc.
My problem is going to be making a bed to get the cuttings through the winter. I might use an old sliding glass door and some hay bales to hold it up, or a row cover, something like that.

You make some interesting points Claypa, some of which I've been pondering myself. I saw you mention Mike McGroarty's sight (which I also frequent from time to time) and wondered how the aquarium set-up would work. Following the same principle I put my cuttings (forsythia, barberry, false indigo, and dogwood) in a big aluminum turkey roaster with a plastic top, placed that on a heating mat under lights, and misted them as frequently as possible. Within a couple of weeks I had lost them all. Twice. I'm starting to think that moisture is the key, but I've not yet found the right "recipe" to keep them from drying out without having them rot.

And I'm also wondering how I'm going to over-winter some of my baby plants. As I stated above I've had pretty good success with cuttings and divisions, and as autumn draws near I'm faced with where to put them to keep them protected during the cold. Please do let us know how you procede. Our climates are very similar so what works for you SHOULD work for me. But then again. LOL!

Claypa has a good idea with the hay and window. You can also ask on the wintersowing forum to see what ideas they may have. I can overwinter in my unheated garage pretty well. Even my brugs can stand that as long as the garage door is not opened for any length of time. I put a good sized bulb in the celing and have a flourescent bulb fixture on a wall with a table of plants I put on it.
My bathtub is full of plants I took outdoors this spring from the houseplant section. The city and county says we can only water twice a week and not on weekends. My days would be midnight until 4 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I can't see houseplants surviving on that scedule so they are coming in for a while.
I have to clean the dirt of any bugs so they will be in the extra bathtub until I can do that. The cats and dogs are curious about the new forest in there. LOL

In propagation class, the softwood cuttings were dipped in rooting hormone, potted, then were kept in a mist room - so the advice above regarding keeping the plants in an enclosed area is good as long as you avoid mold. There are some plants that will root in water.

The hardwood cuttings were taken while dormant, dipped in hormone, potted and kept moist but not held in the mist room. They did very well.

I have rooted many dogwood bushes by the hardwood cutting method as well as by digging a shallow area near the plant and placing long branches in it and covering with soil. I make sure it doesn't dry out. You can get quite a few plants this way, as mentioned above with Forsythia.

Heres a link to a post I recently made in the hibiscus forum.
This method works well with many plants, not just Hibiscus.
Experiment and see what works for you.

This message was edited Aug 25, 2007 8:19 AM

Hi, y'all. I found this thread while searching for Mike McGroarty's name on DG. I've gotten his newsletters for several months now and they're very informative. I wondered if there was any buzz about him at DG.

How did your overwintering go for your cuttings? After reading through this thread, I'd love to hear how it went for you and what you did.

So much good information here that I am bumping it up. I took a little "show me" class this summer on rooting rhodies if I have success I will offer the information.

There is an excellent book with lots of tables on propagation of all methods. It is called "Propagation Handbook" by Geoff Bryant. I also find that the whole propagation thing is trial and error. I usually try rooting things different ways to figure out what works best for me. I try cuttings in water, cuttings in straight perlite, cuttings in perlite/soil mix and layering stems. I do always use hormone unless I root in water. I have successfully rooted butterfly weed and roses. The roses were lady banks roses, so they are pretty tough to start with. I used cuttings dipped in hormone in a mix of perlite and soil. I kept them outside in shade. I had very good results. I rooted the butterfly weed cuttings dipped in hormone in straight perlite kept it moist in shade. I did manage to get 2 out of 6 to root. I leave my cuttings until they root or rot. Some of them take what seems like forever. Once you get the hang of it it can become addictive. Half of the plants I buy now are bought specifically to experiment with.

I used to have some big shrubs and I would sit my cutting pots underneath them. I think a lot of the problem is that people who are new to growing from cuttings is that they keep pulling them up to see if there are roots.
Even a plant with roots that is pulled up suffers shock. Imagine the set back when a cutting is lifted.
I also had an old wire dog pen that I covered with shade material and set pots in it that were protected with plastic cover.
I use big cuttings as I don't like waiting for things to get a good size. I have had luck with them.
I used to have boxwoods and really wanted to propagate those with no luck. One day while trimming them I found little babies growing from clippings that had fallen and grown into mulch. I looked closely at them after I repotted them and saw that they were perfect cutting with nodes buried in the mulch. The heavy shade also helped when they were literally underneath the canopy of the shrubs. After witnessing the chance propagation I was then able to cut them and root them myself.
I do believe you need shade and no direct sun until rooted and growing on its own.

My favorite books are:
The Propagation Bible by Miranda Smith
American Horticulture Society's book on propagation.

I was able to check these out at the local library before deciding to buy.

I just checked out "The Gardeners Guide to Propagation" by Richard Rosenfield. It looks like it is pretty good too. It has plenty of great pictures.

Health Benefits

Cough & cold: Surprisingly spicy peppers are also a good remedy for cough and cold. The antibacterial properties of fresh peppers added with a teaspoon of honey helps to cure severe cough, elevates congestion and other viral infections.

Cancer prevention: when you are exposed to harmful UV-radiations there may be chances of effecting skin cancer. The antioxidant properties like flavonoids and carotenoids help to remove harmful free radicals and protects your body from cancers.

Digestive problems: The piperine in black pepper eases digestive problems. It stimulates the stomach by secreting hydrochloric acid to digest proteins in food faster. It also prevents the diseases related to intestine and stomach.

Weight loss: The skinny layer of pepper helps to breakdown the fats cells in your body. These breakdown components are easily processed by the body and applied to enzymatic reactions than settling in your body.

Respiratory problems: In Ayurvedic medicine pepper is added to tonics for treating respiratory problems. It completely eliminates the mucus and phlegm decompositions in respiratory tract.

Skin health: Black pepper in your diet helps to improve skin conditions. It also cures vitiligo a skin disease that cause some areas of skin to lose pigmentation and turn white. A studies shows that piperene in pepper content can stimulate the skin to produce melanocytes pigment.

Side Effects: consuming peppers or capsicum may cause side effects. It’s better to consult a doctor before the situation gets worse.

  • Allergic reactions
  • Food poisoning
  • Difficulty for pregnant women
  • Respiratory problems
  • Burning sensation in stomach

Watch the video: Taking Cuttings from Pepper Plants to Root: HERE ARE THE RESULTS!

Previous Article

About garden

Next Article