Propagating Plants from Cuttings

A Quick Intro to Propagating Plants from Cuttings:

Growing a plant from a cutting offers at least two distinct advantages over growing from seed? 

  • Plants grown from cuttings will often grow more quickly than those grown from seed
  • Plants grown from cuttings have the exact same genetics as those of the original plant

Plants tend to grow much more quickly in hydroponics than they do in soil, so that’s not why l grow some of my plants from cuttings.  I grow from cuttings when I have a plant that grows much more fruit than others.  For instance, I recently planted 5 tomato plants from seed at one time.  After a couple of months, I realized that one of them was producing much more fruit than the others.  The only way to make sure that the next plant I have produces more fruit than others is to clone it.  I’ll do the same thing with peppers and other plants.  You may want to clone a plant because it produces more fruit, the fruit tastes better, the plant grows faster, or even because you like how it looks.  How do I clone a plant?  Please read on...

How to clone your favorite plants:

  • Step 1: Cut a 4 – 5 inch stem off of your plant. Make the cutting at an angle, below a small group of leaves.  Make sure to use stems absent of flower buds and disease.  Plants will often create new roots just below where a leaf existed, so you want to use a cutting that has at least 2-3 sets of leaves attached.  Cutting the stem at an angle increases the surface area available for the plant to absorb water and nutrients. 
  • Step 2: Remove all but a few leaves from the top, making sure to remove the largest leaves. Removing most of the leaves means that the stem has less foliage to support, while still having the opportunity to photosynthesize and grow.  Plants will also lose most of their water through their leaves, so removing the largest leaves will make life easier on your cutting.

Pepper Plant Cutting for Propagation Indoors

  • Step 3: Use a homemade rooting solution. Store-bought rooting hormones are available, but most of them warn you not to use them on edible plants.  Warning or not, I personally won’t use them in my hydroponic garden.  Use a natural rooting solution instead. 
    • Willow Bark Extract – Willow bark is likely the best natural rooting solution available today. It contains natural plant hormones that are great for rooting new cuttings.  It’s pretty easy to make your own willow bark rooting solution if you have a willow tree nearby.  There’s lots of information available for that on the Web.  Otherwise, you can purchase organic willow bark extract.  Adding two drops to a small glass of water is all you need to help grow roots from your cuttings more quickly.  If the water becomes murky over time, just replace it.
  • Step 4: Place your cuttings in a glass of water. Simply placing your cuttings in a warm glass of water in a spot that receives plenty of indirect light will allow many of them to grow roots.  Some of your cuttings won’t make it, but that’s ok.  Just make sure to take at least 2-3 cuttings of each plant to increase your odds.  Once your cutting begins to develop roots, you can place it in your growing media, and move it into your iHarvest hydroponic system.

Tomato and Pepper Plants being Propagated from Cutting Indoors

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