Monday, 26 November 2012

Pruning and making cuttings from chillies

If you prune a chilli plant, or if a branch breaks off, nothing has got to go to waste.
You can eat the leaves, stir fry the leaves, or boil them like spinach.

But that, my good readers is what we are not going to do. No we are not going to waste a good part that can be used to make a new plant or clone if you like. A lot of readers would ask why on earth would you take a clone from a plant that is being regarded as a annual plant. It is soo much easier to seed is spring and not bother with cuttings, rooting medium and rooting hormone.
Then again, if you have a plant that is great, is pure, and tastes like heaven. .
But the plant is 1 meter high, your wife could say yes to a cutting and no to half a rainforest.

Now how to go about things. There is rooting hormone available, good and pricey, and works like a charm. It is also said that Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) works like a charm, and the answer is no, it helps the plant not to mould. Honey diluted in boiling water, and cooled would work too, and again the answer is no. Both honey and aspirin are antiseptic, so they keep the cutting from moulding and rotting, and this might result in the cutting to be healthy enough for time to get it to grow roots by its own. Chopped willow leaf is told to be a great rooting hormone, and again it is not, as even willow leaves do not grow roots. Even worse, leaves do have a hormone in them, to keep roots from growing and get roots to accumulate sugar for fall.

What does work as a charm are willow branches, they root like crazy in nature, and that is not strange.
Salix (Willow, Osier and Sallow) Salix Alba (White Willow) Weeping willow, or any willow that shoots a root easy, ones not to use are the goat willow (Salix caprea and Salix caprea pendula) and peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides). These are the varieties that are grafted normally.
The branches have Salicylic acid (natural Aspirin) with the antiseptic properties, and the growing ends of the branches have Auxins in it. The Auxin in this case is Indole-3-acetic acid, a hormone promoting rooting, which is an ingredient of the store bought rooting powder. Taa and the circle is round again. Now chew a piece of this years willow branch against the headache from reading this last bit and chop the rest up in small pieces. Soak the chopped branches without leaves for several days and you got brilliant rooting agent. The longer you leave the branches in, the better it works, up to 9 days. If you want to be faster, poor boiling water over fine chopped branches including the very fine ends of the branches. Do it this way that the chopped willow branches are just about covered. Let it cool over night and you can use it within 24 hours. Both "tea's" can be stored in an air tight container 2 months if cooled and dark in the fridge.
For those of you that like using dried coco peat or coir, you can soak it with this tea, and you won't have to bother dipping the cuttings. Just plunk them in the coir !

So how to go about making cuttings? Get yourself a good cutting or crafting knife. As you can see I have 2, one from carbon steel to do woody stems and one stainless for if they are soft or medium.
If you have a broken branch, of if you have pruned your chilli plant, you can put the branches in this willow root hormone, as you in the second picture. The will already get some of the hormone and will not dry out.
Then make cuttings from a piece of stem and at least one node with a leaf. Cut a fine strip from the bark and stem lengthwise down, and make a sort of wedge at the end..

Now you can soak them in the willow root hormone again. In my case I still had store bought root hormone powder, so I dipped them in that. Need to finish that stuff, or it is a waste of money.

Now you might notice, I cut one of the leaves off, and left the leaf stem. Now that I do, in order to keep the cutting from drying out. Plus it is a good way to see if the cutting is picking up. If it is doing well and getting roots, it will drop that stem from the cut leaf.

Now as I work with a double tray, a bottom and a rootcell plate, I fill a bit of water in the bottom for I will keep it on a heated spot. This water will keep the cuttings from drying out.
For the picture I took off the cover.
Now the warm place I use is the computer. I have the rooting propagator on top of my workstation. And as it rather early for cuttings, they need a warm place and some good light. So I have a 8 Watt 6500 Kelviin daylight fluorescent light above it for 14 hours. And that works like a charm! Keep the cover on for 14 days at least ! After signs of rooting you can take it off.

You can use this method with all kinds of plants and bushes, even with pot plants and cannabis!
No go out to get some willow !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer


  1. hahahhaa: "Now chew a piece of this years willow branch against the headache from reading this last bit"

    good informative post!

  2. Excellent article Bart! Now to find a willow tree in Florida!

  3. Nice Artical about how to take and put the root stuff on.