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Perpetual Peppers

I love my Padron pepper. I love the way it yields loads of delicious peppers for frying; I love the way it overwintered so cheerfully, despite really cold weather; I love that every once in a while it throws a really hot little pepper, just to keep the eater on their toes.

Even though it did overwinter, I'm a little leery of assuming that everything is going to be hunky-dory again. We could have a harder freeze, or I could just want more peppers than one (admittedly champion) plant will produce. Friends could want in on the Padron-love.

So I decided to try making more of the very same plant through the magic of cuttings. When I worked as a garden helper on a posh estate, we took cuttings of things all the time. Sometimes they worked, sometimes not, but it was pretty fun all the same.

I tried to get tips that would be both woody enough for self-support and green enough to be sprouty, although it was guesswork on my part. I remembered to cut a diagonal end on the stem, causing more of the rooting layer to be exposed. Unless that only goes for trees. At any rate, these had a diagonal tip.


A simple jar of powdered rooting hormone is supposed to promote root growth. After dipping the cut end, I tapped off any extra powder. No sense wasting it, and there were as many dire warnings on the stuff as you'd imagine. No eye contact, skin contact, breathing it in, ingesting. . . I didn't want to see if I'd sprout roots, so I just didn't touch it or snuffle it up my nose.


I tried to keep as much of the powder on the stem as I put the cutting into its pot of soil. A pencil made holes that were just about the right size. Quite a few of the cuttings came from sideways branches, so they were leaning all akimbo. I figured if the cuttings take, it won't matter how they were leaning.


They're all resting under a plastic dome, for humidity. Because the cuttings don't have any roots (yet) to take up moisture, but have lots of leaves to expire moisture, they are a little sad looking today. I did trim many leaves off, and also cut off any buds. There were a surprising amount of them for cold December weather. Such a great plant! At any rate, if this works, I'll have a dozen new pepper plants, certainly enough to share.


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