Jalapeno Suckers

rweakley(8)February 6, 2012

Growing jalapenos for the first time this year, from seed. I didn't realize how long the seeds are supposed to take in germinating, nor how warm the soil need be. I had one outlier that popped up in about 5 days (out of the four seeds planted), but that's it. Since then, I've placed about 5 more seeds in a moist paper towel in a plastic bag atop my grow light for warmth. Nothing there yet. I more recently placed some soil in a plastic cup with another five seeds, again sitting on top of my grow light. Crossing my fingers that at least one more will germinate, because I want two plants.

So my question is, if all else fails and this one little plant is all I get, can I root a cutting from it like you can with a tomato sucker? If so, please give me some guidance on how to do so. Or will I be reduced to buying a transplant from the Depot? I really enjoy the process of watching a tiny seed become a fruitful plant!

On a separate note, I have the one that sprouted growing in a bottom watering system. So the soil stays constantly moist. Should I take it out and let the soil dry a bit (maybe into a peat pot)? I've read that jalapenos are native to somewhat arid regions.

Thanks, Randy

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From what i've been reading - they are difficult to clone. Most of the people I've read about trying have met with limited, or no success, though some were able to keep the severed branch alive for months.

I didn't make note of the rooting compounds used in the successful attempts (one was here in this forum iirc), I do remember that it was not rootone (something I have on hand).

Those that were successful seemed to keep their clones in a semi-dark high humidity chamber for several days, before hardening off the plant over the course of several months.

That said - Jalapenos (and other capsicums) are fond of being 70-85F soil temp, and moist, but not soaked (though many advocate soaking the seeds for half a day or so prior to planting).

Personally I use peat pods. But many do not like them because it is difficult to maintain the proper moisture level with them. However, I've not experienced that particular problem, and have 90-100% germination rates (in my garage) here in Sunny Florida.

Too wet can be a problem, so can too dry. Though from my experience its easier to kill them with too much water, than too little.

My advice to you would be to check out your seeds, and if they still look like seeds and haven't rotted then try re-planting them in peat/soil/coir, or whatever you use, about a half inch down, and then keep them moist, but not soaking.

This is only my second year of growing peppers, but I've read reams of articles. Some of the experts here may have better advice. but thats my 2cents worth :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Wow thanks for the quick response! Well I guess I will just *try* to be patient. I have read that these guys can take 3 to 5 weeks to germinate. And if not, I guess I will just have to buy a transplant, as much as that pains.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 5:32PM
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esox07 (4b)

I took three cuttings from plants on November 12th. One was a Bhut Jolokia and the other two were from Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers. I used a 2 ltr clear soda bottle cut in half as a humidity container. I used rooting compound. They all three were doing fine for a while but then one of the Hot Hung Wax cuttings died. The other two just sat there but eventually lost the original leaves but began putting out tiny new ones. After a couple weeks, I thought I would remove the top of the soda bottle to give them air. After a half day, the two remaining ones were looking bad. I put the top back on but eventually the one (Bhut Jolokia) died. The last Hot Hung Wax is still going good with one small leaf but still nice and green. It has been almost three months and it is still basically the same size as when it started. I will continue with the experiment until it either dies or takes off on it's own. But unless there is a way to get them to root and take off on their own faster than this, I don't really thing it is a preferred way to propagate a pepper plant. At this rate, my seedlings which I planted less than a week ago, will be bigger than the cutting two weeks after planting. I guess I would only advocate propagation by cuttings if you had a plant that had some unique trait that you wanted to preserve through "cloning" with cuttings. There may be better ways to do the cuttings, but that is how I did it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 5:54PM
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What type of grow light do you have? You may be frying the seeds atop the grow light some types get really hot. A method I use is similar paper towel ziplock bag left unzipped, then I set atop the DVR box works great, germinated Bhut, 7pot, Dragon Claw, Billy Goat, Red Hab, Alma Paprika, Peppadew, and Ristra Cayenne. Good luck and I hope you get more than one to sprout.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 8:36PM
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It's a hydrofarm 4' 4 bulb system. I have them on top of where the ballast is. The ones in the paper towel are off to the side, not directly over. I may be frying them; time will tell. But I pressed my finger into the soil of the seeds in the cup (which is sitting directly in the middle), and it actually made me wish it was heating it more. Still seemed pretty cool to the touch, but not as cool as the plants under the lights.
It seems like the cup is doing a pretty good job of absorbing heat, because there is an obvious temperature difference in the ballast covering when I remove the cup to look at it under the light. I've got a cling wrap piece covering the top too to keep the heat and moisture in.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Well I had nothing happening with those seeds, so I called the seedsavers exchange customer support. They told me that jalepeno seeds were supposed to have around 90% germination rate and thought they might be bad seeds. So they are sending me another packet. We'll see when they get here whether the seeds themselves are the culprits.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 9:27AM
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esox07 (4b)

I bought some local Jalapeno seeds (probably Burpee) and they germinated fine for me. THey came up in about 5 or 6 days and are looking really vigorous now. It could be the seed or the method you are using. Make sure you are planting nor more than 1/4" and I would go closer to 1/8". Moist but not soaking wet soil. If you are using plastic cups, make sure you cut holes in the bottom to allow drainage. Don't let the soil dry out completely either. If you are using peat, try something else. And seeds are cheap. I would plant more than one in each cell. Then just cut out the weaker ones after they come up.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Well patience is clearly a virtue that I do not possess. I finally decided to give up on my seeds in the paper towel. I pulled them out to have one last look before I tossed them in the trash. Lo and behold, I saw a tiny little protrusion from one of the seeds. So I quickly pulled out the cup I had planted the other five seeds in (yes, I planted more than one in the cup, Bruce), disturbed the soil so I could get the little guy slightly beneath the surface. This exposed two of the seeds that were planted in the soil which also had little things (roots or stems, I'm not really sure how the germination thing works) poking out!
Well I guess the next time I read that something can take up to 5 weeks to germinate, I'll put a little more stock in it!
Like the line from Bruce Almighty (or was it Evan?), when you pray for patience, maybe God gives us the *opportunity* to be patient... :)
Happy Growing!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Evan Almighty... I find that to be true of most character attributes you pray for.

Glad to hear about them coming up though!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:14PM
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