Q: Greetings Sir Dave:
I bought four of your books recently, and they are very informative and great fun. I made cuttings from several plants from last season’s garden: poblano, Fresno, Joe Parker New Mexico, hot wax, jalapeño, serrano, and cayenne. Sadly, all my cayenne cuttings died, the last two during week 7 and 8. It has been 9 weeks since most of the cuttings were started. They are all in vermiculite and I mist them everyday at least two, three or four times. I’ve been feeding them an all-purpose plant food (5-5-5) eyedropper-style with a straw periodically. Here’s my question: What’s next? Now that the survivors have lived for nine weeks in the rooting medium, can I safely assume that they actually have roots and can now be planted into soil? Also, any tips on the process of potting them would be appreciated. For example, do I pull them up out of the vermiculite and place them into soil, or can I just hoist the vermiculite and new pepper plants together and place them in a gallon container?
A: Hello Derek:
It is remarkable that those cuttings have survived. Good job! Yes, it is safe to assume that the cuttings have rooted. Don’t disturb the roots, but simply transplant the vermiculite root ball into a larger container that has commercial potting soil. Remember that potting soil is very similar to vermiculite in that they are both neutral planting media, so you will need to continue fertilizing.