How My Hydroponic Plant Cloned Itself

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I’ve noticed that many people are intimidated by hydroponics. Though it may seem complex, it’s really pretty simple. If you provide your plants with what they need, then they will thrive. I want to share a story that is not only pretty cool but really showed me how effective hydroponic environments can be for plants.

One of the things that I’ve learned in my years of hobby farming both plants and animals, is that living things will fight to survive and thrive. I’ve had both sick animals and plants, that with a little love and care, have gone on to grow extremely healthy and productive. Every living thing deep down has a will to survive.

Here’s The Story Of The Plant That Cloned Itself

A little backstory…

A couple of years ago I built a hydroponic gutter garden on the side of my chicken coop. It was a simple system, a gutter filled with hydroton clay pebbles and a water pump that was set up to continually pump the nutrients through the gutters.

That summer I decided I was going to try to grow some bell peppers on the bottom row. I germinated some bell pepper seeds in rapid rooter plugs, then transplanted the seedlings into the gutter garden system.

I went back a couple of weeks later and noticed that a plant had been chopped.

Hydroponic plant with top chopped off.

What happened? My guess is a bug can through and snipped the top off. I thought it was done for; I was going to pull the plant, toss the top and move on. But now the cool part!

I grabbed ahold of the top and to my surprise, something was holding it back.

Hydroponic plant chopped top formed root system to become clone.

The top had actually developed its own root system and as you can tell from the picture below, was actually looking like it may have actually been doing better than the original plant.

The plant literally had its head chopped off and grew legs! The original plant had adapted as well, starting new shoots at the base of the leaves. Plants want to grow and this one even cloned itself.

Hydroponic plant that cloned itself

So How Did The Plant Clone Itself?

This plant was able to clone itself because it was in just the right conditions:

It was an overcast week. If it were sunny and hot, it’s a good chance the top would have dried out.

It was humid, Missouri summers are extremely muggy.

The water flow rate was too high. The hydroton had plenty of water to wick up, so the top of the hydroton was moist as you can see in the pictures.

When the top fell off of the plant, its stem fell into the hydroton.

While everything worked out just right for this to happen, it just goes to show when you give a plant what it needs it will most often flourish.


This event really opened my eyes to the fact that hydroponic gardening does not have to be difficult; it’s not about having a green thumb. For the most part, when a plant is given what it needs to grow and the proper environment to do it in, you’re going to have success!

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