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Plant Propagation - Taking Cuttings, Sowing Seeds

Propagation is the process of producing new plants by various means and methods. Most will be aware of the seed sowing method of plant propagation, but new plants can also be raised by other methods.

All manner of plants can be propagated to produce new stock. Otherwise, there would be no new plants to carry on the cycle of growth! Plants that you see on the garden centres shelves, have all been propagated by some means or other.

Methods of plant propagation as simple as 'dividing' plants are all classed as propagating. The main aim, is to get extra plants by whatever means suits your own gardening methods!

  • Seed Growing - Raising new plants by seed sowing, is by far the most popular method for propagation of many plants.
  • Seed propagation is a relatively cost-effective way of producing masses of similar plants such as bedding plants for the garden.

Propagating by Seed

Some would probably think that the cost of some seed is high, and therefore not cost effective. Commercial growers have to produce the most plants in the shortest time. Seeds allow them to do just that.

Geranium seedlings in small propagating peat potsTip Layer - propagated plant showing new roots formingFchsia cutting - easy way to propagate.  

    A seedling bedding plant, can be sown and selling on the garden centre shelf in a matter of a few weeks. This is not possible with plants raised with cuttings. The end result depends upon successful seed germination. At the start of the process is the very  simple - yet prone to failure - act of sowing seeds.

Propagating Plants with Cuttings

Propagation of Plants by Layers

  • Layering - Propagating by Layers. There are basically two types of layering that are practiced, general layering involves inserting part of a plant into the ground to promote new root growth. The other method of layering is known as air layering, and is used where it is not possible to lower a branch to the ground. It is also useful method of propagation for plants grown indoors - where it is not possible to layer a plant into the ground.

Propagating Plants by Division

  • Division - Division is a method of propagating new perennial plants. Easy, mostly foolproof, and suitable for turning an aging perennial into a few - perhaps many - new plants.

Propagation of Plants by Grafting

Grafting - Grafting is a method of inserting a part of a desirable plant into a 'parent' plant in order that the new grafted plant will have many of the characteristics of the 'parent'. Wisterias for instance, are grafted onto a wild wisteria stem, a/ because wisterias are difficult to root from cuttings, b/ because it is a quicker method of producing a saleable plant, and c/ because the wild wisteria seedling plant, will pass on its natural vigour to the new child plant.

Plant Propagation by Budding

Budding - Plants can be raised by the propagation technique of budding. This involves removing a 'bud, with little bit of other growth attached, and inserting it beneath the bark of a host plant. Roses in particular are grown using this method. A rose 'cutting' is quite slow to become established, and not always healthy on its own roots. By budding it onto a wild briar-type rootstock, the new rose will have much more vigour than if grown on its own roots. Modern propagation methods now allow some varieties to grow on their own roots - from cuttings.

Stolons and rhizomes. - These are underground stems, roots or 'runners' from which new plants can easily be propagated. Taking the runners of strawberry plants is a method of propagating new plants, that are true to form of their parents.

Micro propagation - Micro propagation is fast becoming a modern technique of propagation plants on a commercial scale. Many plants that used to be difficult to raise in large number, such as orchids, are now propagated from microscopic cell tissue, and spend their early life in a test tube or other sealed container. The success of this type of propagation, has bought down the price of orchids in particular, so that they are now almost an everyday item in many households.

Seed Sowing - Outdoor Seed Beds 


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