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!
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.
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.
leaf, root and stem cuttings. The different types of propagation involves many forms of preparation, but all are aimed at putting roots on a part of a parent plant that has been removed for that purpose.
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.
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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