Plant Propagation For Beginners

Even beginners can learn the basics of plant propagation. Five methods of propagation with

To propagate, by dictionary definition, means to cause to reproduce. It may seem a big task to propagate plants and as a beginner you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of doing it yourself. Propagation really depends on the method used. As a beginner you need to know the basic methods used in propagation.

Cuttings are a method of propagation that are quite popular. There are two ways to propagate from plant cuttings. Stem cuttings are where part of the plants growth is cut off and planted. Leaf cuttings are taking a leaf off the plant. The stem cutting is taken from a smaller stem coming off the main stem . The leaf cutting should include 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the stem. When taking a cutting, do it at an angle to allow moisture to reach cut area easily and prevent drying. Cuttings are planted in a sand or soiless potting mix, watered thoroughly and set in a warm area. Cover the cuttings with loose plastic wrap to keep in moisture. When sprouts appear, remove plastic. Stem cuttings are not obvious when they've rooted. Give them a light tug and if they offer resistance they have rooted. Leaf cuttings,on the other hand, are easy to identify. When they have rooted smaller leafs will sprout up. Once rooted the cutting need to be replanted in a soil mixture. Pull each little leaf and plant separately. Cuttings can be a little time consuming, but almost always produce great results.

The most simple method of propagation is to take 'suckers' from the mother (the existing plant) and repot them. Suckers are smaller plants that grow off the mother plant. The suckers can be attached or grow separately from the mother, but each will have its own root system. The separate root system allows the sucker to be removed from the mother and directly replanted to continue its growth as a separate plant. In addition, there is no need to keep the new plant in a 'controlled' environment, like the plastic wrap process,because the roots are already developed. This makes suckers an easy propagation method.

A propagation method that is popular with greenhouses is division. Division, as the name suggests is separating the plant. To divide a plant, dig it up and split it with a knife or spade. Each division needs at least one stem and root system. The new divisions should be planted in the same manner as the mother plant. Plants should be divided while dormant because it disturbs the root system and is best done on plants that have multiple crowns or bulbs. If you are unsure how to divide a plant you should consult a professional. Division can harm the plants root system and result in the plant dying if not done properly. It is, however, a quick process that has fairly good results.

Propagation by layering is great for long stemmed plants, like bushes. To layer a plant is to simply plant a section of stem while it is still attached to the mother plant. After roots have developed cut the stem off at an angle and replant like the mother plant. When layering you may need to use a rock or some other anchoring device to keep the stem from popping out of the soil. If you want to try propagation without being obtrusive to the mother or during the growing season this is the method to try.

The most natural method of propagation is by seed. This is the way most plants propagate themselves. To propagate by seed wait until the flower blooms. Look for the seeds to develop. An easy trick to gather seeds is to cut off the flower and shake it in a paper bag. Once gathered the seeds should be planted in a light soiless mixture. Keep them moist and give them plenty of sunlight. Cover with plastic wrap until sprouts appear then remove. Plants can be repotted once the second set of leaves grow. Propagation by seed takes longer than other methods, but this allows you to grow the plant from its simplest state.

Propagation doesn't have to be difficult. There are many methods to help grow your garden from existing plants. Some methods work better for some plants. Watch the plant to see if it will try to propagate itself using one of the methods. Some plants layer themselves, or grow suckers. Use the method that seems most natural for the plant and the results should be fruitful. It will surprise you how easy it is to grow a new plant and even the beginner can propagate with ease and confidence.

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