Gardening – Propagation

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To increase your plant population through propagation is challenging, satisfying and cheaper than buying from nurseries. The different forms of propagation are:

Seed is a popular option and most plants can be multiplied by sowing. In some cases it is better to buy seed from a reputable seed-house; for certain cultivated plants' seed will not result in an identical plant to the parent.
Seed can be sown in a tray with 1 part sand, 1 part peat moss and 1 part sieved topsoil.
Scatter seed over the growing medium and cover to a depth of its own diameter.
Water with a fine spray and cover with black plastic or hay.
Remove coverage with first appearance of germination.
Fine seed should be sown in sand mixed with peat moss. Mix equal quantities of sand and seed thoroughly and spread over the firmed-down, growing medium (in a plastic seed tray). Immerse the tray into shallow water and let the soil suck moisture up. Remove from water when the upper layer of soil darkens and cover with newspaper. Remove newspaper after germination and place tray in a garden frame. Provide 50% shade by using a cloth over the frame. Using chicken wire stretched around/over upright poles and shade cloth can make a simple garden frame.
Prick out seedlings when they are ±2cm high or have two true leaves and plant out in containers, ensuring adequate spacing.
The planting out in the garden should be done when the young ones are growing strong, differing in heights from plant to plant.

Cuttings are a popular option for propagating cultivars to an identical form and are used for trees and shrubs. Pull gently on the stem to test for rooting; it has rooted if lodged firmly. Cuttings can be made in stem-, leaf- and root form. Stem cuttings are the method most often used of hardwood-, soft tip- or semi-hardwood types.
Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken during summer and will take 3 - 8 weeks to root.
Make the cutting 15cm long, with a bud near the top and place in a pot containing river sand, protect from sunlight and keep moist.
Hardwood cuttings are taken before the growing season and will take ±5 weeks to root. Ensure the top is just above a bud. Place these cuttings in river sand with 5cm emerging above the sand. Keep moist, mulch with hay and provide sun-protection.
Soft tip cuttings should be 10cm long and taken in spring. Rooting may take place within in week to two weeks and keep constantly moist. The bottom cut should be made just beneath a node and the growing tip removed. Remove the foliage of- and plant the lower half in a pot with river sand.
Leaf cuttings are probably the method least used, except in the case of certain plants where it's the only option of cutting-propagation. With a sharp knife, make cuts into the veins at broad intervals before lying down flatly. Use containers filled with fine, sifted sand. Leaf cuttings for certain succulents are much easier, even with only portions of the leaf. Insert the leaf piece just slightly into the soil and use hairpins to secure the veins tightly against the soil. Leave the pot untouched until new plants are visible.
Root cuttings are taken in early summer from growing roots 5cm long and 1cm thick. This process takes months of patience and should be left until rooted thoroughly. Use pots with balanced sand and peat moss to lay the cuttings horizontally and cover with 2 - 3cm of growing medium. Provide protection..

Division is done in different seasons for different plant types. Wait for the sun to set and dig the plant(s) up carefully. Gently pull it apart into sections with adequate roots for each section. Replant these divided sections in prepared holes. Water thoroughly and regularly for the next month.

Budding is ideally done on overcast days. Prepare the bud stick, with a sharp knife, for insertion. Using a knife cut the stem's T-incision and inserts the bud. Tie in with bud tape.

Grafting is similar to budding and ideally done right before- or during the growing season. The basic principal of grafting is the perfect alignment of rootstock and shoot, held together tightly with a rubber band. Choose rootstock from a healthy plant with a sturdy stem of at least 1cm thickness. Cut and level the stem. Make a cut down the stem between two buds, taking off a strip as wide as your shoot and angled into the stem. When deep and long enough, make a sharp upwards/outward cut. Take a tip cutting with two leaves and copy the cut-out-part of the rootstock to create a tight fit. Match up the growing layers of both and bound tightly with grafting tape. There are several methods of grafting and some are best done in the green house.

Layering is ideally done at the beginning of autumn and it could take some time before you can lift the new plants. Select long, elastic stems for layering. Make a cut underneath a bud, on the outside of the bending sections. Secure the stem down with pegs, replace with river sand around the cut and fill with soil, leaving the stem's end above ground level. This method ensures nutrients from the parent plant while rooting. Once rooted it can be cut into sections of new plants.


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