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The Many Ways of Plant Propagation

Sep 1, 2007
There are not just a few ways of propagating (or reproducing) plants, but many. A few of the most popular ways are explained below:

Sowing seeds.

Many houseplants can be reproduced by seeds. Seeds need three basic conditions for germination: moisture, warmth and air. A special seed compost soil can be purchased for this purpose. Most seeds germinate in darkness but a few need light. Look at the flower seed packet to determine which is which.

Plant seeds in small trays. If you plan to grow more than one type of plant, don't plant the different seeds in the same potting tray.

Thin the seedlings once they are well established to prevent crowding, lack of growth and to provide good air circulation.

When the young plants are sturdy and growing strongly, transfer each of them into its own pot.

Dividing plants.

This is the easiest way to propagate plants. It is usually best to divide plants in the spring. When a plant gets too big for the pot that it is currently in, the roots become root-bound or crowded. This prevents the natural growth of the plant and it begins to die.

Here are the steps to take to divide a plant:

1. Remove the entire plant from the pot.

2. Using your fingers, pull the root apart being careful not to tear the root stems. Only cut through a root as a last resort if the root ball won't pull apart.

3. Inspect the center of the root. If it appears old and the roots are woody, discard it.

4. Replant the separated plants, each into its own pot.

Layering

Layering is an easy, though slower, method of propagating many trailing and climbing houseplants that have flexible stemps - like ivy plants.

Long stems from the mother plant are secured with small pieces of wire into pots of potting compost. The stems are not cut from the parent plant until roots have formed from the potted plant shoot.

It's best to layer plants in late spring and early summer while they are growing strongly.

Stem cuttings

Many plants can be reproduced by taking stem cuttings. Here's how:

1. Use a sharp knife to cut a strong and healthy shoot from the mother plant, cutting it just above a leaf joint.

2. Push a dowel into a pot of compost soil and then insert the cut end of the stem 3/4 to 1 inch into the hole. Don't bury any leaves since this will cause rotting.

3. Tap compost around the cutting and lightly water.

4. Cover the plant and pot with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect. (Use small dowels to keep the baggie from touching the plant.)

As I mentioned before, these are just a few of the many ways of propagating plants. Other ways include water rooting, whole leaf cuttings, leaf square cuttings and more.

No matter what kind of plant that you have, there is a way to propagate it.
About the Author
Jude Wright is the owner of many home and garden websites. Visit her Houseplant Essentials site at http://houseplantessentials.com.
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