Have you ever thought about just how plants grow? The term for this is plant propagation and there are many unique and sometimes creative ways for new plants to grow.
What is plant propagation: Plants grow in many ways and together, this is called plant propagation. Plants can combine with other genetic material in sexual propagation, more commonly known as seeding. They can also clone themselves through asexual propagation, which does not require extra genetic material. This happens through various methods including cutting, layering, and division. If you would like to engage in plant propagation, start by researching your plants. Find out which ones produce seeds, which ones can be easily divided, and which ones can simply layer themselves through their root system. The more you understand your plants, the better you are able to control your garden.
Forms of Plant Propagation
Perhaps the most common and well-known form of plant propagation is seeding. In this case, however, the process is more complicated than we may understand.
Seeds are planted in the ground and then more plants grow. However, a plant needs a special situation to grow more seeds.
After a plant begins to flower, it needs pollen from another plant to grow the fruit or vegetable. It is then within these fruits or vegetables that more seeds can be found.
Seeds have genetic material from two sources. If a plant is not able to gather that second set of material, it will not be able to produce more seeds, and more plants will not grow.
You may think that once you cut off a plant, it won’t grow again but if you cut it properly, it actually can. There are three types of cutting, including stem cutting, leaf-cutting, and root cutting.
If you plan on growing new plants through cutting, you will want to follow a few steps. You should keep the cuttings moist with a wet paper towel as once they dry out, they won’t be alive anymore.
Furthermore, not all cuttings will work so you may need to try a few times. It’s best to take more than you think you will need, just in case.
While not essential, if you want a better chance for the survival of your cuttings, many gardeners use a rooting hormone. This prevents infections and gives your plant a better chance to thrive.
If you’ve ever wondered just how one plant seems to travel, it is because of a process called layering. This involves an intricate root system that happens underneath the ground.
The main plant will grow roots that then sprout the same, cloned version of the host plant. Over time, these new plants will become their own main plants and the system can continue again.
One of the benefits of growing perennials is that they can be divided over time. This includes digging up the roots of part of the plant but leaving half of it behind.
The remaining part of the flower will continue to grow while the division can be transplanted and placed in another area of your garden.
If you have perennials that flower in the fall, you should divide your plants in the spring. Likewise, if your plants flower in the summer, you should wait until the fall to divide them.
Plant Propagation Techniques and Methods
With asexual propagation, a plant is able to produce new plants based only on its current genetics. Essentially, it is cloning itself so that all future plants are a product of their original genetic material.
In order for asexual propagation to occur, a plant will use all its tools available. This includes the root system, leaves, and stems.
While rare, there are some plants that can propagate asexually by producing their own seeds. These seeds do not need other genetic material to grow new.
With sexual propagation, you need two different materials to create a new plant. This usually requires the egg of a plant and pollen from another.
The result of this union is seeds. While you may think that seeds are what makes plants grow, they are not what in turn makes more seeds.
If a plant has a flower that is not pollinated, then it will not produce seeds. This is why pollinators, such as bees and butterflies are so important.
Purpose of Plant Propagation
The purpose of all living matter is to reproduce. Just as humans have a biological urge for reproduction, so too do plants.
The whole life cycle of a plant is based on continuing its genetic material, and plants will rely on various methods of propagation to do so.
Importance of Plant Propagation
In nature, there simply wouldn’t be a world without plant propagation. As for home gardeners, there are a number of practical reasons for these methods.
Plants can be expensive and a simple trip to your local nursery can result in a very large bill. However, a cheaper alternative is through plant propagation.
If you already have plants you like on your property, you can try any of the above ways to grow more. You can plant the seeds of your flowers in another area, divide your perennials to fill in a new area, and even allow underground roots to take over.
Plant propagation can also be sentimental. Peonies are a perennial that does will with division and if you and a family member want to share a plant that belonged to a grandparent, this is an easy way to do so.
Finally, plant propagation from more advanced methods, such as cuttings, can take you to the next level of gardening. There is a sense of pride you can get from mastering your plants.
The next time you step out into your garden, take the time to understand just how your plants grow. Then, if you want to build a bigger garden or share some plants with friends, you can use a plant propagation technique to share in your abundance.