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Plant grafts

What Plant Propagation Methods Fit Your Needs?

Easy Propagation by Division

Since some plants have trouble reproducing on their own, humans have created plant propagation methods to help aid in asexual reproduction. The first main type of propagation that is the simplest to perform is division. It pretty much is as easy as it sounds. Division is a method where the plant is broken up into multiple parts. Herbaceous perennials (aka herbs, non-woody plants that live for more than two years) are the most common type of plant used in division, due to their root and plant structure. The process is quite simple- gently separate the crown of the plant that contains shoots and roots either by hand or using a tool. As long as every separate section contains these shoots and roots, then it’s ready to replant! Division is a great and easy way to expand your plant population and can be done successfully almost any time of the year.

Simple Propagation by Cutting

Another simple method of propagation is cutting. This again is as simple as it sounds! Research should be done beforehand on the type of plant you want to cut, to double check and make sure your plant can root from a cutting. To begin taking a cutting, remove all flower buds and flowers from the stem, so more energy can be focused on the growth of the roots. Take the cut as close to the stalk as possible in order to get all the essential growth parts. After taking the cuttings, either directly stick them in potting soil, (if you only have a few), or store the cuttings in a high humidity place covered in plastic to help reduce water loss until planting. Cutting is extremely simple and beneficial if you’re wanting to expand the plant population by just a few, but it can also be beneficial when wanting to store and plant the cuttings in bulk.

Intermediate Layering Propagation

Layering is a more difficult method of plant propagation but can still easily be done. Layering is when root development begins on a stem while the stem is still attached to the parent plant. This is beneficial if you have a plant that struggles rooting from seed, so in this case, they can root from themselves. There are many different types of layering techniques to fit your need- and they all have an extremely high success rate. Simple layering, with no surprise, is the simplest form of layering. In this process, a low growing stem can be bent, staked, and covered with soil. If the bend is done properly and is facing vertically, then the bend will induce rooting and thus a new plant will begin growing. This process can also be repeated in the form of compound layering, where several layers can result from a single stem.

Mound and Air Layering Propagation

Mound layering is used more with heavy-stemmed branches or with rootstocks of fruit trees and is a process where the plant is cut back in the dormant season, and then covered with layers of soil as new buds shoot.

The last form of layering is called air layering, which is a method used to propagate large houseplants or woody ornamental plants. A wound is created on the stem of a plant, then the area is covered with moist soil and wrapped in plastic. This creates a growth environment for new roots to grow! Once the covering is filled with roots, you can sever the stem underneath the air layer and pot to continue growth. Since layering is a more in-depth technique, research should be done on your plant first in order to know which method would be most successful!

Grafting in the Details

The last, most detailed method of propagation is grafting. Grafting is a way to join parts from two different plants and have them become one. (It’s basically surgery for plants). A common reason for grafting is wanting to grow a cultivar of a plant that doesn’t come true from seed. Grafting is an intense method of propagation used to create desirable traits in plants based on what the plant and farmer’s needs are. In this case, the scion of the desirable plant can be connected to the stalk of another until they grow as one.  There are many types of grafts, and they range in complexity. Grafting is a high leveled-skill, since vascular systems of the plants need to line up, and growing conditions have to be ideal. Experienced scientists or farmers can easily grow any plant they desire using grafting.

These main propagation methods, along with many more, assist farmers and home gardeners in their every-day lives by helping reproduce asexually and allowing for desirable traits of your favorite plant to shine through!

About Parker Greene

Although I grew up in the city, I found my passion lives within the farming lifestyle. I am currently a student at NC State studying agricultural education, where I spend most of my time learning hands-on with plants and animals. If I’m not found out at the farm, I’m usually spending time with family or at a sporting event supporting the Wolfpack.

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