Propagation is about making more plants. Propagation is crucial to the nursery industry, and therefore to the whole garden and landscape business. There are many different ways to propagate plants. Different methods are used for different species – which method you use depends very much on the form of the plant, its lifecycle and its own natural ways of increasing itself. A method that might work well with one species may not work at all with another. With some plants, several different methods might work, but one may be more popular because it is easier to do on a large scale, gives quicker results, or may be cheaper. Different methods of propagation may also give different outcomes, in terms of plant size or vigour, so there may be very good reasons as to why one method might be chosen rather than another.
1. The outlines of propagation: seeds, collecting and storing
An introduction to the basic biology of how plants can be propagated – understanding core principles is a real help here as it will enable you to make informed decisions about the way you work with plants. We then move on to nature's highly effective 'first method of choice' – seed, collecting seed yourself and storing it to keep it viable for as long as possible.
2. Sowing seeds and hybridisation
We continue our exploration of growing plants from seed: sowing it both inside under protected conditions and outside. We look at the reluctance that some seed has to germinate, why this is so, and how we can deal with it. Finally, there is a brief outline of hybridisation, which is important to understand if we want to ensure that we get what we want from the seed we sow.
3. Vegetative propagation, cuttings and layering
Vegetative propagation is very different to growing from seed, and in many cases gives quicker results. Here we look at the basic principles, and then at the most important method for many of us – taking cuttings, at different types of cuttings and how to get the best results. We also look at layering techniques, useful for certain shrubs and climbers.
4. Division and grafting
Division is a very easy method of propagation for perennials; here we look at how to make the most effective use of it. We also take a quick look at grafting, which is a specialised technique, but it helps to have an outline understanding of it, and why it is used in many circumstances.
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