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Ali's Budget Gardening

Propogation of Plants

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There are many types of propogation, and many plants to propogate.  I'll try to cover as many as I can. *For information on propogating Roses, go to Roses, Roses, Roses in the navigation bar.*
 

How To Propagate Ferns

Propagation of Ferns by Dividing

The easiest way to propagate ferns is by dividing a large healthy clump of ferns. This can be done in autumn or in early spring.

Ferns grow from rhizomes that are flat, horizontal, slightly woody masses usually just beneath the surface of the soil. In some species, the rhizome may be vertical and will produce a crown from which the stems of the ferns emerge. In either case, the rhizome is the foundation from which the roots will grow downward from underneath, while the stems will grow upward from the top. By cutting this rhizome, and separating the clump of ferns, it is possible to obtain double or triple the fern mass and in just a few weeks they should all be healthy adult ferns. This can be done with ferns growing outdoors or with potted ferns. Plant the new clump of ferns in the same kind of soil and light/shade conditions in which it was previously growing with the rhizome just below the surface of the soil. As this new fern grows, it may be divided again in one or two years. The advantage of propagating ferns in this manner is that, with ease, you can get larger ferns in a shorter period of time. The disadvantage is that you are limited by the number of new ferns that can be propagated at one time.

A vegetative method of propagating ferns from those species that send out the long tentacle-like runners, is to leave these runners attached to the parent plant and lay them into a tray of a growing medium of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. Keep this growing medium damp but not soggy. New ferns will grow at the ends or, in some cases, along the length of the runners. Eventually the new ferns begin to grow and the runners will wither and die away. As in propagation by division, these ferns will mature faster than those propagated from spores. *For information on propogating from spores, go to the page Titled Seed Starting in the Navigation Bar*

How to Propagate Cacti

Cacti (plural of Cactus)

With well over 1300 species, Cacti are members of the Succulent group of plants and are native to the Americas from the southern tip of South America to Alaska.

Propagating by Dividing

The easiest way to propagate Cacti, and other succulent plants, is by division or from cuttings during their growing season from spring through summer. Branches and side sprouts can easily be cut off and started in a new pot of 75% perlite or vermiculite and 25% sand, or in a special growing medium just for cacti, available at most nurseries and garden centers. These cuttings or side sprouts and pods should be allowed to dry out for a few days to avoid plant rot before planting in soil (growing medium). Spray or mist the surface of the soil and place the container with the new cutting in a position where it well receive plenty of light. After plant shows signs of growth, start fertilizing with a special fertilizer especially prepared for cacti, available at most nurseries and garden centers. Do not allow the soil to dry out too much because the young plant has not yet grown sufficiently to retain enough moisture. *Information On Growing or propogating Cacti from seed can be found on the seed starting page*

How to Propagate a Plant by Layering

Layering is basically a method of getting a branch or stem to produce roots while still being attached to the parent plant. When the roots are established, the branch is cut and the new plant is potted or planted into the ground where it starts growing as a new plant. This is a method of propagation that is asexual, or vegetative rather than sexual, as is the case when propagating from seed. Two main benefits of asexual or vegetative propagation are: New plants are capable of reaching maturity much faster than when propagated from seed. When layering though, it may take a long time for roots to start growing in some species. Some plants such as hybrids will not reproduce true to parent stock when propagated from seed, in fact, some of these kinds of plants will not even produce viable seed. Asexual propagation is such cases is the only way to get new plant starts.

Propagating by layering, in its simplest form, is accomplished by bending a low growing branch of a tree or shrub to make contact with the ground. At the point where the branch touches the ground the branch must be secured. It can be tied down with stakes and partially buried with soil, or it can be weighted down into loose soil by placing a stone, brick, or block over it. Anchoring it down with wooden stakes or hardware hooks is best. Pruning the parent plant a bit will usually stimulate growth in the lower branches of a plant. In some cases, where the branch is long enough, contact with the ground can occur at several points along its length, resulting in several new plants from one branch. This is known as compound layering. Roots can be coaxed to grow from the low growing branch branch by cutting away a 1 or 2 inch strip of bark from the side that faces the ground. Apply some rooting hormone powder to this wound and secure the branch to the soil. If compound layering, repeat at several points along the branch.

The best season for layering is early spring. Layering can be done later in the year, but if there is not enough time for roots to form during the current season, the propagation will not be complete until the following year.

Many species of house plants can be propagated in the same way. Bend a stem, branch, or vine over to another pot (or pots) and new roots will begin to grow there.

In some species of plants, such as many kinds of berries, layering is done from the tips of the canes rather than along their sides. In mid summer, bed the canes over until the tips come in contact with the ground. The ground at these points should be softened up with a spade or you can use pots about 8 inches deep full of potting soil. These cane tips should be buried no more than 6 inches deep. After new plants have sprouted and established their own roots, the connecting canes can be severed. The new plants will still have several weeks to develop before winter.

Many kinds of deciduous shrubs, roses and fruit trees that are not more than 4 feet high can be layered in mounds of dirt. "Stool Layering" is accomplished by cutting back the main leader or trunk of the shrub to within 2 or 3 inches from the surface of the ground in late winter or early spring before the plant begins its new growth. This method works best if the plant has been heavily pruned the preceding autumn. New shoots will start to grow just below the top of the stump. Pinch off any buds that occur to stimulate more of these shoots to start growing. When these new sprouts are about 6 inches tall, get some rich garden soil and bury the stump and the base of the new shoots leaving only the top leaves exposed. As these shoots grow, continue adding more soil until a mound (stool) nearly a foot high is covering all but the top leaves. Mulch heavily with dried leaves, bark or lawn clippings to retain moisture within the stool. After several weeks, each shoot will develop roots. Sever the stem connecting them to the parent plant and transplant to new location or to individual pots.

Another method, similar to Stool Layering, is to cut the entire plant back to within a few inches from the ground the preceding autumn. In early spring new shoots will start to grow from just below the severed top of the stump. When these new shoots are 6 or 8 inches tall, dig up the entire plant and bury deeper into the ground until only the tops of the new shoots are exposed. Use a fine rich garden soil to back fill around these new shoots. Each of these shoots will grow there own roots and can be transplanted once they are will established, by the end of summer.

Air Layering is accomplished by cutting away a half inch strip of bark all the way around an upper branch. Apply a rooting hormone powder to the exposed wood and wrap some damp sphagnum moss around the area. Wrap the sphagnum moss with a 5 or 6 inch wide strip of black polyethylene plastic and secure it above and below the area with electrical tape or duct tape. Allow the plastic to balloon out to offer space for the new roots to grow. After the new roots are well formed, cut just below the area to sever from the parent plant. This is a great way to obtain bonsai specimens. Plant in pot or in the ground.

Propogation From Stem Cuttings

The four main types of stem cuttings are herbaceous, softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood. These terms reflect the growth stage of the stock plant, which is one of the most important factors influencing whether or not cuttings will root. Calendar dates are useful only as guidelines.

Evergreen Plants

Common Name

Scientific Name

Type of Cutting

Abelia

Abelia spp.

SH, HW

Arborvitae, American

Thuja occidentalis

SH, HW

Arborvitae, Oriental

Platycladus orientalis

SW

Azalea (evergreen & semi-evergreen)

Rhododendron spp.

SH

Barberry, Mentor

Berberis x mentorensis

SH

Barberry, Japanese

Berberis thunbergii

SH, HW

Barberry, Wintergreen

Berberis julianae

SH

Boxwood, Littleleaf

Buxus microphylla

SH, HW

Boxwood, Common

Buxus sempervirens

SH, HW

Camellia

Camellia spp.

SW, SH, HW

Ceanothus

Ceanothus spp.

SW, SH, HW

Cedar

Cedrus spp.

SH, HW

Chamaecyparis; False Cypress

Chamaecyparis spp.

SH, HW

Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster spp.

SW, SH

Cryptomeria, Japanese

Cryptomeria japonica

SH

Daphne

Daphne spp.

SH

Eleagnus, Thorny

Elaeagnus pungens

SH

English ivy

Hedera helix

SH, HW

Euonymus

Euonymus spp.

SH

Fir

Abies spp.

SW, HW

Gardenia; Cape jasmine

Gardenia jasminoides

SW, SH

Heath

Erica spp.

SW, HW

Hemlock

Tsuga spp.

SW, SH, HW

Holly, Chinese

Ilex cornuta

SH, HW

Holly, Foster's

Ilex x attenuata 'Fosteri'

SH

Holly, American

Ilex opaca

SH

Holly, Yaupon

Ilex vomitoria

SH

Holly, English

Ilex aquifolium

SH

Holly, Japanese

Ilex crenata

SH, HW

Jasmine

Jasminum spp.

SH

Juniper, Creeping

Juniperus horizontalis

SH, HW

Juniper, Chinese

Juniperus chinensis

SH, HW

Juniper, Shore

Juniperus conferta

SH, HW

Leyland cypress

x Cupressocyparis leylandii

SH, HW

Magnolia

Mahonia spp.

SH

Oleander

Nerium oleander

SH

Osmanthus, Holly

Osmanthus heterophyllus

SH, HW

Photinia

Photinia spp.

SH, HW

Pine, Mugo

Pinus mugo

SH

Pine, Eastern white

Pinus strobus

HW

Pittosporum

Pittosporum spp.

SH

Podocarpus

Podocarpus spp.

SH

Privet

Ligustrunum spp.

SW, SH, HW

Pyracantha; Firethorn

Pyracantha spp.

SH

Rhododendron

Rhododendron spp.

SH, HW

Spruce

Picea spp.

SW, HW

Viburnum

Viburnum spp.

SW, HW

Yew

Taxus spp.

SH, HW

SW = softwood, SH = semi-hardwood, HW = hardwood

 

Deciduous Trees

Common Name

Scientific Name

Type of Cutting

Azalea (deciduous)

Rhododendron spp.

SW

Basswood; American linden

Tilia americana

SW

Birch

Betula spp.

SW

Bittersweet

Celastrus spp.

SW, SH, HW

Blueberry

Vaccinium spp.

SW, HW

Broom

Cytisus spp.

SW, HW

Callery pear

Pyrus calleryana

SH

Catalpa

Catalpa spp.

SW

Clematis

Clematis spp.

SW, SH

Crabapple

Malus spp.

SW, SH

Crape myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica

SH

Cherry, Flowering

Prunus spp.

SW, SH

Dawn redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

SW, SH

Deutzia

Deutzia spp.

SW, HW

Dogwood

Cornus spp.

SW, SH

Elderberry

Sambucus spp.

SW

Elm

Ulmus spp.

SW

Euonymus

Euonymus spp.

HW

Forsythia

Forsythia spp.

SW, SH, HW

Fringe tree

Chioanthus spp.

SW

Ginkgo, Maidenhair tree

Ginkgo biloba

SW

Goldenrain tree

Koelreuteria spp.

SW

Hibiscus, Chinese

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

SW, SH

Honey locust

Gleditsia triacanthos

HW

Honeysuckle

Lonicera spp.

SW, HW

Hydrangea

Hydrangea spp.

SW, HW

Ivy, Boston

Parthenocissus tricuspidata

SW, HW

Larch

Larix spp.

SW

Lilac

Syringa spp.

SW

Maple

Acer spp.

SW, SH

Mock orange

Philadelphus spp.

SW, HW

Mulberry

Morus spp.

SW

Poplar, Aspen; Cottonwood

Populus spp.

SW, HW

Poplar, Yellow; Tulip tree; Tulip poplar

Liriodendron tulipifera

SH

Quince, Flowering

Chaenomeles spp.

Sh

Redbud

Cercis spp.

SW

Rose of Sharon; Shrub-althea

HIbiscus syriacus

SW, HW

Rose

Rosa spp.

SW, SH, HW

Russian olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia

HW

Serviceberry

Amelanchier spp.

SW

Smoke tree

Cotinus coggygria

SW

Spirea

Spiraea spp.

SW

St. Johnswort

Hypericum spp.

SW

Sumac

Rhus spp.

SW

Sweet gum

Liquidambar styraciflua

SW

Trumpet creeper

Campsis spp.

SW, SH, HW

Virginia creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

SW, HW

Weigela

Weigela spp.

SW, HW

Willow

Salix spp.

SW, SH, HW

Wisteria

Wisteria spp.

SW

SW = softwood, SH = semi-hardwood, HW = hardwood

Herbaceous cuttings are made from non-woody, herbaceous plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, and dahlia. A 3- to 5-inch piece of stem is cut from the parent plant. The leaves on the lower one-third to one-half of the stem are removed. A high percentage of the cuttings root, and they do so quickly.

Softwood cuttings are prepared from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature). Shoots are suitable for making softwood cuttings when they can be snapped easily when bent and when they still have a gradation of leaf size (oldest leaves are mature while newest leaves are still small). For most woody plants, this stage occurs in May, June, or July. The soft shoots are quite tender, and extra care must be taken to keep them from drying out. The extra effort pays off, because they root quickly.

Semi-hardwood cuttings are usually prepared from partially mature wood of the current seasons growth, just after a flush of growth. This type of cutting normally is made from mid-July to early fall. The wood is reasonably firm and the leaves of mature size. Many broadleaf evergreen shrubs and some conifers are propagated by this method.

Hardwood cuttings are taken from dormant, mature stems in late fall, winter, or early spring. Plants generally are fully dormant with no obvious signs of active growth. The wood is firm and does not bend easily. Hardwood cuttings are used most often for deciduous shrubs but can be used for many evergreens.

Procedures for Rooting Stem Cuttings

Cuttings should generally consist of the current or past seasons growth. Avoid material with flower buds if possible. Remove any flowers and flower buds when preparing cuttings so the cuttings energy can be used in producing new roots rather than flowers. Take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants, preferably from the upper part of the plant.

The fertility status of the stock (parent) plant can influence rooting. Avoid taking cuttings from plants that show symptoms of mineral nutrient deficiency. Conversely, plants that have been fertilized heavily, particularly with nitrogen, may not root well. The stock plant should not be under moisture stress. In general, cuttings taken from young plants root in higher percentages than cuttings taken from older, more mature plants. Cuttings from lateral shoots often root better than cuttings from terminal shoots.

Early morning is the best time to take cuttings, because the plant is fully turgid. It is important to keep the cuttings cool and moist until they are stuck. An ice chest or dark plastic bag with wet paper towels may be used to store cuttings. If there will be a delay in sticking cuttings, store them in a plastic bag in a refrigerator.

While terminal parts of the stem are best, a long shoot can be divided into several cuttings. Cuttings are generally 4 to 6 inches long. Use a sharp, thin-bladed pocket knife or sharp pruning shears. If necessary, dip the cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to prevent transmitting diseases from infected plant parts to healthy ones.

Remove the leaves from the lower one-third to one-half of the cutting .  On large-leafed plants, the remaining leaves may be cut in half to reduce water loss and conserve space. Species difficult to root should be wounded (nicked, scraped, etc).

Treating cuttings with root-promoting compounds can be a valuable tool in stimulating rooting of some plants that might otherwise be difficult to root. Prevent possible contamination of the entire supply of rooting hormone by putting some in a separate container before treating cuttings. Any material that remains after treatment should be discarded and not returned to the original container. Be sure to tap the cuttings to remove excess hormone when using a powder formulation.

The rooting medium should be sterile, low in fertility, and well-drained to provide sufficient aeration. It should also retain enough moisture so that watering does not have to be done too frequently. Materials commonly used are coarse sand, a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume). Vermiculite by itself is not recommended, because it compacts and tends to hold too much moisture. Media should be watered while being used.

Insert the cuttings one-third to one-half their length into the medium. Maintain the vertical orientation of the stem (do not insert the cuttings upside down). Make sure the buds are pointed up. Space cuttings just far enough apart to allow all leaves to receive sunlight. Water again after inserting the cuttings if the containers or frames are 3 or more inches in depth. Cover the cuttings with plastic and place in indirect light. Avoid direct sun. Keep the medium moist until the cuttings have rooted. Rooting will be improved if the cuttings are misted on a regular basis.

Rooting time varies with the type of cutting, the species being rooted, and environmental conditions. Conifers require more time than broadleaf plants. Late fall or early winter is a good time to root conifers. Once rooted, they may be left in the rooting structure until spring.

Newly rooted cuttings should not be transplanted directly into the landscape. Instead, transplant them into containers or into a bed. Growing them to a larger size before transplanting to a permanent location will increase the chances for survival.