Propagating Plants

One of the most exciting skills in gardening is in propagating new plants. When you can master some of these simple techniques and understand the principles behind them you no longer need to buy expensive new houseplants, shrubs or perennials as you can propagate your own from existing stock, either your own or from plants in friends gardens.

Most of the techniques explained below are fairly simple but there are a few areas where you may come across problems.

The two main things are hygiene and tools. Most of the processes of propagating involve cutting into plant tissue. All cuts MUST be made cleanly, either with a very sharp knife or with secateurs for thicker stems. I would suggest using a scalpel or craft knife with interchangeable blades to make the cuts with.

Hygiene is also of the utmost importance. Make up a solution of sterilising solution and dip the knife in it before you make each cut. This will prevent cross contamination between cuttings. Always use a proprietary compost to root the cuttings into - Never use garden soil. It is also worthwhile to add a fungicide to any water that you use for watering and always use fresh tap water - Never water out of a water butt or water that has been stood for any length of time. If you use a greenhouse for taking the cutting keep the bench clean and dispose of any diseased or dying plants in the greenhouse straight away so that they do not infect your new cuttings.

By following these few precautions you should not have any further problems with propagating your new plants.

The various techniques below tell you how to propagate new plants.

Basic Techniques

More Advanced Techniques

Budding & Grafting

© copyright 1999, P. A. Owen

UK gardening help and assistance