There are as many reasons to propagate plants as there are plants, or gardeners.
Most plants are propagated for food or income. Each year wheat, soy, maize and rice farmers propagate millions of plants then rely on proceeds from the harvest to repeat the same process the next year. Nurseries do much the same, year after year they propagate and sell plants – sometimes to the same people that bought the plants last year. (Have you ever thought what would happen if all the plants sold by nurseries lived? Where would the demand come from the following years for new ornamental plants
Some plants are propagated because they are rare, in some cases so few remain in the wild that the only way to keep the plant from extinction is for someone to propagate it. Many rare and endangered plants end up in the care of scientists and home gardeners (backyarders). We have seen some very impressive collections of lovingly tended rare plants in back, side or front yards. Some rare plants, and quite a few more common, are grown in urban environments where there is no open space or soil for their owners to use – these grow in planters in windows, sun rooms, balconies and on roofs.
Plants are propagated to teach. Yearly, in primary and secondary schools millions of seeds get started to instruct students in such diverse topics as biology, genetics, history, insect care and even religion. Many of our readers will remember starting beans in school and others might have started an avocado by suspending the giant seed in a water glass with toothpicks.
are propagated for their comforting presence. You will
find African violets in many homes as well as
Aspidistra, Dieffenbachia and kitchen spices. Something
about having a pretty fern or bloom filled African
violet sitting nearby while eating breakfast or lunch
makes it 'better' for many people. Giving the cat oat
sprouts or catnip produces many a happy pet and owner.
This site hopes to look at different plants and the different methods used to propagate them. We hope to offer help in your quest to grow something of your own. This site will provide information on both of the two kinds of propagation: sexual and asexual. Since there is still quite a bit of art associated with the science of growing plants we expect to have new material, hopefully from some of you, on the topic as we go along. We hope to have information on specific plants as well as broad techniques so that our readers can share in the huge amount of information available across the world.
Understand though, plant propagation is not an exact science, or perhaps it is but there are so many local factors to take into account that it seems an art as much as science. If you are growing something with success and read here another way remember that as with many things what works for one person or location may not for another. Please share your experiences with us as well as your photographs.
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