How To Propagate Plants

Knowing the various methods of how to propagate plants give you an increased level of self sufficiency as you are no longer reliant on outside sources for continued growth.

Propagating Vegetables

There are a few vegetables that are raised other than by seed. Crops of potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes are raised from tubers planted in the soil during March and April. To get a small supply of asparagus for the following year, three-year-old crowns should be purchased and planted during the spring in the usual way with the crown just below the surface. Crowns of rhubarb may also be purchased for spring planting. When planting them, keep the crown just above the surface of the soil.

How To Propagate Plants

Later, rhubarb roots will need dividing —they can be lifted in spring or autumn, cut into small pieces with a sharp knife and replanted. Each portion must, of course, have a crown attached.

The treatment of sea-kale is rather different from that of all other vegetables. Propagation is carried out by means of thongs. These are pieces of root 4 in. to 6 in. long and as thick as a finger, cut from the fleshy roots of a plant when it has been lifted. They are planted in April with the thicker end uppermost, but as it is not always easy to determine this, they are cut straight across at the top and slanting at the bottom. These pieces should be planted vertically with the top a few inches below the surface. In the case of sea-kale, no crown is necessary.

Shallots are a vegetable unique in their method of growth. Individual bulbs are half pushed into the soil during the early spring and by midsummer six or more bulbs are produced round the one originally planted.

Greenhouse plants are potted-on several times before they are established in their final pots. The stages in this operation are shown above. At each potting-on a pot one size larger is used.

1. Place a crock over the drainage hole, concave side down, and cover this with rough decaying leaves. Place a little compost over this and ram gently.

2. To remove the plant from the old pot tap the rim carefully on wood, holding the left hand over the soil to prevent it falling out.

Place the ball of soil in the new pot and shake compost in the space between the’ two. Ram this firm, but do not ram the ball of old soil, otherwise root injury will result.

4. Finally, smooth the surface with a little fresh compost. After potting water the plants carefully until their roots are running freely in the new soil. No liquid manure should be given for a few weeks. Never use old soil, and keep the atmosphere in the house moist.,


One of the simplest ways of increasing the stock of a plant is by dividing the old clumps. Most herbaceous plants can be dealt with in this manger. Delphiniums, Michaelmas daisies and phloxes are all easily divided.

1. An old clump of iris lifted for division.

2. When you lift an old clump and examine it carefully, ,round the edges will be seen young hooted shoots which can be separated from the parent plant without damage. Here the new rhizomes, or root-like underground stems, can be seen well furnished with young roots.

3. To divide very old and matted clumps it is advisable to insert a fork or trowel into the centre and gently divide the clump.

The best times to divide clumps are—when growth begins in spring or while the soil is still warm in September. Never plant roots showing any sign of disease.


Potatoes are reproduced by underground tubers, which will grow even if cut in pieces provided there is an eye on each portion.


Strawberries produce runners which can be pegged down to pots of soil and later cut from the parent plant. Each plant sends out many runners, but these should be reduced to two or three stronger ones.


SompervIvums, or house leeks, send out little rosettes on wiry stems. These latenorm roots.


Loganberries will produce roots at the tips of the shoots if these are buried in the soil.


Many plants can be increased by means of cuttings. These can be made in various ways, according to the type of plant such as:

1. A cutting of dahlia pulled from the old stem with a heel. ,

2. A piece of berberis cut from a shoot just below a leaf joint.

3. A piece of clematis shoot cut midway between two joints.


1. Carnation cuttings removed for cutting, free and ready for potting-up. The foliage is shortened to prevent loss of moisture until roots are formed.

2. Vine eye ready for placing in a pot and with the young shoot rooted.

3. Oriental poppy root sending out young roots and leaf shoots. When shoots are 3 in. high the cuttings can be planted out-doors.


Cuttings need a close atmosphere while rooting, and a form of sand is ideal for the purpose, but while sand is an excellent rooting medium, it has little food value, so all cuttings should be potted into soil as soon as possible after the roots are formed. Care should be taken when removing the rooted cuttings from the sand, as the new roots are often very brittle. Best times to take cuttings are September and March..

1. The modern method of rooting difficult cuttings is to use a root-forming chemical. These are untreated cuttings.

2. These are cuttings planted at the same time, but treated with Hortomone A.

3. Small batches of cuttings can be put in a pot and covered with a bell jar. Lift the latter off each day, and wipe moisture from it


Most fruit trees, named varieties of rhododendrons and many other trees and shrubs are increased by grafting. This is a delicate operation and requires a great deal of practice before it can be performed successfully. The growing tissue of a tree is just beneath the bark; •the object of grafting is to unite the two cambium layers.

1. Whip grafting is used for joining a stock and scion of the same thickness.

2. Stub grafting and 3, strap grafting are both used when the stock is thicker than the scion.

In all cases the completed graft is covered with grafting wax. When the stock is the same size as the scion the two are bound with raffia under the wax. The purpose of the wax is to exclude air and excessive damp from the join, and help the parts to unite as quickly as possible.

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