Plant propagation is a cost free or very cheap way to cultivate your plant stock. It only requires a couple of tools that you probably already have: great secateurs, a shovel, planting medium, rooting hormone and a couple of pots.

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Many books have been written to give comprehensive information on plant propagation. This guide will briefly examine the fundamentals. The most common method of plant propagation is collecting seeds from plants you have in the backyard. Some plants such as celery and lettuce will only germinate if exposed to sun; others, such as phlox and allium, just if they’re completely covered.

      • Most crops will benefit from being started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. There are a couple of plants that either don’t like being transplanted or are sturdy enough to take a light frost. Those plants are better off being planted directly outside. A couple of examples: peas, carrots, corn, beans, nasturtiums, morning glory, cucumbers.
      • Most perennials will greatly benefit from being sown directly outdoors at the end of summer. That will give the plants the opportunity to experience their natural cold cycle and cause them to appear stronger and within their own time .
      • Hard seeds such as nasturtiums, morning-glory and four o’clocks will germinate simpler if soaked in warm water for 12 hours before planting.

When: Plant annuals in spring, perennials and biennials in the end of summer, once the heat died down a little.

A prolific way to raise your garden inventory is the branch of mature plants. Most herbaceous perennials really need dividing so as to stay healthy and blooming. Among those, a few examples: heuchera, daylilies, pampas grasses.

Other plants, such as daisies and bee balms will immediately spread if left to their own accord. Dividing them is a fantastic way to control their growth and fill up bare spots in your backyard.

To split the plant you can dig it out completely and divide the root ball into smaller portions or dig a portion of the clump with a shovel. If you’re able to do that, the benefit is that the remaining plant roots will stay undisturbed.

When: Divide spring flowering plants in the autumn and fall flowering plants in spring.

Rhizomatous plants

Among these: bearded irises, peonies, lily-of-the-valley, mint.

For smaller rhizomes, just pull out of the dirt and replant someplace else. For larger rhizomes, dig the plant out in the end of summer after it finished blooming and cut up the root in 2-4 inch segments with foliage growth at the same end.

When: End of summer or fall, when they’ve completed their vegetative cycle.


This works great with ground covers, strawberries, raspberries, and spider plant. Take a runner and tie it down to the floor with a pin. After the plant develops roots you may cut it loose from the mother plant and move it somewhere else.

When: whenever they opt to grow runners.

Most woody plants can be propagated like that, particularly roses, for whom this is the simple method of propagation. Other plants to be propagated by cuttings: butterfly bush, weigela, pelargonium, fuchsia, delphinium, forsythia, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, African violets.

There are four primary types of cuttings: tip cuttings (soft, green), stem cuttings (woody), leaf cuttings (leaf and petiole) and root cuttings.

For tip and stem cuttings, a minimum 3 inch length will ensure the viability of the plant. Wounding the cutting (creating a longitudinal cut or crushing the bottom) will trigger the plant to develop new roots.

Many plants, such as mint, will grow roots if put in water. Other plants, such as African violets and hydrangeas, will be delighted to root if you stick a leaf with a long petiole from the dirt. For plants with large leaves, like hydrangea, it can help to cut about half of the leaf to lower the strain on the growing root system to nourish it.

If you have rooting hormone, then I strongly suggest it.

When: For fall blooming perennials and annuals, begin cuttings once the threat of frost has passed . For spring flowering perennials, begin the cuttings in the autumn and guard them under cloches (a glass jar would work just fine) over winter. It’s quite advantageous to the plant to experience a chilly season in its natural environment, it makes for a much healthier root system. This is particularly true for roses.

Bulbs, corms and tubers

Some bulbs, like lilies, will begin spreading out at a scaly pattern. Each scale with roots could be separated and begin a new plant.

Onions can be chopped and divided. For hyacinths there’s a method called scooping: cut the roots off a bulb and scoop out the fundamental part right under them to expose the bulb layers. Place the bulb upside down half buried in a tray filled with wet sand. Place the tray in a dark warm site. In 12-14 months bulblets will begin forming on the top of the big bulb. Plant the bulb upside down with the bulblets directly beneath the surface. Let the plant undergo its vegetative cycle. The bulbs can be lifted and separated from the autumn.

When dividing tubers, be certain that you have at least one workable”eye” on each section.

When: In the autumn, after the crops went dormant.

Dropping and stooling

Dropping consists of pushing down and covering the majority of the plant stalks with compost or great excellent dirt, and await the plant stems to create individual roots. The plants could be separated and replanted. This works for heathers and rhododendrons.

For the stooling method mound up dirt large around the base of the plant, to provide the stems an chance to grow roots. A couple of examples of crops for which this procedure works: lilacs, willows and dogwoods.


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