The Q&A Archives: Methods of Asexual Propagation

Question: I'm doing a report for school and I need to know three different ways to start a plant without using seeds. I would also like instructions on how to preform each of them or at least where I can find them. Thanks for your help! Becky Woll Bethel,PA

Answer: Plants can be propagated vegetatively (not sexually via seeds) in the following ways: different kinds of cuttings...tip cuttings--remove the top 3-4 inches of the stem with leaves attached and stick in a potting media (1 part perlite and 1 part vermiculite), water and place in a plastic bag. Most plants will respond well to this kind of propagation but there are those that will not; leaf cutting (african violet)-remove a leaf with the stem (petiole) and stick in potting soil, water and wait. Small plantlets will arise from the base of the petiole; another method of plant propagation is division. Daylilies and sedum do well in this method...dig up an existing plant and divide the growing points with a shovel. In the case of the daylily, you can pull apart the plantlets. Replant. One final method is this case specifically air layering. Ficus (rubber tree) are good for this. Chose a part of the stem that is slightly green (rather than brown or totally green. Remove about one inch of bark all the way around the stem (girdle it). Place a ball of slightly damp sphagnum moss around the girdled section. Wrap the moss with a piece of black plastic and tie off at both ends of the plastic. Be sure to keep the moss damp..check every so often and dampen if necessary. In about 1-2 months roots will form under the plastic. Sever the stem just below the newly formed roots and pot up. So..cuttings, division and layering are three methods of asexual (not sexual) propagation. There are manymore but that should get you started. If you want more information, contact your local nursery.

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