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Propagation of Plants

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Arrowroot & canna
Grows from a tuber, divide existing plant

Jerusalem Artichoke
Choose large tuber from grower, store in dark dry place until sowing in spring

Mint, Oregano, Thyme
Softwood cutting, spring & summer or by root division

Rosemary & Lavender
Semi-hardwood cutting, summer to autumn
Grow from seed, soak seed in hot water 1 hour before sowing
Kang Kong
Grows from cuttings. purchase a bunch from Asian supermarket & place cutting in water to root
Hibiscus Spinach
Grown from soft wood cutting in spring or seed
Ceylon Spinach
Grows from cutting or purple fleshy seed, soak 1 hour before sowing
By division in winter preferrable or by softwood cutting
Garlic/onion chives
Divide clumps, trim roots & leaves
Plant individual cloves in autumn, pointy end to surface
Sweet Potato
Grow from cutting or tuber which is left to sprout (use organic tuber)
Cherry tomatoes
Squash seeds of tomato into prepared pot & cover with 1cm with soil.  Will also grow from cutting
Cape gooseberry
Squeeze ripe fruit into prepared pot & lightly cover with soil
Onions (bunching)
Start off from seed or divide a clump
Purchase from shop & allow to shoot before placing in pot
By root division in winter or layers easily
Grows from root cuttings. Splice part of root from exisiting plant & pot up
Lemon Grass
Divide clump, remove leaves to 4cm & pot up
Pigeon Pea
Place seed in hot water, soak for 1 hour before sowing

American Horticultural Society
Plant Propagation

by American Horticultural Society, Peter Anderson
Hardcover (1999)

Propagating by Cuttings

Best done on an overcast, cool day or late in the afternoon as this allows for less moisture loss.
Plant as soon as possible after cutting to avoid nutrient loss.

Home propagation soil mixes

Seedlings - 1/2 sand : 1/2 compost & worm castings

Cuttings - 1/4 sand : 1/2 potting mix : 1/4 compost

Wet and mix down before planting, allowing good drainage.


Stem Cuttings

  Softwood Semi-Hardwood Hardwood
What part of plant to cut? Soft, new season growth Branch Previous years growth, wood that snaps
When? Spring Summer Late autumn - winter
Length of Cutting 7 - 12 cm 8 - 15 cm 10 - 30 cm
Condition for cutting Like bottom heat. Rooting hormone advantage Like bottom heat, rooting hormone beneficial Can plant direct in soil, remove all leaves
Time to root 4 - 5 weeks 1 - 2 months 2 - 9 months
Examples Oregano, yarrow, mint, sage, basil, thyme, geraniums, tomatoes Lavender, rosemary, acerola cherry, panama berry, bay tree, capsicum Olives

Seed Sowing

Seeds often have a period of dormancy before they germinate, which ends when they take up water.
Seeds have a limited life span, to keep them viable for longer store them in an airtight container in a cool spot - the refrigerator is ideal.

Methods of Seed Preparation

1/. Hot Water

Some Australian natives such as banksias, and others including pigeon pea, Ceylon spinach and carob, need to be soaked in hot water for about one hour to start the germination process.
2/. Fermentation Seeds coated in a fleshy fruit are often best left to soak, making it easier to remove the flesh, which might inhibit germination.  Plants to benefit from this are white cedars, acerola cherry and passionfruit.
3/. Scarifying Scratching the seed coat removes the waterproof coating on any tough seed that inhibits germination.

 The Neem Tree
Products from the neem tree have been used for medicinal purposes for 4,000 years.

Read reviews of the books below
Or order by clicking on the name

Creative Propagation: A Grower's Guide
by Peter Thompson
Paperback (1992)

The Complete Book of Plant Propagation
by Charles Heuser, Richard Bird
Hardcover (1997)

Secrets of Plant Propagation:
Starting Your Own Flowers, Vegetables, Fruits, Berries, Shrubs, Trees, and Houseplants

by Lewis Hill
Paperback (1985)

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation
by Peter Anderson
Hardcover (1999)

***** recommended!

Starting from Seed:  The Natural Gardener's Guide to Propagating Plants
by Karan Davis Cutler
Paperback (1998)

Read reviews of the books below
Or order by clicking on the name

Grafting Fruit Trees
Paperback (1981)

How to Graft Trees:
The Art of Grafting and Budding

by Jack Frost
Paperback (1991)

TheGrafter's Handbook
by R. J. Garner
Paperback (1993)

Read reviews of the books below
Or order by clicking on the name

The Complete Book of Plant Propagation
by Graham Clarke, Alan Toogood
Paperback (1992)

Taylor's Easy Plant Propagation
by Nancy Ondra, Barbara Ellis
Paperback (1998)

The New Seed Starter's Handbook
by Nancy Bubel
Paperback (1988)

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