Home Propagation

Course CodeAHT106
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Propagate Plants at Home

Save money - the average home garden spends a lot of money on their garden and that is just the initial set up. Over the years plants die and need replacing and without realizing it, an absolute fortune can go into buying plants. 
Growing your own healthy plants from next to nothing can be a facinating and rewarding hobby. If you love plant collecting it can help save on the cost of buying plants. It can also provide presents you can give to friends and relatives or to donate to community projects.

Another Alternative:

Our principal and the academic staff of ACS has written two books that can help you learn about plant propagation.

We've also produced a comprehensive video that can be purchased as a DVD to learn all about propagation.

Click to purchase from our bookshop

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Methods of Propagation
    • Propagation methods - sexual and asexual
    • Plant classification
    • Decisions before starting
    • Propagating in pots or the ground
    • Growth stages
  2. Propagating Structures and Techniques
    • Growing in a greenhouse
    • What can you grow?
    • Types of greenhouses
    • Heated or unheated
    • Siting a greenhouse -orientation, benches
    • Cold frames
    • Heated propagators
    • Shade houses - gable, flat roofed, flat arched, tunnel
  3. Propagating Materials
    • Common propagation media mixes
    • Components - vermiculite, perlite, sand
    • Rockwool
    • Peat
    • Potting media
    • Potting soil mixes
    • Pine bark
    • Factors affecting fertiliser application - cation exchange capacity, pH
    • Propagation containers
    • Containers for potting up plants
    • Propagation tools - secateurs, knives
  4. Seed Propagation
    • Introduction to seed propagation
    • Collecting and handling seed
    • Cross pollination
    • Disease
    • Desiccation
    • Time to collect seed
    • Germination fundamentals
    • Germination treatments - soaking, chilling, burning
    • Stimulating germination
    • Hygiene
    • Where to sow seed - containers, open bed, protected bed
    • Storing seeds
    • Seed storage viability factors
    • Types of seed storage -open, dry, cold, cold moist
    • Handling seedlings - watering, disease control, thinning, environmental control, transplanting
    • Pricking out or tubing seedlings
    • Propagating ferns from spore
  5. Propagating by Cuttings
    • Introduction
    • Why cuttings
    • How to propagate a cutting
    • Types of cuttings - the area of plant tissue used, the tenderness or age of tissue
    • Softwood cuttings
    • Semi hardwood cuttings
    • Hardwood cuttings
    • Treatment of the cutting
    • Herbaceous cuttings
    • Tip cuttings
    • Heel cuttings
    • Nodal cuttings
    • Basal cuttings
    • Cane cuttings
    • Root cuttings
    • Leaf cuttings
    • Other cuttings
    • Stock plants
    • Hormone treatment alternatives - auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins
    • Improving strike rate
    • How to maintain plants in pots -Potting, Feeding, Watering
    • Ventilation, light temperature
    • Growing on areas
    • Hardening off rooted cuttings
    • Labels
  6. Miscellaneous Propagating Techniques
    • Layering
    • Types of layering - tip, mound, simple, compound, aerial
    • Natural layering - suckers, runners, offsets, crowns
    • Using parts of specialised stems and roots to propagate
    • Propagating bulbs from offsets
    • Bulblet formation on scales
    • Stem cuttings
    • Bulbils
    • Basal cuttage and scooping
    • Corm division
    • Tuber division
    • Culm cuttings
    • Pseudobulbs
    • Division of orchids
    • Dividing and separating perennials
    • Tissue culture
  7. Budding and Grafting
    • Reasons for budding and grafting
    • How a graft forms
    • Factors influencing graft healing - compatibility, temperature, moisture, polarity, etc
    • Carpentry of grafting
    • What can be grafted onto what
    • Types of grafts
    • Budding
    • Whip and Tongue graft
    • Top graft and side graft
    • Approach graft
    • Other graft types - nurse seed, irrigated, root
    • Lilac grafting
    • Soft tissue grafting
    • Grafting tapes
  8. Propagation of Specific Plants
    • Choosing species to propagate
    • Nursery Management
    • Specialist nurseries
    • Typical propagation methods for selected plants
  9. Layout and Organisation of a Propagating Area
    • Plants and water
    • Understanding water excess and deficiency
    • Greenhouse irrigation methods
    • Runoff and leachate
    • Irrigation practices
    • Irrigation systems for propagation
    • Pulse watering
    • Water cans
    • Pest and Disease management - cleanliness, U.C. system, IPM
    • Diseases
    • Pests
    • Nursery nutrition
    • Plant modification methods

How are Plants Propagated?

Broadly, there are two ways of propagating plants - asexually and sexually.

Asexual propagation involves growing a new plant from some part (e.g. leaf, stem and root) of an existing plant This is also known as vegetative propagation because it uses the 'vegetative growth' of the 'parent plant to produce the 'daughter' plant 

Sexual propagation involves fertilisation of female plant parts by male parts to produce seeds or spores from which new plants are grownThere are many different reasons why we might choose to propagate plants one way rather than another:
  • The availability of propagating material (can you get plenty of seed or cuttings?)
  • Ease of propagation (which technique is the easiest?)
  • Speed of propagation (which technique produces new plants quickest?)
  • Importance of maintaining true characteristics (plants grown from seed can differ from their 'parent plant in terms of scent, colour, shape, size etc. Asexually propagated plants do not vary in this way).

Sexual Propagation

Following are the most important considerations when attempting to germinate seed or spores.

Provision of a Correct Environment
Requirements here can vary considerably from plant to plant. Drainage 
and structure of your propagating mix. amount of watering, temperature and light (or dark) can be important for success. For most seed (but not all), an ideal mix would be 75% coarse propagating sand plus 25% of either peat moss or vermiculite. Most seed is best germinated under glass.

Pre-germination Treatments
While some seeds will germinate immediately in the correct temperature 
and moisture conditions, others have to be treated in some way first 

Asexual propagation

In this situation, plants naturally produce completely new offspring at the 
base of existing specimens. Separation simply involves breaking these clumps apart; examples are daffodil, tulip, gladioli, hyacinth and crocus.

Some plants grow in such a way that
one individual plant can be cut into sections and each section will grow as a new plant; examples are phlox. canna iris, dahlia and potato.

Layering involves promoting the growth of roots on a stem while it is still 
attached to the parent plant Once these roots establish, that section of the plant can be cutaway and planted as a new plant The main advantage of layering is that it does not risk the loss of propagating material if the operation is unsuccessful.

Budding and Grafting
These techniques involve attaching a part of one plant onto another 
plant in such a way that the two will grow together. The end result of budding or grafting is a plant which has one variety for its root system and a different variety for its top. This is a valuable technique in many situations, e.g. growing a variety that is susceptible to root disease on a resistant root system.

Cutting propagation is by far the most commonly used asexual technique. 
It involves inserting a section of a plant in a soil mix to promote leaf and root growth.

There are four types of cutting:

STEM CUTTINGS, which use a section of stem with most of the leaves removed.

ROOT CUTTINGS, which use a section of the root

LEAF CUTTINGS, which use either a whole leaf or section of leaf.

LEAF BUD CUTTINGS, which use one leaf attached to a very small section of stem with a bud.  


How Can This Course Help You?

Learn to propagate a range of plants for your garden and save money.

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