1. Agripedia

Plant propagation – The art of cutting, grafting and budding

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

Plant propagation is “The art and science of multiplying plants by sexual or asexual means.”

Sexual methods- seed propagation

Seeds and spores can be used for reproduction (through e.g. sowing). Seeds are typically produced from sexual reproduction within a species. The seeds of many Australian plants and plants from southern Africa and the American west require smoke or fire to germinate. Some plant species, including many trees, do not produce seeds until they reach maturity, which may take many years. Seeds can be difficult to acquire and some plants do not produce seed at all. Some plants (like certain plants modified using genetic use restriction technology) may produce seed, but not fertile seed. In certain cases, this is done to prevent the accidental spreading of these plants, for example by birds and other animals.

Asexual methods

Vegetative reproduction, i.e., multiplication that does not involve the seed cycle-clonal propagation. Plants have a number of mechanisms for asexual or  vegetative reproduction. Some of these have been taken advantage of by horticulturists and gardeners to multiply or clone plants rapidly. Humans may utilize these processes as propagation methods, such as tissue culture and grafting. Plants are produced using material from a single parent and as such there is no exchange of genetic material, therefore vegetative propagation methods almost always produce plants that are identical to the parent. Vegetative reproduction uses plants parts such as roots, stems and leaves.

  • Rooting cuttings

  • Layering: air layering

  • Grafting

  • Specialized structures

  • Tissue culture: micro-propagation.

Examples of cutting propagation

Species: Cutting Type

African violet, begonia: leaf cuttings

Many woody shrubs (softwood): stem tip cuttings

Brambles: rot cuttings

Willow, poplars: dormant hardwood cuttings


Tissue Culture

Flowering pot plabts- Begonia, African violets, orchids

Interior foliage plants- ferns, Syngonium, Ficus, Dieffenbachia

Woody ornamentals- red maples, Rhododendrons, Nandina

Forest trees- Poplar, birch,loblolly pine

Fruit trees-apple,cherry,pear (many rootstocks)

Vegetable crops- potato, celery, tomato, onion (male sterile)

Plantation crops- banana, date palm, coffee.

Grafted and budded plants

Species Graft/bud

Type:Apple chip, T-bud,cleft

Conifers: side veneer

Roses: T- Budding (Shield)

Grapes: modified wedge

Sexual method (Propagation by seeds)

  • Seeds are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to handle.

  • Hybrid seeds are more expensive, but may have production benefits that offset the cost.

  • Large scale agriculture (including vegetable crop production) is dependent upon seed propagation.

  • Seeds (especially seeds of woody plants) may have complex dormancies that impede germination.

Specialized Structures Modified stems

Bulb, corn, tuber, rhizome, Pseudo bulb, runner.

Modified Roots

Tuberous root

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