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THE BASICS: plant propagation

THE BASICS: plant propagation

THE BASICS: PLANT PROPAGATION

There is always one or two plants that seem to survive in memory from the summer before as being so prolific.

Actually, it’s fairly easy to propagate most plants. To multiply one plant from many sources like seeds, cuttings (which I use in this tutorial) and bulbs.

Today I’m going to propagate garden herbs. They’re a great way to find success if gardening doesn’t come naturally or intuitively right away.

The difference in propagation method and a little back story:

Sexual propagation occurs from seeds and spores. Some plants take decades to produce seeds that then germinate. Some seeds require cold or smoke and even fire to germinate if you can believe that! And some hybrid or GMO plants produce no seeds at all, or if they do, they are not fertile at least that is what was initially believed but In more recent years studies have shown this to be untrue. Apparently GMO produced no fertile seed as an attempt to not spread in the area since these plants are not native, however many organic farmers have been keeping a close eye on this issue and testing their crops year in and year out for at least the past two decades to determine if their farms have been polluted by GMO seed or not. Corn for example is an open pollenating plant. It can pollenate the farms around the area through wind, insects and birds carrying pollen a couple of yards up to several miles. Not surprisingly Farmers have discovered their crops have been compromised and have been forced to reduce their bushel price by more then half. Now it has come to a point where it is increasingly difficult to prevent GMOs from migrating into their fields. All the way back in 2001 the Wall Street Journal tested 20 products labeled non-GMO and 16 of those 20 had traces of GMO in them, 5 of them in significant amounts. Over a decade later and you can see the results of GMO crops… A quote from non-GMO company Organic Valley:

“Today, over 80% of US corn, soybean and cotton crops are genetically modified. GM sugar beets were introduced in 2008, and already in the first year, 90% of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified.

There have been many arguments justifying the incorporation of GMOs into the food supply.   However, there is  evidence that GM foods have an increased risk of causing allergic reactions, and uncontrollable cross-pollination depletes crop diversity which has resulted in resistant “super-weeds” and “super-pests.” It’s clear that the primary benefits of GM seeds are to the seed and pesticide companies, not to growers or consumers. And many risks are as of yet unknown.”

To sum it up, I only use organic starters in my herb, fruit and vegetable gardens. From there they either naturally pollinate (my oregano is growing like crazy and the bumble bees love it!) I have had a lot of success with growing my ornamental gardens from seed or I use cuttings in the next type of propagation I’d like to talk about.

Asexual propagation, which triggers any number of mechanisms for vegetative reproduction. Horticulturists have learned through trial and error how to clone plants successfully by either tissue culture, grafting, striking, root hormone or simple scraping (which is what I demonstrate here).

For a resource and reference visit Planetnatural. They’re a great way to find out more.

For more on organic gardening visit these sites to answer any questions you might have:

Grow Organic

Mother Earth News

Organic Sanctuary 

Urban Organic Gardener

 

So with this tutorial we will be propagating Lavender and Rosemary cuttings.

You don’t want to pull the plant apart at the middle or divide it because it will break the natural shape and growth of the plant and it won’t reform properly.

You don’t want to grow these from seed because they won’t remain true to the species. The best alternative is to grow these plants from a cutting.

Taking a cutting off to the side of the bush without breaking it as would happen if you were to take a cutting from the center of the bush.
Taking a cutting off to the side of the bush without breaking it as would happen if you were to take a cutting from the center of the bush.

 

 

 

 

 

So taking a cutting of the plant from the underside of it as close to the base as possible is where we start.

Prepping the cuttings
Prepping the cuttings

 

 

strip the growth (leaf and petal) about 2-3'' down.
strip the growth (leaf and petal) about 2-3” down.

 

You can save this and use it for tea, cooking or a relaxing, herbal bath!
You can save this and use it for tea, cooking or a relaxing, herbal bath!

 

 

 

You then want to strip the vegetation off of the stem. Then all you have to do is make a little cut with your nail into the stem to open it slightly.

Here I use my nail to scrap away a small amount of bark and slightly, gently open the stem so it grows roots.
Here I use my nail to scrap away a small amount of bark and slightly, gently open the stem so it grows roots.

 

After scraping the stem.
After scraping the stem. It’s okay to get your hands dirty! You can scrub them later in your relaxing herbal, lavender bath!

 

 

You can then dip that into a rooting hormone, but in this case I just used filtered water that I changed out every week. Without rooting hormone I had amazing results! By using the cuttings I’m creating an exact species just like the plant I cut it from.

Roots on this rosemary cutting after 6-8 weeks!
Roots on this rosemary cutting after 6-8 weeks!

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propagating plants propagating plants propagating plants propagating plants



2 thoughts on “THE BASICS: plant propagation”

  • What a thorough and insightful tutorial. I always love it when there is a little bit background information sprinkled in with personal experience. Thanks for the tips, can’t wait to try this!

    • It’s just a great way to keep plants living long lives. Sometimes people don’t think about plants growing old and dying like people do, but that is exactly what all living things go through on Earth. With plant propagation we can keep our favorite plants growing for many generations. I had an aloe that was a clipping from a clipping of an aloe that my Great Grandma Kinnunen (who I sadly never met in my lifetime) had all of her adult life. It is such a touching thought to know that we somehow shared a plant although we were never destined to meet in this life.

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