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Plant Propagation Sexual methods - seed propagation Asexual methods rooting cuttings layering; air layering grafting specialized structures tissue culture; micropropagation Plant propagation... “the art and science of multiplying plants by sexual or asexual means.” Asexual propagation...

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plant propagation2
Sexual methods - seed propagation

Asexual methods

rooting cuttings

layering; air layering


specialized structures

tissue culture; micropropagation

Plant propagation...

“the art and science of multiplying plants by sexual or asexual means.”

asexual propagation
Asexual propagation...

“vegetative reproduction, i.e., multiplication that does not involve the seed cycle - clonal propagation.”

  • A genetically identical assemblage of individuals produced from a plant entirely by vegetative means.
          • Hartmann and Kester
benefits of clonal propagation
Some plants produce few (if any) viable seeds.

Clonal progeny are highly uniform in all characters.

Outcrossing plants produce highly variable progeny.

Plants may have extended juvenile period.

Cloning allows for combining genotypes in one plant.

Seeds may have lengthy and complex dormancies.

Benefits of clonal propagation...
cutting propagation
Cutting capable of regenerating roots (or shoots) from adventitious meristem.

Cuttings defined by size and location on parent plant:

stem tip




Cuttings also defined by condition of growth:

softwood, semihardwood, hardwood

Cutting propagation...
conditions required for rooting cuttings
Hardwood and root cuttings require well drained medium, but little moisture control.

Leafy cuttings require high humidity to prevent excessive dehydration:

intermittent mist systems.

poly tents or cold frames.


Medium into which cuttings are stuck must be disease free, well drained, and light.

Auxin application now standard treatment.

Conditions required for rooting cuttings...
examples of cutting propagation
Examples of cutting propagation...

Species Cutting Type

African violet, begonia leaf cuttings

Many woody shrubs stem tip cuttings (softwood)

brambles root cuttings

Willow, poplars dormant hardwood cuttings

grafting and budding
Can graft scion cultivar onto size controlling rootstock.

Many difficult to root plants are graft compatible.

Grafting defined by season and type of tissue.

budding (T-budding, inverted T, patch)

wedge, veneer, whip and tongue, cleft, etc.

Scion cultivar may be changed on mature trees (top working)

Grafting and budding...

“The vascular cambium can regenerate the vascular connections between the scion and rootstock resulting in a complete plant composed of more than one genotype.”

grafted and budded plants
Grafted and budded plants...

Species Graft/bud Type

apples chip, T-bud, cleft

conifers side veneer

pecans patch

roses T-bud (shield)

grapes modified wedge

Air layering - interrupt cambium and cover wound with moistened medium. Ficus elastica, Magnolia

Simple layering - low hanging branch covered with soil (with or without wounding) - many shrubs

Tip layering - tips of plants (brambles) at certain times of year (rat-tail condition) develop roots where they touch the soil Blackberries, raspberries

Mound layering - soil mounded to cover base of specially pruned young tree (also referred to as stool layering) Apple rootstocks


“Layering involves inducing roots on an intact (or nearly so) plant .”


Specialized Structures

Modified Stems

bulb, corm, tuber, rhizome

pseudobulb, runner

Modified Roots

tuberous root

propagation by specialized structures
Propagation by specialized structures...

Species Structure

tulip, onion, Easter lily bulb

potato, Jerusalem artichoke tuber

Iris, lily-of-the valley rhizome

Gladiolus, Crocus corm

strawberry, Ajuga runner

Dahlia, sweet potato tuberous root


“an exception to the rule of nonclonal embryony.”

“the development of an embryo within a seed or flowering structure from a source other than the egg, resulting in the formation of an embryo (sometimes in addition to the sexual embryo) that is a clone of the maternal parent. Examples include polyembryony in citrus and crabapples, and the formation of bulbils in garlic.”

Micropropagation is rapid, continuous, and efficient.

Specialized equipment, facilities, and technically trained personnel are required.

Steps can be taken to obtain and maintain certified pest-free plants.

Cost effective if large numbers of a given clone are produced.

Widely used for orchids, ferns, many interior foliage plants, rootstocks, etc.


“Micropropagation has many synonyms - tissue culture, mass propagation, in vitro culture, cloning.”

plants amenable to micropropagation
Flowering pot plants - Begonia, African violets, orchids

Interior foliage plants - ferns, Syngonium, Ficus, Diffenbachia

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

Plants amenable to micropropagation...
types of development in vitro
Proliferation of axillary buds from shoot tip cultures.

Differentiation of adventitious shoots from leaves, stems, or roots.

Formation and proliferation of somatic embryos.

Seed germination - orchids.

Development of haploid plants from anthers or ovules.

Protoplast fusion and somatic hybrid development.

Types of development in vitro...
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.

Propagation by seeds...

“Propagation by seeds is the major method by which plants reproduce in nature and one of the most efficient and widely used propagation methods for cultivated crops.”

Hartmann and Kester