Chapter 19

Plant Propagation from Seed

(draft book excerpts)

Sexual propagation uses seeds to produce new plants. Sexual propagation is relatively easy and often requires no special equipment. Seeds are formed when pollen is transferred from the anther of a flower to the stigma of a flower and fertilization occurs. The seed is made up of three main parts: the outer seed coat, which protects the seed; a food reserve (e.g., the endosperm); and the embryo, which is the young plant itself. In plants that are self-pollinated, every seed produced will carry the same genetic makeup as the original parent plant, barring mutations. In cross-pollinated plants that have two parents, the seed will contain a mixture of genes from the egg parent plant that bore it and the pollen parent plant that was the source of pollen for fertilizing the egg. This continual reshuffling of the genetic “deck of cards” provides for many different gene combinations, thus helping to ensure the survival of a species in a changing environment. For propagation to succeed, it is important to start with high-quality, viable seeds. Seed viability is expressed as the estimated germination rate in percent. Additionally, a vast majority of horticultural cultivars today do not “breed true” from their own seed; that is, the seed produces plants that may or may not have all the desirable traits of the parent plants.

Click on the following topics for more information on plant propagation from seed.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Environmental Factors Affecting Seed Germination
  • Moisture
  • Light
  • Oxygen
  • Temperature
  • Methods of Breaking Seed Dormancy
  • Seed Scarification
  • Seed Stratification
  • Leaching
  • Greenhouse Seed Production Techniques
  • Flat Production
  • Plug Production
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Seedling Growth Stages
  • Growth Stage One
  • Growth Stage Two
  • Growth Stage Three
  • Growth Stage Four
  • Seed Quality
  • Graded Seed
  • Primed Seed
  • Pelleted Seed
  • Mechanical Seed Sowing
  • Template Seeder
  • Needle Seeder
  • Cylinder or Drum Seeders
  • Top-Dressing Seed
  • Optimizing Seedling Production
  • Germination Facilities
  • Germination Media
  • Temperature Control
  • Light Control
  • Irrigation
  • Mist Systems
  • Fog Systems
  • Humidity Control
  • Carbon Dioxide Supplementation
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Fertilizing
  • Disease Control
  • Water Quality
  • Managing Seedling Maturation and Hardening Off
  • Transplanting Seedlings
  • Steps in Transplanting Seedlings
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Containers for Transplanting
  • Plastic Pots
  • Fiber Pots
  • Paper Pots
  • Peat, Fiber, Expanded Foam, and Rockwool Blocks
  • Polyethylene Bags
  • References