Chapter 20

Vegetative Plant Propagation

(draft book excerpts)

Many plants are propagated by seed in the greenhouse, but for selected cultivars that must be reproduced as clones, vegetative propagation methods are used. Asexual propagation of a plant’s vegetative parts (roots, stems, or leaves) only involves mitosis (nonreductive cell division) and no genetic recombination. Clonal or asexual propagation results in a new generation of plants genetically identical to the parent or source plant, thus carrying forward all desirable/known characteristics in a predictable manner. In most cases, it allows for plants to be grown to a size suitable for transplanting in less time than from seed. Also, certain plants produce seeds that are sterile or have poor viability, which makes sexual propagation difficult or impossible. In addition, it may be the only way to perpetuate some cultivars, and it bypasses the juvenile characteristics of certain species. The most common of these methods include the use of cuttings, layering, grafting, budding, plant division, and tissue culture. The method used depends on the plant species, as well as grower capabilities.

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