plant reproduction

Caring for plants is a wonderful experience, but getting new specimens from them is even more so. In gardening, various techniques are used for this purpose, some more complicated than others, but all equally interesting.

On this occasion, we are going to see what the multiplication of plants is like , and what each technique consists of.


  • 1 Seeds
    • 1.1 Direct sowing
    • 1.2 Pregerminative treatments
      • 1.2.1 Scarification
      • 1.2.2 Stratification
        • How is it done?
  • 2 cuttings
  • 3 elbow
  • 4 grafts
  • 5 Bush Division
  • 6 Separation of suckers


dill seeds

Anethum graveolens seeds

It is the least used technique among professionals, but the most used among amateurs. Depending on the species of plant it is, it may take more or less time to obtain a specimen large enough to plant in the garden, in the vegetable garden or in a pot to decorate, but it is very nice to see how the seedling grows and develops.

Also depending on what type of species it is, it can be sown directly in the seedbed or a pre-germinative treatment will have to be carried out.

direct sowing

sowing in a pot

Sow in a pot.

Herbaceous plants, including horticultural ones, as well as native ones, can be sown directly in the seedbed. To do this, you must do the following:

  1. First, you have to prepare the seedbed. This can be a plastic tray with holes, a pot, peat tablets, milk or yogurt containers,… in short, whatever we prefer as long as it has holes for drainage.
  2. Afterwards, it will be filled if appropriate with a substrate made up of black peat mixed with 30% perlite or some similar material.
  3. Next, a maximum of 2 seeds are placed on the surface of the substrate, a little apart from each other, and buried at a depth of 0.5 to 1cm. The bigger the seed, the deeper it has to be.
  4. Finally, we water and place the seedbed in an area where it receives sunlight.

Pregerminative treatments


Vermiculite, the ideal substrate to stratify seeds.

Pregerminative treatments are those that are carried out before sowing the seeds in order to ensure that they will germinate in the expected time. It is done in species that have very hard seeds, or in those that come from colder climates. There are different methods:


  • Thermal shock : it consists of introducing the seeds for 1 second in boiling water and 24 hours in water at room temperature. It is the ideal method for hard seeds, such as those of trees belonging to the legume family, such as Albizia, Sophora or Robinia.
  • Sanding the seeds : it consists of passing the sandpaper over them several times until they change color. Afterwards, they are placed in a glass of water for 24 hours to hydrate. It can be used on trees such as Acacia, Ailanthus, or Delonix (especially recommended).


Many seeds have to go through a very cold or very hot period before they germinate. But of course, it often happens that we have some in areas where the climate is, in this sense, very different from what they have in their natural habitat. With stratification, what is intended is to try to imitate the temperatures that they would have in their natural environment so that they germinate. There are different types:

  • Cold stratification : it is the one that is carried out so that the seeds that come from areas where winter is cold can germinate in spring.
  • Warm stratification : it is the one that is carried out so that the seeds come from areas where the climate is mild and warm.
  • Double stratification : it is the one that is carried out when the seeds have to be subjected first to warm temperatures and then to cold temperatures.
How it is performed?

To stratify the seeds, proceed as follows:

  1. First, you have to prepare a transparent plastic tupperware, with a lid.
  2. Then it is filled with vermiculite.
  3. Next, moisten it with a little water, taking care not to let it puddle.
  4. The seeds are then spread over the surface and covered with more vermiculite.
  5. Finally, a little copper or sulfur is added to prevent fungi from affecting them and the tupperware is placed in the refrigerator at 7ºC if it is a cold stratification, or it is placed in an area where the temperature is between 20 and 30ºC if it is a warm stratification.


Gypsy cuttings

Gypsy cuttings.

It is one of the most effective and fastest methods to multiply plants. With the exception of the herbaceous, all the others can be multiplied by cuttings. But, not all can be cut at the same times:

  • Woody evergreen plants : the ideal time is late winter.
  • Deciduous Woody Plants – Can be done in the fall if the weather is mild, or in late winter.
  • Non-cacti succulent or succulent plants : spring-summer.
  • Indoor plants : spring.

There are different types of cuttings, which are:

  • Stem or branch cuttings : they are obtained in spring by cutting a stem or branch about 10 to 40cm long, without leaves or with very few and containing at least two nodes or buds. For them to take root, it is highly advisable to moisten the base with powdered rooting hormones and plant them in pots with sandy substrates.
  • Leaf cuttings : they are obtained in spring or summer by cutting a healthy leaf from some plants, such as Echeveria, Haworthia or Begonia. Afterwards, they are planted in pots with sandy substrates. In the case of succulents, the leaves must be slightly lying down, and they must be covered with a little substrate.
  • Root cuttings: root cuttings, whether tubers, bulbs or rhizomes, are obtained in late spring with a sharp knife and previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol. In each piece there must be at least one yolk. Once obtained, they are planted in pots or in the garden without completely burying them.


air layer

air layer

Layering is a very simple technique for multiplying woody plants, such as trees. It is done in spring or autumn, choosing a young branch, which is no more than two years old and with at least one bud.

In gardening, three types are mainly used, which are:

  • Simple layering : it is carried out in spring, on plants with flexible stems or branches. Take a branch, make a cut – not deep – in the area to be curved so that roots sprout from that area, and hold it with a fork.
  • Air layering : It is carried out in spring, also in autumn if the weather is mild. Two cuts are made 1 centimeter apart, and the bark is carefully removed from between the cuts to later apply rooting hormones. Finally, the area is wrapped with clear plastic, tying one end, filling with blond peat and tying the other end. It is irrigated by injections of water.
  • Multiple or serpentine layering: it is used like the simple layering, but the branch is buried in several points instead of in one.


bud graft

bud graft

Grafting is the technique used to obtain more resistant varieties or with better quality fruit. They consist of grafting a part of a plant on another, joining them with grafting tape.

There are different types:

  • Scion grafting : in spring a piece of stem bearing several buds is grafted into a lateral slit that will have been made in the rootstock.
  • Bud grafting : in spring a bud is cut and inserted on the rootstock to which a T-cut will have been made, tying them well with a rope or grafting tape.
  • English graft : in autumn a bevel cut is made in the rootstock, and the stem of the plant that we want to multiply is cut and then inserted into the cut. It is highly recommended to join both legs with special wax for grafts.
  • Crown grafting : in spring, a horizontal cut is made in the rootstock, and then a deep transverse cut is made on the surface, which is where we will have to introduce the cutting that has at least 2 buds.
  • Approach grafting : in the fall, the bark is stripped from a branch of two plants, and they are joined together.

bush division

bush division

Image – Bonsai Codelia

The division of clumps is a technique widely used in plants that grow as clumps. And very simple. You just have to remove them from the pot, and with a knife or scissors divide them . The ideal time for this is spring.

In the event that they are planted in the ground, ditches must be made around the portion that we want to extract, and cut the roots with a small handsaw. It is likely that some parts will not make it, but most will not have a problem rooting once they are placed in another area of ​​the garden or in pots 🙂 .

Separation of suckers

date palms

The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a plant that can reproduce by separating suckers.

There are some plant species that have a tendency to take off shoots, such as the Cycas or the Phoenix dactylifera . These can be separated when they have reached an easily manipulated size, in spring or summer, using a knife for the smallest ones or by making small trenches about 30cm apart to make it easier to extract them with the root .

For them to take root, it is convenient to moisten the base with rooting hormones and plant them in pots with sandy substrates in order to make it easier for them to sprout and grow.

plant reproduction

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