2. Growing Plants

What you need to know...
What is propagation?
  • How can plants be propagated by seeds, bulbs and cuttings?
Propagation of Plants
Propagation is just another way of saying "making more". When people talk about propagation of plants they are just talking about how growers increase their supply of plants. Growers will do this in many ways including by seeds, plantlets, tubers and cuttings.

Growing plants from seed
Plants reproduce by sexual reproduction by using flowers to produce seeds. A seed is formed when pollen from the anther of one plant combines with plant ovules from the ovary from another plant of the same species. The DNA in the seed is a mixture of both parent plants.

Growing plants from seed is easy and cheap. All you need to do is buy the seeds and plant them in the soil or in some compost. The downside of growing plants from seeds is that it takes a while for plants to grow from seed, and the plants can be vulnerable in the early stages.

Growing plants without seeds
Plants can reproduce naturally by asexual reproduction by producing structures like bulbs and plantlets. People can also propagate plants artificially by taking cuttings.

Bulbs are food storage organs produced naturally by some plants. These bulbs will produce new plants which are genetically identical to the parent. 

Growing plants from bulbs.
Some plants naturally produce miniature version of themselves called plantlets e.g. spider plants, Mexican hat plants. These plantlets can be detached and will produce new plants which are genetically identical to the parent. 

Mexican hat plants produce plantlets on the edge of their leaves.
Spider plants produce plantlets on the end of horizontal stems.

Some people use artificial ways of propagating plants. You may have held about people taking cuttings of part of a stem or leaf from plants. A part of a stem or leaf can be removed using a knife or gardening scissors. If these cuttings are planted, and then given the right conditions, they can grow to form a whole new plant.

Taking a cutting