Propagation

Save money and get more and more of your favourite plants by sowing seeds, taking cuttings, dividing, grafting and layering

Sow seed

Sowing seed outdoors saves time pricking out and potting on and is suitable for a variety of plants.

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  • Snowdrop division

    Bulbs: propagation

    Many bulbs readily multiply by producing offsets without any help from the gardener. But as well as taking advantage of this, it is quite simple to grow more of your favourite bulbs using just a few other techniques, including scaling, bulbils, seed and division.

  • Cannas in midsummer. Credit:RHS/Education.

    Canna

    Cannas are vibrant tender perennials that produce bold leaves and showy flowers in shades of red, orange, yellows and pinks. It is a useful summer bedding plant for both containers and borders, but does well in cool conservatories in summer.

  • Taking softwood cuttingson Chrysanthemum. Image: Neil Hepworth/RHS

    Cuttings: softwood

    Softwood cuttings can be used to propagate a wide range of mainly deciduous shrubs and some trees in early spring. Material is taken from the soft and flexible young shoot tips, which root readily.

  • Citrus can't be brought back from the Canary Islands, Norway and Turkey, for example, without official approval. Credit: RHS/Advisory

    Importing and exporting plants

    It is important to recognise the risks posed by plant imports to crops and other plants in the UK, and to international conservation efforts. So, to safeguard plant health in Britain, there are statutory controls on importing plants and plant products into this country.

  • Layering is a technique to propagate plants. Credit:Tim Sandall/RHS The Garden.

    Layering

    Simple layering is one of the easiest methods of propagating new plants. Unlike cuttings, which have to survive on their own, layered shoots are encouraged to form roots while still attached to the parent plant.

  • ©RHS PUB0034262

    Micropropagation

    Micropropagation and plant tissue culture refer to the practice of growing plants under laboratory conditions in vessels containing nutrient medium.

  • Pond plant propagation

    Pond plant propagation

    Propagation is a cost effective way to increase stocks of your favourite pond plants. Many popular pond plants are vigorous in growth and easy to propagate in a variety of ways. Furthermore, propagating your own stock can help to minimise the introduction of invasive species to your pond.

  • ©RHS RHS0001528

    Propagation techniques

    Propagating plants is a rewarding and fascinating process to obtain new plants. Select the appropriate method and timing then follow some basic principles to ensure success.

  • Sowing seed indoors. Credit: Neil Hepworth/RHS The Garden.

    Seed: sowing indoors

    Sowing seeds indoors allows tender plants to be started off earlier in the season. When they have grown into young plants, they can be planted outside in the garden or vegetable plot once the weather is warm enough.

  • Sowing hardy annual seed

    Seed: sowing outdoors

    Many vegetables, annuals, biennials and herbaceous plants can be grown from seed sown outdoors. The secret to success is to prepare a good seedbed, free of weeds and with a crumble-like soil-surface texture. 

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