Vegetative propagation is useful for increasing stock of named cultivars which don’t come true from seed. Use these methods to produce cloned copies of the parent stock.
Suitable for many deciduous climbers, trees and shrubs as well as evergreens. Take cuttings in the dormant season, however each plant will vary so check individual requirements.
See our page on hardwood cuttings;
Suitable for a wide range of mainly deciduous shrubs, trees and hardy or tender perennials. Take softwood cuttings in spring and early summer selecting soft flexible tips.
See our page on softwood cuttings.
Suitable for berry fruits, Ceanothus, Forsythia and Philadelphus. They are similar to softwood cuttings but the base of the stem is firmer. Prepare as softwood cuttings, but make them slightly longer, generally 7.5-12.5cm (3-5in) long. Take later in spring through to mid-summer.
See our page on softwood cuttings.
Many plants are propagated using this method. The cutting base is quite firm, whilst the tip is relatively soft. Take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer to early autumn when sections of the current season’s growth has begun to firm.
See our page on semi-ripe cuttings.
This method is useful for woody plants that have pithy stems, such as Sambucus (elder), or old plants in less than peak condition. It is not very effective on broad-leaved trees.
Pull away a cutting-sized shoot from the main stem, to retain a small tail of bark, or heel, at the base. The heel contains high levels of growth ‘hormones’ (auxins) that help promote rooting.
Some plants have thick fleshy roots, which make great cutting material. Lift plants during the dormant season.
See our page on root cuttings.
Some plants can be propagated from a whole or a part of a leaf. It is an easy way to increase numbers of our favourite indoor plants.
See our page on leaf cuttings
Presenter, writer and gardener Ellen Mary, shows you how to propagate your houseplants by taking whole-leaf cuttings.
For producing one or two new plants, simple layering is aeffective for many shrubs. In autumn or spring (evergreens are better in spring) select supple shoots on the outside of the plant for pegging down.
See our page on layering.
Use air layering for plants with brittle wood that won’t bend for tradition layering or where there are no low growing shoots.
See our page on air layering.
A method that combines material from one plant with prized flowering or fruiting qualities with the roots of another that offers vigour and resilience. This is a difficult task and requires lots of skill and practice. In most cases, trees and shrubs are available to buy ready-grafted onto a rootstock. Most tree fruits and roses are grafted.
See our page on grafting.
Many herbaceous plants are propagated by division – the separation of one plant into several self-supporting ones.
Split clumps into sections, each with at least one shoot and a root system of their own. Carry out in spring or autumn depending on the preference of the plant and overwintering conditions.
See our page on dividing perennials.
The culture of plant cells within sterile laboratory conditions using high tech equipment to produce clonal copies of plants.
See our page on micropropagation.
Cuttings from the stems and leaves of bulbs will fail as the growing point is inside them. Many bulbs produce offsets, which are bulbs produced from basal plate of the existing bulb. Remove and pot up to increase numbers of your favourite bulb. To create greater numbers, use methods such as chipping or scaling.
See our page on bulb propagation.