Each plant is propagated by pollination, but we can force multiplication through the taking of cuttings or air layering. After an artificial breeding, the new plant needs to be generously watered to be properly hydrated. In addition, the potting soil will be mainly based on soil, sand and peat to provide nutrients to the seedling. Finally, remember to apply rooting hormone to the wounds caused by the incisions made during the taking of cuttings or air layering.

Once you have identified which of the two techniques is best for your plant’s propagation, prepare the materials you’ll need to succeed in your gardening work. Use the appropriate type of fertilizer, meaning one that is suitable for the future plant, to enrich the soil that will host it. In addition, although many plant varieties do not need rooting hormone when they are cut or layered, some varieties remain difficult to propagate. The rooting hormone will increase the new plant’s survival chances once it becomes independent. Furthermore, you must also use sterilize your pruning tools with alcohol or, for lack of, soap and water, especially when you multiply different plant varieties or several seedlings.

Propagation through the taking of cuttings

In general, the appropriate time period for the taking of cuttings lasts the duration of the plant’s growth, but it depends on the chosen technique and on the plant variety to propagate. Indeed, there is the possibility of cutting a plant’s leaf, stem, or roots. To do this, take a 4-inch (10 cm) sample from one of the above-mentioned parts, plant it in the ground in order for it to root and become totally self-sufficient. Just make sure that this shoot does not bear any inflorescence. Then, remove any leaves you may find on the bottom of the cutting. The large acute leaves are cut in half while the smaller ones will be left as such. Finally, soak one inch (2cm) of the cutting’s length in rooting hormone. Leaf cuttings are ideal for the propagation of interior plants intended for decorative purposes. In that case, the taking of cuttings is carried out at the beginning of June for rhododendrons and maples, for example. Just take a leaf with its stalk and plant it in a cup filled with mixed soil. Another technique for the taking of cuttings involves the roots but, as such, it is much more laborious. The third type of cuttings called semi-hard cuttings only applies to growing plants while hardwood cuttings are performed on the dormant branches in late fall, during winter and in the early spring season. Regarding the under-glass grafting method, it consists of enclosing the cuttings under a glass bowl. Do not forget to take out the cuttings every two or three days to air them out otherwise they will inevitably rot.

Propagation through air layering

Air layering is another alternative to obtain new plants similar to the parent plant. To achieve this propagation, we will trigger the growth of rootts without the need to separate the new seedling from the original subject. During this period, the layer will be further sustained by the initial plant before being weaned. In regard to the involved technical know-how, this propagation method is near that of taking cuttings, but is much less risky. Air layering is usually done on woody plants such as ivy and can only used for a limited number of new plants. In short, air layering consists of making sure that an aerial branch is in contact with wet soil. This aspect facilitates the rooting process before the layer is definitely isolated. Until then, it needs to be kept on the mother plant until the arrival of spring and it is only in autumn that it will be weaned. To start off, select a branch that is almost on the ground. Secondly, remove the leaves that lie on the part of the plant to be buried underground. Vertically slash the spots where you want the roots appear. Bury the layer’s bare part under a mixture of sand and potting soil and secure it in the ground with a stone or a hook. The layer’s aerial parts should be drawn up from the ground and held together with a stake so that they do not take root. Normally, the roots begin to appear at the end of the summer season. It is then time to wean the layer and replant it in a place that meets its required growing conditions. If you want to get multiple layers simultaneously, you can carry out serpent layering. Proceed in the same manner as above except that the branch is bent in several spots that will give birth to future layers. Clump layering and air layering are also other layering variants. Air layering is especially used to rejuvenate an old plant. In this case, the bare branches at the plant’s base will be layered.

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Published in Garden maintenance by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011