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Seedling Propagation

Propagation

Plants can be propagated by a number of methods. Growers can let a plant go to seed, collect the seeds, and then start the cycle over again (see germination). Another method is to take stem cuttings, which is also known as cloning (because you are creating an exact copy of the parent plant).

Although this process won’t work with all plants, it is a highly effective technique. Simply cut off a side shoot or the top of the main shoot just below a growth node. Make sure that there are at least two growth nodes above the cut. Remove any of the lower leaves near the base of the new plant. This cutting can then be rooted by placing it in water or in a propagation medium (perlite works well) that is kept moist. The use of some rooting hormone can help your chances of success.

Germination

When a seed first begins to grow, it is germinating. Seeds are germinated in a growing medium, such as perlite. Several factors are involved in this process. First, the seed must be active—and alive—and not in dormancy. Most seeds have a specific temperature range that must be achieved. Moisture and oxygen must be present. And, for some seeds, specified levels of light or darkness must be met. Check the specifications of seeds to see their germination requirements.

The first two leaves that sprout from a seed are called the seed leaves, or cotyledons. These are not the true leaves of a plant. The seed develops these first leaves to serve as a starting food source for the young, developing plant.


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