Careers in Horticulture

Careers information on the many areas of Irish Horticulture

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Introduction to Plant Propagation

Plant propagation is the technique of creating new plants from existing plants and this be done in a number of ways.

Sexual propagation
Seeds and spores can be used for reproduction (through e.g. sowing). Seeds are typically produced from sexual reproduction within a species.  Because genetic recombination has occurred, a plant grown from seeds may have different characteristics from its parents. This kind of reproduction is the basis of the plant breeding industry which tries to develop new or better versions of plants. It is widely used in the Nursery and Rose Sectors. Some species produce seeds that require special conditions to germinate, such as cold treatment to break dormancy.

Asexual propagation
Plants have a number of mechanisms for asexual or vegetative reproduction. Some of these have been taken advantage of by horticulturists and  gardeners to multiply or clone plants rapidly. We use these processes as propagation methods, such as tissue culture and grafting.  Plants are produced using material from a single parent and as such there is no exchange of genetic material, therefore vegetative propagation methods almost always produce plants that are identical to the parent. Vegetative reproduction uses plants parts such as roots, stems and leaves. Several of these techniques are used in the Nursery Sector.

You will find more information in the sites listed below.

The University of Maine has an extensive article on Plant Propagation.

The Certificate in Horticulture (Plant Propagation) is a vocationally oriented course comprising a core of studies common to all horticulture certificates, plus specialised studies in plant propagation.

With a little knowledge and a secateurs you can grow your own plants simply from cuttings. The techniques explained here are exactly what is used in commercial nurseries except on a larger scale.

Plant propagation requires some different equipment if it is to be successful. This site lists lots of these items.