The Ultimate How-To on Plant Propagation: Asexual & Sexual Methods


The horticultural craft of plant propagation involves the creation of new plants from existing ones, utilizing an array of techniques which can be grouped into sexual propagation and asexual propagation. 

The process of sexual propagation, or seed germination, involves the involvement of genetic materials from two parent plants, giving rise to the creation of a seed.

Asexual propagation, on the other hand, isn’t as natural as sexual propagation and usually involves more human intervention including cuttings, stem-tip cutting, leaf and bud cutting, layering, air layering, diversion, grafting and more.

What Is Plant Propagation?

Plant propagation is the horticultural art of creating new plants from existing ones. You can achieve this through various methods, allowing your garden to flourish.

Usually, people propagate plants with the underlying purpose of helping them survive or increase their stock, especially with species that require a little help reproducing.

Now, while there are various methods of plant propagation, they all fall under two main categories: sexual and asexual plant reproduction.

Sexual propagation, or seed germination, involves the combination of genetic materials from two parent plants, creating a seed. 

One of the best factors of sexual propagation is that the resulting plant carries genetic information from both parents, leading to a third unique plant. 

As for asexual propagation, the process is entirely different, and the resulting offspring isn’t that unique at all.

Asexual propagation is the process of creating a clone of one of the parents without any fusion between gametes. 

This method ensures that whatever traits exist in the plant persevere into the following clone unless a genetic mutation occurs.

There are several techniques for asexual propagation, including using vegetative parts like stems, roots, and leaves. There are also methods like cutting, grafting, division, and budding. 

Each of these methods has its techniques and advantages, depending on the plant type and the desired outcome.

What Are Types of Propagation Methods?

As mentioned, there are two types of plant propagation and those are sexual and asexual reproduction. 

Sexual reproduction involves seed creation through pollination, leading to genetic diversity, while asexual reproduction involves methods that create clones of the parent plant.

What Is Sexual Propagation?

In its essence, sexual propagation is a process of plant reproduction combining the genetic material of two parents through pollination and fertilization, resulting in a seed. 

What makes sexual propagation special is that the resulting seed is unique and contains the genetic makeup of both parents. 

Hence, this propagation method can help diversify stock and enhance the genetic pool. There are many ways for plants to sexually reproduce, including the following main ones:


Self-pollination, the pollen from the same plant or flower fertilizes the egg cell. This process happens naturally in some plants, as they have the male and female parts. 

The main benefit of plants’ self-pollinating is that they can reproduce even if there aren’t any plants of the same species around. 

The drawback, though, is that this can lead to genetic homogeneity, leading to more vulnerability to pests and diseases.


Compared to the previous form of sexual propagation, cross-pollination is particularly vital for enhancing genetic diversity within a species. 

According to research by scholar D.E. Pattemore, cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one plant is transferred to another within the same species. 

This method can lead to new plant varieties with fantastic, unique traits. This greater diversity can make your plant more resistant to pests and diseases and may help you develop improved varieties. Cross-pollination usually happens due to wind or insects.

What Is Asexual Propagation?

Asexual propagation, on the other hand, isn’t as natural as sexual propagation and usually involves more human intervention.

According to David Trinklein, from the University of Massachusetts, this reproduction process mostly involves one parent, and the methods to achieve offspring are varied.

Also, the result ensures the progeny has the same characteristics as the parent plant. Practically, you use vegetative plant parts to clone another with minute changes.

Asexual propagation forms include the following:

  • Cuttings

Cutting is one of the most straightforward forms of helping plants reproduce asexually. This method involves simply taking a section of the plant, like a stem or leaf, and letting it develop roots to grow into a new plant. 

The most common form of cutting is stem cutting. This is where to take a stem cutting with a few leaves and place it in a proper growing medium, like soil, and let it develop roots from the existing nodes.

Some plants, like succulents, can sprout another plant from their leaves when placed in the right environment!

  • Division

Another way for plants to reproduce asexually is through division. This method involves dividing a mature plant into multiple smaller ones, each with its root system.

When you do this, the smaller plants will naturally form their systems and grow into separate plants. This technique is particularly effective for herbaceous perennials and specific shrubs.

All you have to do is gently lift the plant and separate the clumps into smaller plants with their roots.

  • Grafting

Grafting a plant is like playing mix and match with two different plant parts, specifically the scion and rootstock to create a completely new one with unique characteristics!

The upper part (scion) is the part that provides the desired features from fruit to flowers. The lower part (rootstock) is the part that provides a healthy root system to the plant and guarantees resistance to pests and diseases. 

There are various ways to graft plants, including: 

  1. Whip and tongue grafting: This is where you cut the upper and lower parts diagonally and secure them with grafting tape or twine once you align them.
  2. Cleft grafting: Cleft grafting means creating a cleft in the rootstock using a sharp knife, inserting the scion inside, and securing it tightly.
  3. Bud grafting: Bud grafting is using a single bud from the scion and placing it inside an incision made on the rootstock.
  • Layering

It can be difficult to use methods such as grafting or cutting with several plants. That’s why some experts go with layering.

This is a method of asexual plant propagation that involves rooting a new plant while the stem is still attached to the parent. 

As soon as the plant develops roots of its own, the stem is severed, and it becomes an independent plant. 

There are three main ways for layering:

  1. Simple layering: for this method, all you have to do is bend a low-hanging branch to the ground and bury a segment of it in the soil. 
  2. Air layering: According to the Royal Horticultural Society, air layering is propagating new plants by wrapping the stem with damp moss to encourage roots to form.
  3. Tip layering: Similar to simple layering, tip layering is bending a branch top to the ground and burying it in the soil. Doing this allows the tip to take root and form a new plant.

What Is the Difference Between Sexual and Asexual Propagation Methods?

There are several differences between plants produced sexually and asexually, including: 

  1. Genetic Similarity/Diversity

The propagation method, whether sexual or asexual, influences the genetic makeup and diversity of the propagated plants. 

To illustrate, sexual propagation leads to diverse plants with new combinations of genes forming. This is because they’re the result of more than one parent. 

Asexual propagation, on the other hand, produces plants that are genetically similar or identical to the parent plant. 

After all, asexual propagation usually involves vegetation from just one parent plant, meaning there isn’t much chance for something new to pop up!

  1. Propagation Success Rate

The success rate can vary significantly from one propagation method to another, depending on several factors. 

For instance, environmental conditions, timing, plant needs, and specific plant species can all affect the success rate.

  1. Time to Maturity

Sexually propagated plants can take a little bit longer to mature than asexually produced ones. 

This is mainly because plants grown from seeds need longer to absorb nutrients and fully grow, while asexually produced ones, from cuttings or grafts, begin with semi-developed structures that can grow faster. 

  1. Uniformity of Characteristics

The propagation method can affect the genetic makeup which, in turn, affects the overall characteristics of the plant.

With that in mind, asexually propagated plants often result in other plants that look identical to the parent one—similar flower color, growth habits, resistance, etc.

Of course, this is the complete opposite for sexually propagated ones, as you can’t guarantee what the offspring would look like.

  1. Adaptability

Certain propagation methods can help plants survive and adapt more to their environmental conditions. 

In stable environments where the temperature, water, and humidity are consistent, there isn’t any reason why asexually propagated plants won’t thrive.

When conditions are fluctuating, though, sexually propagated plants have more genetic diversity, providing them with a greater chance of adapting to changing or new circumstances.

Why Propagate Plants?

There are several reasons why propagating plants is vital, including the following:

  • Genetic Diversity: Sexual propagation, through the mixing of genes, promotes biodiversity. This can help with the species’ adaptability, making them more resilient to diseases and pests.
  • Preservation: Some plants are simply rare or endangered. In such situations, plant propagation can increase their numbers and help prevent possible extinction.
  • Expansions: For gardeners and homeowners who want to expand their yards,  propagation is a cost-effective way to expand without needing to purchase new plants.
  • Cultivator Maintenance: Finally, propagation allows horticulturists and botanists to experiment with breeding, leading to the development of new plant varieties and enhancing existing characteristics.

How Does Propagating Help a Plant Reproduce? 

Propagating plants through sexual reproduction involves a cycle that starts from seed germination to a full-grown plant.

The process begins with pollen from a flower that’s transferred to the stigma of the same or another flower.

When this happens, the fertilization process begins where the genetic materials from the pollen (male gamete) and the ovule (female gamete) combine to create a seed.

In self-pollinated plants, the offspring carries the same genetic makeup except for the occasional mutation. 

In cross-pollinated plants, on the other hand, the resulting plant carries a mix of genetic material, ensuring a diverse gene pool. 

As the seed germinates in the soil, it goes through several stages, but it usually starts by developing a sturdy root system. 

This system helps the plant absorb water nutrients to grow. Once that happens, the plant’s shoots grow towards the light, looking for sun rays to help their photosynthesis.

So, in essence, propagation through sexual or asexual means greatly helps plant reproduction.

How to Propagate Plants? 

When it comes to propagating plants, you can use either sexual or asexual methods, depending on the chosen plant, environment, and desired outcome.

For sexual propagation (seeding), all you have to do is:

  1. Start with high-quality seeds and sow them in a suitable medium.
  2. Provide the proper environmental conditions, like water, temperature, humidity, and sunlight. 

The germination process length can vary from one plant to another, and some may require special treatment.

 As for asexual propagation, the easiest way to go about it is through cuttings. All you have to do is:

  1. Take a healthy part of your plant (stem, leaf, or root).
  2. Plant the cutting in a suitable growing medium that’s rich in nutrients.
  3. Ensure the environment is suitable for growth (check the moisture levels, temperature, and humidity).

How to Propagate Plants by Sexual Methods?

Sexual propagation means allowing the plant to reproduce without direct interference, either through grafting, layering, cutting, or otherwise.

It’s simply allowing the plant to create new ones through seed germination, influenced by pollination.

There are two main types of pollination, which are:

  • Self-pollination 

In this scenario, the flower’s pollen fertilizes the ovules of the same flower or another flower on the same plant. 

According to Stephen I. Wright and Susan Kalisz journal article from The Royal Society, this mostly happens in plants with flowers capable of self-fertilization. Genetic consistency ensures the preservation of particular characteristics and plant survival.

  • Cross-pollination

Cross-pollination isn’t that different from self-pollination. The one main difference is that the pollen transfer happens between different plants and is carried by wind, insects, birds, or other animals. 

On occasion, cross-pollination can happen because of human interference. When it comes to propagating plants through sexual methods, it doesn’t require much human intervention. 

The key lies in providing the right environment for the plants to flourish, ensuring the conditions are conducive for pollination and seed germination. 

Pennsylvania State University advises you’ll need to look for soil quality, moisture, light, temperature, humidity, and much more to ensure successful seed germination and growth. 

However, beyond that, propagation through sexual methods is a natural process that doesn’t require our involvement.

What Is Seed Propagation?

Seed propagation is a natural sexual reproduction method in plants in which the seeds form through fertilization.

That is, the pollen merges with the egg to form a zygote that later turns into an embryo. The process through which this little embryo goes through to develop into a full-grown plant is called seed germination.

Now, understanding how the seed transforms from its dormant state to a thriving plant doesn’t only hinge on the germination process but also on the component of the seed itself. 

You see, each part plays a vital part, and some may even need modification for the plant to grow.

Here’s a general outlook of the seed’s anatomy:

  • Embryo: The young plant that’ll eventually grow and thrive.
  • Endosperm: This is a nutrient-rich tissue that provides the embryo with its nourishment in the form of starch.
  • Seed Coat: What covers the seed from the outside for protection is essentially its coat. 

Some seeds can have hard coats that require processing, like scarification (softening or weakening the coat) or stratification (exposing the seeds to cold temperatures). 

Wetting the seeds before planting can also help the germination process.

Moreover, other factors could impact seed germination, such as:

  1. Seed Coating: As mentioned, tough coats can make it harder for the embryo to break through, hindering the germination process.
  2. Temperature: Each plant and its seeds require different temperatures for optimal germination.
  3. Dormancy: Certain seeds can enter a dormancy state, which means they can take a while to germinate or need specific conditions to do so.
  4. Water: To allow the seed to grow and the embryo to thrive, you need to calculate precisely the amount of water it needs.
  5. Sunlight: Though this isn’t something we can control, you can always use shade cloth over your crops when it’s too sunny and remove them when it’s not.
  6. Soil Depth: Some seeds thrive when buried deep within the soil, and others simply don’t germinate due to lack of oxygen or sunlight. It’s best to research before planting.

How to Propagate by Seed?

To help seeds propagate and produce quality plants, you’ll need to follow the steps below:

  1. Select High-Quality Seeds

When choosing seeds to plant, you must pick fresh ones from a reliable source to guarantee a high germination rate and a great crop.

You should also remember the seasonality of the seeds and their future pest and disease resistance. 

This information can help you determine the best time to plant them and what type of challenges you might face in the future.

Should you find yourself with seeds that you can’t plant now, it’s best to store them. All you have to do is reduce the moisture in the seeds through dry seed processing and store them in a cool, dry place.

  1. Treat the Seeds

The germination process can be challenging if the seed’s coat is too tough. In this scenario, you should treat the seeds with scarification, scratching the coat to allow easier water and nutrient absorption. 

You can also use stratification, which is exposing the seed to a cold temperature to help it germinate.

  1. Start Planting

Once the seeds are ready, you can plant them in the growing medium. If planting in soil, it’s vital to ensure it’s well-draining to avoid water causing rot. 

It should also be high in nutrients to ensure the plants thrive and flourish.

As for the plantain depth, this varies from species to species. Some seeds can flourish deep underground, while others like to stay close to the surface. You’ll need to research the species in your possession to plant it correctly.

  1. Provide Optimal Growing Conditions 

Some factors can affect seed propagation, starting with water. When you keep the soil properly moisturized, the seed will grow and thrive.

However, when you’re unfamiliar with the seeds’ needs or how the soil works, you can cause water logging or dehydration—both stressful for seed germination.

Temperature can also affect the propagation process, as some plants flourish with high temperatures while others require more coolness. 

You should research the species you have before deciding where to plant it. Of course, the same goes for sunlight.

What Do You Need for Seed Propagation?

To start seed propagation, besides the high-quality seeds, water, and the right temperature, you need the following:

  1. Excellent Growing Medium

The plants need a proper growing medium to germinate. This means the soil you use should be light and well-draining to avoid water logging yet able to retain moisture to nourish the seeds. 

To create such soil you can use a mixture of peat, vermiculite, and perlite. Combining these potting mixes provides the right balance of aeration and moisture retention, allowing the seeds to grow without a problem.

  1. Containers

Controlling or understanding the seeds’ growing environment can be awfully tricky for beginners.

That’s why propagating in containers is recommended so long as they have good drainage.  You can use seed trays, peat pots, or even recycled containers like egg cartons. 

These containers give you a little glimpse of what actual soil should be like for your plant to thrive. All you have to do is clean them first, then add labels to help you know which seed is in the container and its sowing date.

  1. Planting Tools

Various essential tools make planting relatively easier, such as a dibber or even a small stick. You can use either to make holes in the soil or furrows to help bury the seeds.

It’s also best to have a tweezer close to help you place the tiny seeds exactly where you want them to be or remove hidden weeds.

Another vital tool is a fine rose for your watering can to ensure gentle watering without displacing the seeds.

  1. Germination Tools

After planting the seeds, ensuring the environment around it is perfect for germination is essential, and that’s why you need, at least, the following three tools:

  • pH testing kit: To ensure the acidity levels aren’t too high or low for your seeds.
  • Hygrometer: This is for monitoring humidity levels, as some seeds are sensitive to high moisture levels.
  • Light meter: A light meter can help you evaluate the light intensity on an object, letting you figure out if your seeds are getting sufficient light

How to Propagate Plants by Asexual Methods?

Asexual propagation is the process of creating a new plant without using seeds but rather certain parts of an existing plant. 

In this method, if no genetic mutations occur, the offspring is identical to the parent. 

Asexual propagation includes cutting, division grafting, budding, layering, and even using tissue culture.

What Is Propagation by Cuttings?

Propagation by cutting involves taking a segment of a healthy parent plant (stem, leaf, or root) and placing it in a proper growing medium to encourage root growth. 

Of course, the resulting plant is independent of the parent but identical genetically. 

How to Do Leaf Cutting?

One of the most common forms of cutting is leaf cutting. To properly use leaf clippings for a new plant, follow the steps below:

  1. Observe the parent plant from all directions, then choose healthy and mature leaves.
  2. Using pruning shears or a sharp knife, snip the leaf at its base with a little bit of stem without harming it or the parent plant by cutting off too much.
  3. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone (optional) to help it grow, then place it in a moist, well-draining potting mix. 
  4. Monitor and maintain the growing environment by running a pH test on the soil before and after planting and keeping an eye out for the temperature and sun.
  5. After a while, the roots will develop, followed by new shoots.

How to Do Stem-Tip Cutting?

Before you start this method, it’s best to look up if your plant can handle it, as some plants don’t respond well to stem-tip cutting. 

You should also avoid stem-tip cutting during the flowering or stressed period to guarantee it takes root. Once you’ve done your research, follow these steps:

  1. Look around the parent planet for a healthy, young stem with just a few leaves. 
  2. Once you locate one, use a sharp knife or pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a node (the swollen area where the leaf merges with the stem). Make sure the cutting is around 2–4 inches long.
  3. Prune the foliage until they’re about a 3rd of the original state.
  4. Place the cuttings in moist, well-draining soil and ensure the node is buried. 
  5. Within a few weeks, you should notice new growth, and with that, you can increase the watering frequency.

How to Do Leaf and Bud Cutting?

Leaf and bud cutting is a technique where a leaf along with a portion of the stem and a bud are used for propagation. All you have to do is:

  1. Select a stem with a healthy leaf and a visible or axillary bud (where the leaf connects with the stem).
  2. Using a sharp knife or shears, carefully cut just below the bud, including a small section of the stem.
  3.  Prepare the soil by making sure it’s moist yet well-draining.
  4. Create a small hole in the soil using a pencil or the dibber and place cutting.
  5. Bury the stem section with the bud just below the soil surface.

How to Do Stem Cutting?

The stem-cutting method is very similar to the stem-tip-cutting one, with the main difference being that stem-tip cutting focuses on just the tip with a shorter cut overall.

Here’s how to do stem cuttings:

  1. Look around the parent planet for a healthy, young stem with a couple of leaves on top.
  2. Make a clean cut using your pruning shears, typically around 4–6 inches, and ensure to include a couple of nodes.
  3. Plant the cut in a well-draining, moist soil to encourage growth.
  4. Care for the cutting by maintaining soil health and a stress-free environment. 

What Is Propagation by Layering?

Propagation by layering is a fantastic method where a new plant can bloom while still attached to the parent one! 

This method involves encouraging a stem to form roots while still connected to the parent plant, and once it takes root, you can sever it to make the plant independent.

How to Propagate Plants by Simple Layering?

You should start around autumn or early spring if you want to propagate a plant by simple layering. Then, you can follow these steps:

  1. Search around your plant for a healthy, low-hanging stem that’s flexible enough to be bent to the ground. Ideally, it should be about 6–12 inches long.
  2. Create a shallow cut below the node to expose some inner tissue, but don’t break to the other side. This will encourage root development.
  3. Dig a shallow trench, bend the stem carefully, and bury it in the soil.
  4. Use ground staples (optional) to keep the stem pinned in place and water it.
  5. Monitor the stem over the weeks, and once it has established a good root system, cut it from the parent plant.

How to Propagate Plants by Compound (Serpentine) Layering?

Propagating plants by compound or serpentine layering is similar to simple layering but differs in certain steps. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select a part of the plant with long, flexible stems that can easily reach the soil.
  2. Dig a long trench, about 1–3 feet long.
  3. Create several incisions along the strip of the stem without fully penetrating it.
  4. Start the layering process by burning some parts of the stem while leaving others, the uninjured parts, exposed—similar to the shape of a wave.
  5. Use the ground staples to pin the buried section to the soil and water it carefully.
  6. Once a strong root system develops at each buried section, cut the stem between rooted sections to create individual plants.

This propagation method is perfect for plants with vine-like growth, such as pothos, wisteria, and philodendrons.

How to Propagate Plants by Air Layering?

There are times when the plant you want to propagate doesn’t have stems long enough to bend to the ground or simply isn’t flexible at all. In this case, you can follow these steps to air-layer it:

  1. Observe your plant and select a suitable branch that’s around six inches long with good leaf growth. Also, ensure the branch is easily accessible to make the next steps easier.
  2. Choose a section on the branch that’s around three to four inches below the tip and search for a node there. Using a sharp knife, make a 1-inch, shallow cut just below the node, but don’t cut all the way through!
  3. Cover the wounded area with a ball of et sphagnum moss until completely covered. Make sure the moss is moist and damp but not dripping wet.
  4. Wrap the wounded area and the moss with clear plastic wrap, wrapping the top and bottom with tape or ties. Keep the moss damp by misting it from time to time.
  5. Monitor the plant and check for growth around the fourth-week mark. It could take longer, depending on the plant. 
  6. Once the roots are established, carefully remove the plastic wrap, sever the layered branch from its parent, and plant the new plant with its roots in a pot filled with potting mix.
  7. Place the pot near sunlight and water regularly until it thrives.

What Is Propagation by Division?

Propagation by division is a form of asexual plant reproduction that includes separating an existing plant into two or more parts, each with its root system.

This method is really popular as it not only helps produce more plants but it also helps old growth thrive.

How to Propagate Plants by Division?

Propagating plants by division can be a little challenging as there are some tricks to each plant. Still, the following steps are general enough to give you an idea about what to do with your plant:

  1. Choose the right plant. This usually means ones with fleshy underground structures like bulbs, rhizomes, or clumps of stems that you can easily separate. For example, ferns, irises, and daylilies. 
  2. Using a spade, carefully dig around the plant without damaging the roots and slowly lift it with the soil still attached.
  3. For plants with clear, separable clumps, use your hands to pull them apart and divide each with a section of healthy roots and shoots. For thicker structures, you can use a sharp knife to cut it into smaller sections.
  4. Plant each division at a similar depth to how it was in well-draining soil, ensure the roots are well-covered, and then water thoroughly.

What Is Propagation by Grafting?

Propagation by grafting is a technique where you combine two plant parts to create a new one.

It mainly involves joining a shoot or a twig (scion) from one plant to the root system (rootstock) of another. 

This is one of the best methods to use when you want to combine the best traits of both plants, such as disease resistance or hardiness. 

How to Propagate Plants by Grafting?

To propagate plants through grafting, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose sturdy and compatible plants. The scion should have desirable characteristics with at least two or three buds, while the rootstock should be hardy and possibly disease-resistant.
  2. Using a grafting knife, create a V-shaped notch in the rootstock and a V-shaped cut in the scion.
  3. Align the cut surface of the scion and the rootstock so they merge perfectly.
  4. Secure the pieces together by tying them with grafting tape.
  5. Keep the grafted area moist and protected, and keep an eye on it for signs of growth.
  6. Once you notice new growth, gradually remove the grafting tape and introduce more water and sunlight.

How to Propagate by Cleft Graft?

Cleft grafting isn’t much different than cut grafting. The method also involves merging a plant’s upper body with another plant’s lower body. 

The way it happens, though, is where the difference lies. Here’s how:

  1. Similar to before, choose two strong compatible plants with desirable features in the scion and rootstock.
  2. Using a grafting knife, create a vertical cut in the center of the rootstock, creating a “cleft.”
  3. Shape the base of the scion using the knife into a small wedge.
  4. Insert the scion into the cleft tightly.
  5. Secure the pieces from falling with grafting wax to prevent drying.
  6. Keep the grafted area moist and protected, and monitor it for signs of healing and growth.

What Is Propagation by Budding?

Propagation by budding is another form of grafting where a bud from one plant (budstick) is grafted onto the rootstock of another plant. 

Budding is especially preferred for its simplicity and decent success rate compared to other grafting methods.

How to Propagate Plants by Budding?

Propagating plants by budding is rather easy and has more than one approach. A general procedure is as follows:

  1. Choose a healthy, mature bud from one of the parent plants—make sure it’s still dormant and hasn’t sprouted anything.
  2. Prepare the rootstock by carefully making an incision with a sharp knife to expose the cambium layer. This step will vary according to your approach.
  3. Create a shallow cut just below the desired bud on the scion and carefully slide the bud inside the incision.
  4. Secure the bud and rootstock by using grafting or budding tape.
  5. After a few weeks, if the propagation is a success, you can remove the tape and enjoy a thriving plant.

How to Propagate by T Budding?

To propagate plants via T budding, follow the next steps:

  1. Choose a healthy mature bud from one of the parent plants. Look for buds that are plump but not yet opened.
  2. Select a smooth, clear area on the stem of the rootstock and create a T-shaped cut. Make sure the top of the T is around ½ inch across and the vertical cut is about 1–1½ inches long. 
  3. Carefully cut the bud from the parent plant, including a small piece of the bark and a sliver of wood underneath.
  4. Gently open the flaps of the T-cut on the rootstock and insert the bud into the cut, right side up.
  5. Secure the bud by wrapping the graft with budding or grafting tape.
  6. Once the bud shows signs of growth, you can gradually remove the tape and care for the plant.

How to Propagate by Patch Budding?

Propagating plants by patch budding is similar to T budding, but it offers more of the bud as you’d transfer it with the surrounding tissue. Here’s how:

  1. Select a healthy bud and a smooth, clear area on your rootstock.
  2. Carefully cut around the desired bud on the scion plant—about one inch in each direction.
  3. Prepare the rootstock by using the knife to make a rectangular cut in the bark, about 1–2 inches long and similar width.
  4. Gently lift the bark with the knife and expose the cambium layer underneath.
  5. Detach the bud patch from its plant, with the woody part attached, and gently slide it into the opening in the rootstock.
  6. Secure both bud and rootstock using grafting or budding tape until everything is held tightly.
  7. Monitor for future growth to remove the tape and provide proper care.

What Is Tissue Culture?

Tissue culture is a fascinating method that allows us to propagate plants “in vitro”—within the glass—by growing small pieces of plant tissues, like cells or groups of cells, in a controlled environment.

Using tissue culture for propagating allows for rapid multiplication of plants, but the main drawback is the need for specialized equipment and facilities with highly skilled labor.

Tissue culture propagation can be divided into four stages or processes, which are: 

  • Explanting: This is the first step where experts must select a healthy part of the plant to extract the tissues. The pieces of tissues taken from the plant by experts are called explants, hence the name. 
  • Multiplication: The second stage of propagating via tissue culture is where the cells are grown in a nutrient-rich medium to produce multiple copies. The cells form an undifferentiated mass of cells known as a callus.
  • Organogenesis: With time, these callus cells start forming new organs like shoots and roots. In fact, by this stage, you’ll notice a mini plant growing in the test tube.
  • Acclimatization: As soon as the plant is strong enough to adapt to more natural conditions, it’s removed and carefully planted in another controlled environment.

When to Propagate Plants?

There are different signs your plants are ready for propagation, but the ideal time depends on several factors, including:

  1. Plant Type

Different plants have specific optimal times for propagation based on their own natural cycle and flowering habits. 

For instance, roses are best propagated in late spring and early summer, while succulents can be propagated all year round.

So, it’s best to research your plant before trying to propagate it first.

  1. Climate

The climate around you also affects the best time to propagate the plants. Most of the time, plants like the warm seasons as they’re actively growing, and the temperature is consistent. 

There are some plants, though, that might do better when propagated during the cooler months, like conifers. 

That’s why it’s vital to monitor the weather where you live before trying anything.

  1. Propagation Method

For sexual propagation, spring is perfect for most annuals and vegetables, while most perennials thrive in fall. 

The best time for asexual reproduction depends on the methods used. For example, cuttings are best done from spring to early summer when the stems are actively growing. 

As for grafting, winter, right after the strong cold has passed, is considered a good timing.

  1. Specific Conditions

While there are some overall outlines, not every plant follows a strict schedule. For instance, not all perennials thrive in fall for sexual propagation. Some require specific temperature ranges to flourish. 

Also, the ideal time frame for cutting isn’t limited from spring to early fall. Depending on the plant species, it can extend into midsummer or even early fall.

How to Propagate Plants From Cuttings (Clippings)?

To successfully grow your plant, here are the main factors you need to consider:

  1. Start With the Right Clipping

It’s best to get your clippings from a disease-free stem to ensure your plant grows healthy and robust. It’s also best to check the plant for any hidden pests.

While it’s growing, place it in a container alone, with a well-draining potting mixture and water consistently. 

  1. Provide Humidity

Plant cuttings love and thrive in humidity. This is mostly because the unprotected leaf loses a lot of water, even if the climate is humid! 

As a result, you’ll need to cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or place a humidifier in the same room to add more humidity to the climate around the plant until it’s strong enough. 

If you go with the plastic bag method, always make sure there’s enough ventilation to prevent mold growth.

  1. Create a Watering Schedule

The problem with watering plants is that you can go wrong both ways. You can either overwater the plant until it’s waterlogged and at risk of rot root or underwater it, causing severe stress.

This is why it’s vital to create a schedule for watering and commit to it. With that, you can ensure the clipping is watered but the soil isn’t too soggy. 

  1. Provide a Stress-Free Environment

Another factor that can hinder your cuttings from growing is too many stressors. For instance, if your plant is in a spot that receives too much direct sunlight, it can get easily scorched! 

When trying with such small clippings, it’s best to keep the pot near indirect sunlight with the heat around 65–75°F.

Anything more or less can be uncomfortable for the plant, so it’s best to research its preference first, as this is a general range.

  1. Transplant and Assimilate

Once your cuttings have fully developed their root system, carefully move them from the pot into fresh soil. 

If the plant was grown indoors and you must transplant it outdoors in the soil, you should first acclimatize it. 

This means placing the pot gradually outside in a shaded, protected area for hours daily. As time goes on, you can increase the exposure. 

Finally, you can transplant the new plant in the soil, but ensure the climate isn’t too drafty or extreme on that day.

What Tools Do I Need to Propagate Plants?

To successfully propagate plants, you’ll need the following items with you:

  1. Sharp pruning shears or knife: While either is enough, it’s best to have both, as the knife can help with grafting and cutting, while the shears can be more effective for larger stems and branches.
  2. Pots and containers: it’s easier to grow your plant in pots and containers as you can control the overall environment around it.
  3. Potting mix: A potting mix that’s well-draining but can retain enough moisture is perfect for seed germination and cuttings.
  4. Gardening gloves: This is an important tool to have so you can protect your hands from dirt and sharp tools!
  5. Watering can or mister: To keep your cutting, seedling, or divided plants properly hydrated without overwhelming them.

Which Soil Is the Best for Plant Propagation?

There isn’t one “best” soil for plant propagation out there because the answer differs based on plant type, climate, and propagation method. 

In general, the best soil should be well-draining and sterile. It should be light and airy so the roots can form effortlessly but not too much so that it doesn’t retain any moisture.

Many soil mixtures with these characteristics use peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, which provide the necessary drainage and aeration.

The only thing you should keep in mind is to stay away from using garden soil as it can contain pathogens that are harmful to young plants.

How to Grow Plants From Cuttings?

To grow plants from cuttings, all you have to do is:

  • Choose healthy cuttings.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut right below the leaf node.
  • Place the cutting in a well-draining soil mix.
  • Provide adequate light and warmth.
  • Maintain a consistent watering schedule.
  • Once the clippings have taken root, transplant them into larger pots into the soil directly.

What tools do I need for plant cuttings? 

The tools required for plant cutting are similar to what you’d usually need for general gardening. This includes the following: 

  1. Sharp pruning shears or a knife to help you create clean cuts.
  2. Pots to split and organize your cuttings with labels and markers as well.
  3. Potting mixes suitable for your plants.
  4. Covers or plastic bags to help with humidity.
  5. Watering can for gentle watering.
  6. Heat mats to help keep the temperature warm and consistent

How Do I Transplant and Move Plants?

To transplant your plant and move it with care, you must do the following:

  1. Start the moving process early in the morning or evening to minimize water loss and heat stress.
  2. Water you plant the day before to soften the roots and reduce damage.
  3. Prep the new location by ensuring the hole is twice as big as the root ball and enriched with composite or organic matter to help the plant adjust.
  4. Dig a wide berth around the plant to avoid cutting vital roots, and gently loosen the soil using a mini spade.
  5. Lift the plant gently.
  6. Transport the plant to where you want it to be, but keep it at the same soil depth as before.
  7. Water after transplanting, and monitor it for the next few weeks.

What Containers Do I Need for Plant Propagation?

There isn’t a particular container that’s better than others, as it mostly depends on the type of propagation and your plant’s needs. 

Here’s a small list of the most popular container options you can use: 

  • Seed trays 
  • Propagation domes
  • Peat pots
  • Biodegradable pots

When Not to Propagate Plants?

There are certain circumstances when propagating plants might not be the brightest idea out there! So, before you grab your pruners or seeds, consider the following cases:

  1. Extreme weather, such as hot, cold, or wet conditions can stress plants and hinder seed growth.
  2. When the plants are dormant, they won’t respond to the propagation unless treated properly.
  3. If the plant is unhealthy or infested, it’s less likely to root successfully.
  4. If the plant is stressed or weak, then taking cuttings can further weaken the plant and reduce its chance of survival or growth.