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Creating New Plant Life

Several ways to bring new plant growth into your life

In the beginning, there was nothing. And gardeners looked at this and said, "Well, that's drab . . . let's grow something!" Before we can begin worrying about mulching and pests, we've got to figure out how to get the plants going, and this is where propagation comes in.

There are two general categories: sexual and asexual. Sexual refers to the starting of plants from seeds; asexual refers to other methods, such as taking cuttings, layering, or grafting.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. Seeds are cheap and easy, but they take a while and you can never really be sure what quality you'll get. Cuttings and layering will give you an exact copy of the "mother" and takes less time, but you're confined to plants you already have access to. Grafting gives you exact control over quality but is difficult to do.

The soil, light, and moisture requirements vary somewhat for each method, and substances such as rooting hormone (available at gardening centers) can help greatly in the production of roots. Review each method to see which one is right for you and your plants.