There are somethings in life that we take for granted - plants are one of them. They are always there and they have always been there, so innately we forget just how valuable they are to not just human life, but all life. However, just like animal species, plants can also go extinct. As the intelligent species that we humans are, we have an essential obligation to assist in the continuation of species that are less adept than we are. Plant propagation is a simple, gratifying, rewarding and humbling process that we can all benefit from.
What are the different types of plant propagation and why is plant propagation so important?
Plant propagation is the process of starting a new plant through asexual or sexual propagation. Asexual reproduction involves taking a healthy cutting from a mature plant (called the motherplant) and replanting to grow a new plant. Since asexual propagation uses only one, mature plant the new plant will possess the exact same DNA and genes as the motherplant. This is a beneficial practice to maintain the genetic qualities of a specific plant. By selecting the healthiest, best preforming plant you are all but guaranteeing the same characteristics in its offspring.
Similar to mammals, sexual propagation is mother nature’s design of uniting the pollen of a male plant, and the seed of female plant to produce a third, separate plant. Unlike asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction combines the DNA of both female and male plant counterparts. Like humans, the results of sexual reproduction can vary in color, size, shape and countless other unique characteristics. It can also result in abnormalities and failure to thrive. This is a risk all species take when reproducing.
Why should we practice plant propagation?
Like all species, a plant’s purpose in life is to reproduce and have its genes and DNA carried on to future generations. When we assist in the propagation process we are using our human intervention to assist another species carry forth. Propagating plants is a very inexpensive way to help build up ecosystems, grow your own food, extend your garden or even as a side hustle that brings in some money. The cost of living keeps increasing, however not everyone's income reflects the ever continuous inflation trend. But what if you could stop paying full price at the market for your fruits and vegetables? How much money could you save if instead of taking a trip to the grocery store (lets not forget gas prices) you simply walked into your back yard, balcony or community garden to harvest your home grown tomatoes, peas, cucumbers and so much more. You can start you own garden by asking neighbors and friends for seeds or cuttings from their mature plants and propagating them in your own soil. Growing fruits, vegetables and herbs at home will not only save you time and money but you are also reducing your carbon footprint with less plastic waste from the grocer.
We often grow more than we need, with little extra effort. Your excess bounty can be gifted, canned for future use or traded with neighbors. The two tomato plants that I grew on my deck this summer produced more fruits than my family could manage to consume. We offered our extras to our lovely neighbor, she kindly accepted and offered us basil plants in return. It was a win-win for both of us. No waste - all gain.
Plant propagation isn’t just for the editable plants. Indoor plants are also very easy and very rewarding to propagate. When my green plants, like Aloe or Pilea become over whelmed in their pots, I will take some cuttings and relocate them into a new pot with fresh soil and some planting hormone. I love to gift my plant babies to my friends and it’s always a joy to see my plants thriving in other homes all around me.