Learn to propagate plants more successfully from cuttings
ACS student comment: "[The course] is teaching me a lot about propagation that I did not know. Your courses are very good, easy to understand, full of lots of valuable information. My tutor is very good, fair and always there if needed." Pauline Ross, Australia - Cutting Propagation course.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- The principles of propagating plants by cuttings.:Importance of cuttings, Phenotype vs genotype, why choose cutting propagation, where to get cuttings from, basic cutting technique.
- Stem cuttings.
- Ease with which tissue forms roots, types of stem cuttings (softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous, tip, heel, nodal, cane etc), treatments (eg. basal heat, mist, tent, etc), testing rooting, etc.
- Non-stem cuttings.
- Leaf cuttings, root cuttings (natural suckering with or without division, Induced suckering, In situ whole root cuttings; ex situ detached root cuttings), bulb cuttings, scaling and twin scaling, sectioning, basal cuttage.
- Materials and equipment.
- Selection and maintenance of stock plants; disinfecting cutting material;
- Growing media.
- Propagation media; biological, chemical and physical characteristics of propagation and potting media, Testing for toxins, air filled porosity, potting up cuttings, soil-less mixes, rockwool, etc.
- Factors affecting rooting.
- Juvenility, Cutting Treatments (hormones & their application, anti transparents, acid/base treatments, disinfectants etc), Callusing, Mycorrhizae, Carbon Dioxide enrichment, etc.
- Setting up a propagation area.
- Creating and managing an appropriate cutting environment in terms of: Water; Disease; Temperature; Light and Air Quality. Greenhouses and other structures, watering methods (mist, fog, capillary etc), heating, etc.
- Management of cutting crops. Estimating cost of production; Keeping records, etc.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Why Do We Choose to Grow by Cuttings?
Plants are reproduced by cuttings for a number of reasons, including:
Cutting grown plants are identical to their parent.
A cutting grown plant is genetically identical to the parent plant from which the original cutting was taken. This is not necessarily so when plants are grown from seed.
Cuttings are the most widely used technique for reproducing "true to type" plants. This ensures that the unique characteristics, such as leaf variegation or flower size & colour, of the parent plant are perpetuated in the progeny. When a plant is grown from seed, the flower and foliage effects, for example, can be different to those on the parent plant
It is easier to produce new plants from cuttings
For some types of plants, seed production is difficult, due to one or more of the following reasons:
a/ The plant doesn’t produce viable seed, or produces seed at irregular times,
b/ Seed is difficult to germinate (e.g. Boronia, Eriostemon),
c/ Seed that is difficult to collect, for example, plants that have seed pods that burst open dispersing the seeds widely,
d/ Seed is produced at a time when seed cannot be collected, or collection would require a further trip to the area (often very difficult for remote areas), or can only be collected with difficulty (e.g. plants whose seed matures during wet seasons when access may be limited).
Producing plants that flower or fruit sooner
Many plants grown from seeds go through a juvenile stage, in which flowering, and hence seed production do not occur. Some plants may take 5, 10 or even more years before they commence flowering. Once a plant has flowered, plants propagated from that plant by cuttings will avoid the juvenile stage and flower early, often within months of the cutting having struck. Many plants also have undesirable growth forms when they are young. These include very vigorous growth, thorniness, or unattractive foliage or form. By taking cuttings from adult plants these undesirable characteristics can be avoided.
In some cases the juvenile form of a plant may have characteristics that are more desirable than those of the adult form. A good example of this is the smaller, immature foliage of the Hedera helix cultivars (English Ivy). For some plants cuttings will strike more readily from juvenile material.