Front Cover
 Back Cover
 Asexual propagation
 Sexual propagation
 Small scale propagation units

Group Title: Circular - Florida Cooperative Extension Service - 579
Title: Propagation of landscape plants
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027971/00001
 Material Information
Title: Propagation of landscape plants
Series Title: Circular Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: 15 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ingram, Dewayne L ( Dewayne Lebron ), 1952-
Yeager, Thomas H ( Thomas Henry ), 1952-
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1986?
Subject: Plant propagation -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Plants, Ornamental   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Dewayne L. Ingram and Thomas H. Yeager.
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027971
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 15119112

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Back Cover
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Asexual propagation
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Sexual propagation
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Small scale propagation units
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
Full Text
Circular 579

Propagation of Landscape Plants

Dewayne L. Ingram and Thomas H. Yeager ____

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Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida J. T. oese Dean

*Dewayne L. Ingram is Associate Professor, Extension Ornamental Horticulturist, and Thomas H. Yeager
is Assistant Professor, Extension Ornamental Horticulturist; Ornamental Horticulture Department,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainsville, 32611.


Illustrations by Nancy L. Shaskey

This publication was promulgated at a cost of $2,951.06, or 26.8 cents per copy, to inform Florida citizens of propaga-
tion principles and methods for landscape plants. 2-11M-86

SCIENCES, K. R. Tefertlller, director, In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this Infor-
mation to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and Is authorized to provide research, educa-
tional Information and other services only to Individuals and Institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex or
national origin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H and Youth publications) are available free to Florida
residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers Is available from
C. M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Galnesvllle, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this
publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.

Propagation of Landscape Plants
Dewayne L. Ingram and Thomas H. Yeager*

Most ornamental plants in Florida can be propagated
easily by home gardeners. By doing so, the gardener
increases the number of plants with desirable
characteristics and decreases landscaping costs. Plants
can be propagated by asexual or sexual means. Sexual
propagation involves starting plants from seed, while
asexual propagation refers to multiplication of plants
from vegetative plant parts such as shoots, roots, and
leaves, or specialized organs such as bulbs and corms.
Methods of propagation by specialized organs are
presented in Ornamental Horticulture Circular 552.
Budding and grafting are also methods of vegetative pro-
pagation, but will not be addressed in this publication.
Methods of propagating common Florida landscape
plants are presented in Table 1.

Asexual Propagation
The most important reason for asexual propagation
is to grow plants with the same characteristics as the
parent plant. Asexual propagation is the only practical
means of reproduction when a plant does not produce
viable seed, or seeds are difficult to germinate. A group
of plants originating from a single plant and reproduc-
ed by vegetative means is called a clone. For example,
the original Drake elm came from a seed, but has since
been increased by vegetative propagation to maintain
its desirable characteristics.

The most common method to propagate plants asex-
ually is from cuttings. Cuttings can be made from stems,
roots, leaves, or combinations of plant parts such as
stems with leaves (Figure 1). Cuttings should be taken
from healthy plants with desirable characteristics, and
placed in a warm, humid environment to hasten root
development and prevent them from drying.
Stem cuttings can be taken at different stages of
vegetative maturity and may consist of just the grow-
ing tip of a plant or subterminal stem sections. Some
plants root better from softwood cuttings, while others
should be propagated from semi-hardwood or hardwood
cuttings. Softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings are
from the current season's growth, and hardwood cut-
tings (seldomly taken in Florida) are from the previous
season's growth. Softwood cuttings are generally taken
from plants in spring or early summer during a growth
flush when the tissue is relatively soft and succulent.
Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken after a growth flush
has matured. Stems of semi-hardwood cuttings will
usually "snap" like green beans when broken. Many
Florida plants root best as semi-hardwood cuttings.
Stem cuttings are removed using a clean, sharp knife
or pruner. Cuttings 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in length
are appropriate for most plants. Leaves are removed
from the bottom 1 inch (2.5 cm) of stem cuttings, and
then the cuttings are stuck upright in a propagation

Fig. 1. Types of cuttings.

Subterminal stem cutting

Root cutting

Tip stem cutting

Leaf-bud cutting

Leaf cutting (Sansevieria)

Leaf cutting (Begonia)

medium. Insert the cuttings just deep enough usual-
ly 1/2 to 1 inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm) into the propagation
medium to hold them upright.
A mixture of equal volumes of peat moss and coarse
perlite is a suitable rooting medium for most plants, but
combinations of other materials such as shredded
sphagnum, vermiculite, and sand have also proven
satisfactory. The medium should drain freely and be free
of disease organisms and weed seed. Packaged media
can be purchased, or small quantities can be sterilized
by placing a 2-inch (5 cm) layer of moist medium on
a tray in an oven at 220 F (104 0C) for 1 hour. The odor
from heated moist media may be offensive.
Root-promoting chemicals (hormones) can be applied
to the basal 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) of cuttings before stick-
ing them in a medium to enhance rooting of some
plants. Root promoting chemicals are primarily compos-
ed of auxins: IBA (indolebutyric acid) and/or NAA (nap-
thaleneacetic acid). Although it is possible to obtain
these chemicals and prepare your own, it is more prac-
tical to purchase the commercially prepared talc for-
mulations. These commercial preparations are available
at most garden centers in various concentrations, suited
for easy-, moderate-, or difficult-to-root plants. Some
talc formulations of auxins also contain a fungicide to
aid in preventing disease during rooting.
Leaf cuttings may be comprised of only the leaf
blade or the leaf blade and petiole (leaf stem). Begonias
and sansevierias are commonly propagated by leaf cut-
tings. Leaf cuttings of some plants, such as the Rex
begonia, are wounded by cutting the underside of the
main veins before placing the leaf surface flat and in
firm contact with the propagation medium. Sometimes
it is helpful to pin these leaves to the moist medium with
small stakes or toothpicks. Leaf cuttings of many plants
can be stuck upright in the propagation medium. When
subterminal sections of leaves are used, make sure the
basal end of the cutting is inserted into the propaga-
tion medium. Roots and new shoots will start at the base
of the leaf or at points where the veins were cut.
Leaf-bud cuttings include the leaf blade, the petiole,
and a 1/2-to 1-inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm) segment of the stem.
Axillary buds located at the union of the petiole and
stem produce new shoots under warm, humid condi-
tions. This method is often used for plants in short sup-
ply that have long interodes. Every node (joint) on the
stem can be a cutting.
Root cuttings are usually taken from young plants
in early spring or late winter, before they start grow-
ing. Healthy roots have ample food (carbohydrates)
stored to support shoot development at this time. Root
cuttings are typically 2 to 7 inches (5 to 18 cm) in length,
depending upon root diameter. Large roots can be cut
shorter than small roots and still have an adequate food
supply for root and shoot initiation and growth. Small,
delicate root cuttings (1/8 to 1/4 inch or 3.2 to 6.4 mm

in diameter) should be positioned horizontally in the
propagation medium and covered with 1/2 inch (12 mm)
of medium. Larger root cuttings (1/4 to 1/2 inches or
6.4 to 12.8 mm in diameter) can be planted vertically
with the end of the cutting originally nearest the plant
crown positioned upward. Optimum temperatures for
most root cuttings range from 550F to 650F (130C to
18 C). Root cuttings may be transplanted after shoots
have emerged and sufficient new secondary roots have
developed. The principal disadvantage of this method
is the amount of work involved in obtaining the root
Hardening rooted cuttings refers to the develop-
ment of plant resistance to environmental stress after
rooting has occurred. For example, cuttings that have
been rooted in a humid environment with moderate
temperatures would be shocked if they were put directly
in a dry, hot environment in full sun. There must be
a transitional period to allow new roots and leaves to
adjust gradually to environmental change.
The rooting period will vary from 2 to 16 weeks,
depending upon plant species and the environment.
The first step in hardening is to decrease the humidity
by increasing the interval between mistings, and/or in-
creasing the ventilation if in an enclosed rooting struc-
ture. After a gradual decrease in moisture, the light in-
tensity can be increased gradually by moving the plants
into areas receiving increasing amounts of direct
sunlight. Plants that have been adequately hardened
are more likely to survive when transplanted into larger
containers or the landscape.

Layering is a relatively easy method of propagation
by which new plants are formed while attached to the
parent plant. The new plant receives nutrients and
water from the parent plant until roots develop. This
method of asexual propagation yields a large plant in
a relatively short time, and is an excellent way to pro-
duce a small number of plants in the home landscape,
or to propagate plants that are difficult to increase by
other methods. Layering outdoors is best performed
during spring and summer months, although it can be
done during any season of the year. Spring and sum-
mer layers are usually rooted and ready for transplant-
ing in the fall or winter.
Healthy, maturing branches that are growing
vigorously and have been exposed to light should be
chosen for layering since these usually have more food
reserve (carbohydrates) and therefore root faster.
Branches from pencil size to about 3/4 inch (2 cm) in
diameter are best for layering. It may be possible to
select wood for layering that would normally be
pruned when shaping the plant. The various types of
layering are air, tip, trench, mound, and serpentine.
Air and tip layering are the most popular methods.

Air layering is commonly used for the propagation
of fiddle-leaf figs, rubber plants, crotons, hibiscus,
calliandra, oleanders, pandanus, camellias, azaleas, and
magnolias. The first step in air layering is to remove
leaves and twigs on the selected limb for 3 to 4 inches
(8 to 10 cm) above and below the point where the air
layer is to be made. The air layer is usually made at least
12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) below the tip of the
branch. The branch is wounded to induce rooting
(Figure 2). One method consists of removing a 1/2-
to 1-inch (1 to 3 cm) ring of bark and, with a knife,
scraping clean the wood underneath. This ensures com-
plete removal of the cambium layer a layer of cells
between the bark and the wood. If the cambium layer
is not removed completely, new bark may develop in-
stead of roots. A second method of wounding involves
making either a long slanting cut upward about one-
fourth to one-half the way through the twig (Figure 2)
or two small cuts on opposite sides of large branches
or on branches having brittle wood. One cut should be
slightly higher on the branch than the other and the
cuts should not be too deep or the branch may break.
The incision should be kept opeh by inserting a small
chip of wood or toothpick to prevent the cut from heal-
ing over.
A rooting hormone can be applied around and just
above the wound on difficult-to-root plants to hasten
rooting, but hormones are unnecessary for most air
layering. The wounded area should be bound with a
handful of moist sphagnum moss. Squeeze excess
moisture from the moss before placing it completely
around the stem at the wound. Tie the moss firmly in
place with strong twine or fabric. Wrap the sphagnum
ball with clear polyethylene film and tie securely with
plastic covered wire or strong rubber bands above and

below the ball to prevent the moss from drying. The
ball should then be covered with aluminum foil or
freezer paper to prevent excessive heat build up under
the plastic.
When a mass of roots has developed in the sphagnum
ball (1 month to a year, depending upon plant species
and time of year), the layered branch can be removed
from the parent plant. When roots are visible through
the plastic, the layer is ready for removal. It is best to
allow the new plant to develop a larger root system in
a container or protected holding area before planting
it in open areas where high light intensities and dry con-
ditions usually prevail. Layers removed during the
growing season should be potted in containers and
hardened much like the rooted cutting discussed
previously. Layers harvested in winter can usually be
transplanted directly into the landscape if adequate care
is provided.
Tip layering is a proven means of propagating climb-
ing roses, jasmine, abelia, oleander, and pyracantha
(Figure 3). Most plants with a trailing or viny growth
habit can be propagated by this method. A low branch,
or one that can be bent easily to the ground, is chosen.
The bark is injured (in the manner previously describ-
ed for air layering) about 1/2 to 1 inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm)
along the stem and 4 to 5 inches (10.2 to 12.7 cm) back
from the tip, and the injured area is anchored 2 to 3
inches (5 to 8 cm) in the soil. It is extremely important
to keep the soil moist.
Spring is the best time to tip layer, since the injured
portion will develop roots during warm summer
months. Spring layers can be cut from the parent and
planted in late fall or left until the following spring. The
layered portion should be checked for roots before
removal from the parent plant.

Fig. 2. AIR LAYERING Progressive steps in making an air layer (from left).

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Fig. 3. TIP LAYERING An easy method of propagating plants around the home.
Fig. 4. TRENCH LAYERING This method is well adapted to the propagation of certain fruit and berry plants.

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Fig. 5. SERPENTINE LAYERING Alternate nodes along the branch are rooted, a method of securing a large number of
plants from one branch.
Fig. 6. MOUND LAYERING Showing roots forming in the soil mounded around the wounded stems.

Trench and serpentine layering methods are
similar to tip layering, except that a longer branch is
placed in a trench and covered with soil. These methods
produce several new plants from each layered branch
(Figure 4). Trench layering is useful on plants whose
buds will break and start to grow under the soil sur-
face. Willows, viburnum, and dogwood can be trench
layered. The entire branch, except the tip, is placed in
a trench and covered with soil Serpentine layering in-
volves burying every other bud, leaving the alternate
bud above ground (Figure 5). This method requires
plants with pliable or vining stems such as grapes,
trumpet creeper, and confederate jasmine.
Mound layering can be used to propagate many of
the heavy-stemmed or closely-branched plants such as
Japanese magnolia, croton, flowering quince, callian-
dra, and tibouchina. Mound layering (Figure 6) is started
in spring. The plant is cut back severely prior to spring
growth; new shoots that emerge are wounded (as
described for air layering) and soil is mounded around
the base of the plant. Soil should be mounded up in
several stages to a maximum of about 1/2 feet (46 cm).
Adding peat or sphagnum moss to the mounded soil
helps when removing the rooted branches. It takes
about one growing season to produce shoots that have
rooted sufficiently for transplanting.


Plants with a multi-stem or clumping growth habit,
offshoots, or with underground storage structures such
as rhizomes or tubers can be propagated by division.
Division involves cutting large clumps into smaller sec-
tions, making sure that each smaller clump has an ade-
quate amount of stems, leaves, roots, and buds to sur-
vive transplanting. Ferns, orchids, daylilies, bulbous
plants, nandina, and liriope are commonly propagated
by division. Division is an excellent way to increase the
area in the landscape covered with plants such as
asparagus fern, confederate jasmine, and liriope. Each
season dig the plants from a portion or all of the ground
cover area, divide the clumps, and replant them into
a larger area. Some plants can be pulled apart, but many
must be cut. Transplant the separated clumps at the
same depth they were growing originally. Do not divide
plants when they are flowering, but any other time dur-
ing the growing season is suitable, as long as adequate
care is provided after planting.

Sexual Propagation

Seed propagation is the least expensive way to pro-
duce large numbers of new plants, but seedling
characteristics are usually quite variable and this may

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be a disadvantage. However, genetic variability offers
an opportunity to select seedlings with new or different
features. Seed propagation is a means of reproducing
plants that are extremely difficult or impossible to pro-
pagate vegetatively. Most palms are grown from seed.
because they are single stemmed, and cuttings can not
be taken without destroying the parent plant. Wax myr-
tle and native azaleas are usually propagated by seed
because asexual methods are less successful.

Seed Collection and Storage
There are no firm rules for determining when seeds
of selected plants are mature and ready for collection.
Changes in size, shape, weight, and color of fruit serve
as visual guides to seed maturation. For example, fruit
of the southern magnolia are a brilliant red, and those
of the pindo palm are orange and somewhat soft when
mature. Fruit should be collected during this stage
because after they fall to the ground viability may
decrease. The period of seed viability for many sub-
tropical and tropical plants is short sometimes only
3 to 10 days. This situation is especially true for seeds
coming from pulpy or fleshy fruit such as that of palms;
these seeds should be planted immediately after they
are harvested and cleaned.
Some seeds do not have to be planted immediately,
but can be stored under controlled environmental con-
ditions. Although optimum seed storage conditions dif-
fer with plant species, seeds should be separated from
fleshy pulp as soon as possible after collection. Southern
magnolia, ardisia, podocarpus, sea grape, and carissa
are examples of plants with fleshy fruit. The flesh or
pulp should be removed to aid drying, and because the
pulp may contain chemicals that inhibit germination.
Removal of the pulp by hand is possible for a small
number of fruit, but alternative methods can be used
for greater quantities of fruit. The pulp can be remov-
ed by allowing the fruit to soften in water and then
scraping them over a wire screen. A blender with rub-
ber tubing on the blades can also be used. Another
method of pulp removal involves placing the fruit in a
container with water and a small amount of coarse sand.
Use a wire brush on an electric drill to stir the mixture
and remove the pulp. Spread the clean seeds in thin
layers in the sun or a warm room to dry.
Optimum storage temperature and seed moisture con-
tent vary with species, but generally seeds should be
stored at 400F (50C) and in an environment with 30
to 35 percent relative humidity. Household refrigerators
usually maintain temperatures suitable for seed storage,
but the relative humidity may exceed that optimum for
some seeds. Seeds can be stored in metal cans, plastic
bags, or paper or aluminum foil lined envelopes. A pro-
tective fungicide treatment is advised for seed known
to be susceptible to fungal diseases. Consult your local
extension agent for recommended fungicides.

Seed Germination
Proper moisture, oxygen, temperature, and
sometimes light must be provided for germination.
Although optimum conditions differ with plant species,
general recommendations can be made. Optimum
temperatures for germination of most ornamental plant
seeds are 750F to 800F (240C to 270C). A variation of
90F (50C) between day and night temperatures
stimulates the germination of some species. The lower
temperature should be during the dark period.
The germination medium must hold adequate water
yet drain freely. A mixture of equal volumes of peat
moss and builder's sand is suitable, but other materials
such as shredded sphagnum, vermiculite, and perlite
used alone or in combinations are satisfactory. The par-
ticle size of a germination medium in relation to the seed
size should be considered. A small seed positioned be-
tween large particles may dry rapidly even though the
medium particles are moist, because there is inadequate
surface contact between the seed and the germination
The medium should be sterile to prevent disease.
Damping-off, a common disease of seedlings, is caused
primarily by the fungi Pythium and Rhizoctonia. Sterile
propagation media can be purchased, or a small quan-
tity can be sterilized in an oven (but the odor may be
offensive). Heating a 2-inch (5 cm) layer of moist
medium at 220 F (104 C) for 1 hour will kill pathogenic
fungi. The medium should be moistened before the
seeds are planted, and kept moist, but not too wet, for
optimum germination. A fungicide treatment may be
justified when specific seedlings are known to be
susceptible to soil-borne fungi.
Seed should not be planted deeper than 1 to 2 times
their diameter. Small seed should be scattered over the
germination medium surface or planted thickly in rows.
Medium-sized seeds sown on the surface should be
covered with a thin layer of shredded sphagnum or peat
moss. Larger seeds should be planted at a depth less
than their diameter since a 2-to 3-inch (5.0 to 7.5 cm)
planting depth is maximum for any species. Coconut
palm and cycad seeds are exceptions, and should be
planted just under or level with the medium surface.

Seed Dormancy
Although seeds of many ornamental plants in Florida
are ready to germinate as soon as the fruit matures,
some seeds will not germinate until certain internal con-
ditions are overcome. Such seed dormancy can be caus-
ed by an impermeable or hard seed coat. The seed coat
may inhibit water movement into the seed or physical-
ly restrict embryo expansion. Seeds may also contain
chemicals that inhibit germination. Some chemical in-
hibitors are water soluble and can be leached from the
seeds by soaking them in water. Other inhibitors must
be degraded or modified by exposure to certain en-

vironmental conditions such as cold temperatures.
Seeds can exhibit dormancy due to an immature em-
bryo, in which case proper storage allows further em-
bryo development. Seeds can also be dormant due to
a combination of these factors.
Seed dormancy is nature's way of setting a time clock
that allows seeds to initiate the germination process
when conditions are suitable for germination and seed-
ling growth. For example, Florida dogwood produces
mature seeds in the fall, but conditions during late fall
and winter are not suitable for seedling growth.
Through evolution, the dogwood has developed a
mechanism that keeps the seeds dormant until spring,
when conditions are favorable for germination and
seedling growth. Many Florida plants, especially tropical
species, have no dormancy mechanism because condi-
tions in nature at the time of seed maturation are usually
conducive to germination and seedling growth. Plant
propagators need only to provide a suitable environ-
ment for germination of these seeds as soon as they
Dormancy caused by a hard seed coat can be over-
come by breaking the seed coat. Scarification is the pro-
cess of penetrating or cracking the seed coat barrier.
Although acids and hot water treatments are sometimes
used in commercial nurseries to break or soften the seed
coat, mechanical scarification is most suited for the land-
scape gardener. Small numbers of seeds can be scarified
by rolling them on a cement floor using a brick or board,
by rubbing the seeds with sandpaper, or by cutting the
seed coat with a knife. Mechanical devices may be pur-
chased or constructed to scarify larger numbers of seeds.
The seed coat should be dull in appearance after
scarification, but not deeply pitted, or cracked enough
to expose or injure the embryo. Scarified seeds will not
store as well as nonscarified seeds and should be ger-
minated as soon after treatment as possible.
Seeds of many temperate-zone plants require a cold
period before they will germinate. This requirement is
met by cold stratification storing the seeds in a cold,
moist environment. Seeds are mixed with moist
sphagnum peat or vermiculite after a 12-to 24-hour soak
in water at room temperature. It is also advisable to
spray the seeds with a protective fungicide treatment
before putting them in refrigerated storage. The seeds
should be stored for 2 to 6 months at 370F to 400F (3C
to 50C). Temperatures in household refrigerators are
usually adequate. Suitable containers for stratification
are flats, trays, boxes, or cans that provide aeration,
prevent drying, and allow drainage. Polyethylene bags
no more than 0.004 inch (4 mil) thick may also be us-
ed. Seeds should be planted immediately after removal
from refrigeration.

Seedling Establishment
Seed germination and early seedling development is
best accomplished in a moist environment with

moderate temperatures (75 F to 800F or 24C to 27C).
Although light is not required for germination of many
seeds, high intensity light is necessary to produce
stocky, strong seedlings. Low intensity light will result
in weak and spindly, pale green seedlings.
Seedlings planted close together soon become crowd-
ed, resulting in slow growth and weak, spindly stems.
Crowded seedlings must be transplanted with wider
spacing into flats or individual or multi-celled con-
tainers. Seedlings can be grown in these containers until
they are mature enough to transplant into larger con-
tainers or the landscape.
Tender seedlings transplanted without a transition
period into a hot, dry environment have poor survival
rates. The environment in which seedlings are grown
should be modified gradually until it is similar to the
environment into which they will be transplanted.
Watering frequency should be decreased gradually
followed by a gradual increase in light intensity.
Small Scale Propagation Units
The key to successfully rooting cuttings and ger-
minating seeds is a moist environment maintained at
a favorable temperature. Environmental control is less
important for other propagation methods, such as layer-
ing, because the mother plant provides some degree of
support to the developing new plant. However, most
cuttings and young seedlings are susceptible to en-
vironmental stress and will be successful only if an ap-
propriate environment is provided.
An environment with a relative humidity near 100
percent will minimize water loss from cuttings and
developing seedlings, although water loss is less critical
for seedlings than cuttings. Cuttings cannot take water
from the medium to replace that lost through the leaves,
so if high rates of water loss occur, cuttings will dry-
out. Temperature influences the physiological activity
of plants. Excessively high or low temperatures injure
plants or slow their growth and development, but
temperatures in the range of 700F to 800F (210C to
27C) stimulate optimum growth and development for
most plants.
The home gardener can provide a warm, humid en-
vironment for seed germination and rooting of cuttings
by constructing or purchasing small-scale propagation
units. These units are inexpensive, require little atten-
tion, and are convenient to use in the home landscape
or indoors.
A propagation unit can be made from a terrarium or
aquarium (Figure 7). These structures are usually con-
structed of glass or Plexiglass, but a suitable structure
could be constructed of wood and glass or plastic. Ap-
proximately 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of propagation
medium can be placed in the bottom of the tank, and
cuttings stuck or seed sown directly in the medium.
Alternatively, 2 inches (5 cm) of gravel can be put in
the bottom of the tank, and containers with propaga-

tion medium placed on the gravel. A glass or plastic
cover should be put on the container after adequate
moisture has been added.

Fig. 7. Aquarium used as propagation unit.

Large plastic pots and a plastic bag can be used to
create a suitable propagation environment (Figure 8).
Stick the cutting in a moist propagation medium in the
container and add moisture as required. Place the whole
container in a large, clear plastic bag. Wire hoops or
stakes can be used to prevent the plastic bag from lay-
ing on the cuttings or seedlings.
A plastic bag alone can serve as a propagation en-
vironment (Figure 9). Simply place some moist propaga-
tion medium in the bottom of the bag, insert the cut-
tings, and tie the top of the bag closed.
The placement of these simple structures is critical.
Put the structures in diffused light and never in full sun.
The temperature in these sealed units will rapidly
become too high in full sun, and cutting or seedling in-
jury or death will result. Units kept indoors should be
placed near a north window or under fluorescent lights
for 12 to 16 hours per day. Temperatures of 650F to
800F (180C to 270C) should be maintained. Although
these units are designed to prevent moisture loss,
routine examination of the moisture level is suggested.
Add moisture if no water has condensed on the inside
of these units overnight, or if the propagation medium
appears dry.

Fig. 8. Large pot in plastic bag for propagation.
Fig. 9. Plastic bag alone as propagation environment.

Table 1. Propagation Methods for Landscape Plants

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings
Abelia .- ,,'nii ,,:, tip *semi-hardwood, tip,
Glossy Abelia early summer
Acer rubrum *collect seed when mature softwood, tip, early
Red Maple in late spring; sow seed in spring
outdoor protected ground
bed or greenhouse flats in
Agave spp. clump, aerial
Allamanda cathartica clump. *softwood, spring
Yellow Allamanda

*Most common means of propagation

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings
Araucaria heterophylla *rapid growth from seed; terminal tip only
Norfolk Island Pine no pretreatment required;
greater internode length
than from cuttings
Ardisia spp. *collect, clean and sow in softwood, warm season
late winter or early spring
Asparagus densiflorus sow when mature *clump
Asparagus Fern
Aspidistra elatior, clump
Cast Iron Plant
Aucuba japonica sow when ripe *semi-hardwood, early
Japanese Aucuba summer
Bauhinia spp. sow when ripe air suckers *softwood, tip, summer
Orchid Tree
Berberis julianae semi-hardwood, summer
Wintergreen barberry
Bougainvillea spp. tip, *semi-hardwood or hard-
serpentine wood, tip or stem
Bursera simaruba sow when mature *hardwood; large trunks
Gumbo-Limbo or branches root readily
Butia capitata collect seed when mature
Pindo Palm before they fall; remove
pulp; germinate immediate-
ly at 800F to 900F for best
Buxus spp. semi-hardwood, tip,
Boxwood early summer
Calliandra when available germinate *air, mound
haematocephala readily
Callistemon spp. collect seed when mature; *semi-hardwood, tip,
Bottlebrush pretreat at 400F for 2 early summer; hardwood
months; much seedling in fall or winter
Camellia spp. scarification of seed coat air *semi-hardwood, tip,
necessary early summer grafting
and budding
Carissa grandiflora clean and sow when ripe; *semi-hardwood, tip,
Natal Plum slow germination early summer
Carpinus spp. collect seed while wings are
Hornbean still pliable; do not allow to
dry; sow outdoors in
autumn or stratify and
sow in spring.
Cattleya spp. aseptic conditions required *rhizome
Orchid for germination
Chaenomeles speciosa mound *softwood, tip, early
Flowering Quince summer; hardwood
while dormant

Chionanthus virginicus cold-warm-cold stratifica- *air graftage on ash seedlings
Fringe Tree tion; over 2 years to
Chrysobalanus icaco sow when mature; do not *semi-hard wood
Cocoplum allow to dry out
*Most common means of propagation

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings
Coccoloba uvifera, collect and clean seed when *softwood, tip, summer
Sea Grape ripe; germinate im-
mediately at 750F to 850F
Codiaeum variegatum germinate easily when air, mound *softwood, tip, or
Croton fresh; much variability leaf-bud
Cornus florida *collect when soften- semi-hardwood, tip,
Flowering Dogwood ing; stratify 60 to 90 spring
days at 400F; ger-
minate at 700F to 850F in
90 to 100 days
Cortaderia selloana sow when ripe *clump
Pampas Grass
Cycas spp. *remove fleshy coat clump,
Cycads when ripe; high C. revoluta
humidity germination
Datura spp. sow when ripe *softwood
Dracaena spp. air *softwood or semi-
Dracaena hardwood, tip or stem
Duranta repens sow in spring *softwood
Golden Dewdrop
Elaeagnus pungens remove fruit; stratify *softwood, tip,
Silverthorn at 400F in sand for 90 early summer
days; long storage life
Epipremnum tip, *leaf-bud or stem,
aureum serpentine anytime
Erythrina spp. sow when ripe; soak *softwood, tip,
Coral-bean in warm water summer
Eugenia spp. *sow when ripe softwood, tip, summer
Euonymus spp. softwood or semi-
hardwood, tip, spring
Fatsia japonica germinate at 700F to 751F *softwood
Feijoa sellowiana collect fruit when they
Pineapple guava soften; remove fleshy pulp;
germination in 2 or 3
Ficus spp. air *semi-hardwood, tip or
stem, summer
Ficus pumila air, trench *semi-hardwood
Creeping Fig
Gardenia jasminoides *semi-hardwood, tip, ear-
ly summer; grafting
Gelsemium tip clump *hardwood, fall
Carolina Jasmine
Gordonia lasianthus stratification required air *softwood, early spring
Loblolly Bay
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis air *semi-hardwood, tip;
grafting & budding
Hemerocallis spp. sow when ripe *clump
*Most common means of propagation

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings
Ilex spp. broadcast or sow in fall or air air *semi-hardwood, tip,
Holly spring; cover seed with early summer
1/8" to 1/2" of soil and
mulch fall-sown beds; com-
plete germination will not
occur until the 2nd or 3rd
Illicium spp. tip *softwood, tip or 2" stem,
Anise early summer
Ixora coccinea softwood or
Jacaranda mimosifolia seed capsule black when
mature; remove seed from
capsule and germinate
Jasminum spp. tip, *softwood, early summer
Jasmine serpentine
Jatropha integerrima collect before they are *softwood or
Peregrina ejected from the capsule semi-hardwood
and sow immediately
Juniperus spp. germinate readily when *semi-hardwood, hard-
Juniper available wood, tip, late fall; some
are difficult
Koelreuteria spp. can be stored in air tight
Goldenrain Tree container at 400F, scarifica-
tion required; sow in fall
Lagerstroemia spp. sow when ripe; germination root suckers *semi-hardwood, non-
Crape Myrtle in 10 to 14 days flowering tip, early sum-
mer; hardwood in
winter; root

Ligustrum spp. tip, trench *semi-hardwood, tip,
Privet early summer
Liriope muscari collected in fall; remove *clump
Lilyturf pulp with food blender 3/4
full water; use rubber
covered blades; germinate
immediately at 700F
Magnolia -,o.i, Ii.i, ,i *collect when cones turn air, tip semi-hardwood, tip,
Southern Magnolia brown in fall; remove red summer
fleshy part; stratify for 120
to 150 days at 50F
Magnolia soulangiana *do not allow seed to dry; mound softwood
Japanese Magnolia stratify for 120 to 150 days
at 400F
Mahonia bealei *do not let dry-out; clean semi-hardwood, tip,
Leatherleaf Mahonia and sow when ripe early summer
Murraya paniculata, *clean and sow when ripe semi-hardwood, tip,
Orange Jasmine spring
Myrica cerifera *sow in beds in fall or semi-hardwood, tip,
Wax Myrtle spring; cover with 1/4" of early summer
soil; mulch with straw or
leaves for fall-sown beds;
seed must be sown late in
fall to avoid germination &
seedling mortality during
winter; for spring sowing,
seed should first be
stratified at 340F to 400F
for 90 days

*Most common means of propagation

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings

Nandina domestic *collected when mature in off-shoots,
Heavenly Bamboo fall; store dry at 400F; clump
germinate in fall or winter
at 750F to 80F
Nerium oleander tip, air *semi-hardwood, tip,
Oleander early summer
Ophiopogon japonicus clean and stratify for 4 to 6 *clump
Mondograss months at 400F

Pandanus spp. air *clump, semi-hardwood
Screw Pine off-shoots

Phanerophlebium spores *clump
Holly Fern

Phoenix spp. same as Pindo Palm
Date Palm

Photinia X fraseri softwood, tip, early
Redtip summer
Plumbago auriculata sow when ripe clump *softwood, tip, in spring;
semi-hard, tip, in late
Pittosporum tobira tip, trench *semi-hardwood, tip,
Plumeria rubra hardwood allowed to
Frangipani dry 2 to 4 days before
Podocarpus sipp. sow when ripe *semi-hardwood, tip,
early summer
Pyracantha spp. tip *softwood, summer
Pyrostegia venusta softwood, warm season
Flame Vine
Quercus spp. do not let dry out; sow in
Oaks ground beds in fall & pro-
tect from rodents & squir-
rels or stratify at 400F for
3 months
Rhapis excelsa clump,
Lady Palm off-shoots
Rhododendron spp. sow as soon as ripe; dry tip, air *semi-hardwood,
Azalea storage in airtight container early summer
at 400F tolerated for 1
year; difficult due to small
seed size
Rosa spp. tip *softwood; hardwood in
Roses winter; grafting and
Russelia spp. sow when ripe trench *softwood
Sabal palmetto same as Pindo Palm
Cabbage Palm
Sansevieria spp. clump *leaf, anytime; variega-
tion may not come true
from cuttings.
*Most common means of propagation

Common Name Seed Layering Division Cuttings

Spiraea spp. sow in fall; no stratification tip, mound clump *softwood, early summer;
required; can germinate at serpentine hardwood, winter
low temp. (320F to 360F)
when stored for more than
120 days
Swietenia spp. collect before pods open;
Mahogany fast growing from seed
Taxus floridana may require warm then *hardwood, late fall
Florida Yew cold stratification or winter
Tecomaria capensis sow when *softwood or
Cape Honeysuckle ripe semi-hardwood
Tibouchina mound *softwood
Princess Flower
Trachelospermum spp. tip, *clump softwood, early summer
Confederate Jasmine serpentine
Viburnum spp. trench *tip, early summer
Washingtonia filifera same as Pindo Palm
Washingtonia Palm
Wedelia trilobata softwood, tip,
warm season

Wisteria sinensis sow when ripe tip, trench, *softwood, early summer
Wisteria serpentine
Yucca spp. sow when ripe *clump, root, fall and winter

Zamia floridana *collect when ripe after cone clump
Florida Coontie falls apart; remove fleshy
coat; scarify; high humidity
*Most common means of propagation

Trade names are mentioned with the understanding that no discrimination is intended nor endorsement implied by the
Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

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