How to Plant From Cuttings & From Seed

Overview

Plants reproduce themselves in a number of different ways. Seeds are the most common. Some plants, such as bamboo and grass, send out underground runners. The runners root and produce new plants. Others, like daffodils, flower and set seed but also produce baby bulbs. Potatoes and begonias have tubers, swollen stems underground that contain all the genetic information necessary for plant reproduction. Take advantage of a plant's natural method of reproduction to plant from cuttings or seeds. Not all plants work with all methods.

Root Cuttings

Step 1

Dig up a portion of the plant's roots. Cut off a healthy section of the root.

Step 2

Cut the roots into segments about 2 to 6 inches long. The cut nearest the crown or top of the plant should be marked and the cut towards the ground should be marked as well.

Step 3

Lay the root segments in bundles horizontally and store them in damp peat moss or sawdust at a temperature of about 40 degrees

Step 4

Remove and plant roots 3 inches underground with the cut that was nearest to the crown of the plant before the roots were cut off pointing upwards. The cut that was farther away from the crown should point down. Blackberries, roses and phlox will grow from root cuttings.

Leaf Cuttings

Step 1

Snip a leaf from the plant with about an inch of stem.

Step 2

Bury the stem in moist potting soil. The stem or the leaf won't grow, but a new baby plant will start from the end of the stem.

Step 3

Transplant to a bigger pot when the new plant has four to five leaves. African violets, hoya and peperomia will root from leaf cuttings.

Water

Step 1

Cut a 6-inch stem from the growing tip of a plant right below a set of leaves. Strip leaves off the bottom 3 inches of the stem. There must be at least two full leaves remaining, four is better.

Step 2

Place the stem in water in a sunny window. New roots should form. Coleus, geraniums and ivy root in water.

Step 3

Transplant the plant to a pot or the garden when the bottom of the glass is full of roots. Water every day right after transplanting, then taper off.

Seeds

Step 1

Remove seeds from flowers. Let them dry.

Step 2

Plant seeds in rich, moist soil. Cover tiny seeds, like poppies, with just a dusting of soil. Cover medium-size seeds, such as zinnias and marigolds, with 1/4 inch of soil. Cover large seeds, like peas, beans and sunflowers, with an inch of soil.

Step 3

Keep the seeds moist but not soggy.

Step 4

Speed germination by covering the pots with plastic wrap to trap the moisture and heat from the sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Root cuttings
  • Leaf cuttings
  • Stem cuttings
  • Peat moss
  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Glass
  • Water

References

  • North Carolina University: Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings
  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden"; Courtier et al; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Rainy Side: Cuttings
Keywords: propagate plants from root cuttings, start plants from cuttings, new plants from seeds

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.