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Advantages of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

By Kathy Fatheree
Stem cutting producing roots in water.
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Nature has provided a short-cut method for reproducing plants called asexual reproduction, also referred to as vegetative reproduction. Rather than depending on seeds to create new plants (sexual reproduction), a variety of plants willingly duplicate themselves by producing plantlets, offshoots, runners, roots that sprout new plants and stems that grow roots. Hobbyists as well as the serious growers enjoy propagating plants through asexual reproduction.

Grow New Plants Quickly

Succulents started from leaf pulls.
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Completely bypass seed germination and obtain a mature plant quicker by using asexual reproduction methods such as air layering, layering runners, root division, taking offsets, leaf cuttings, stem cutting and rooting plantlets. Growing plants from seed takes time and dedication and can have a low success rate. Successful seed germination requires proper light, temperature and moisture levels. Some seeds germinate in a matter of weeks; however, some seeds can take up to one year to spout. Commercial growers can increase their profits by using asexual reproduction because of the shorter time required to develop a mature plant. Hobbyists enjoy sharing cuttings with friends and a new plant can often mature within one growing season.

Propagate From Existing Plants

Instead of buying new plants, read about the propagation techniques for your favorite plants to determine if they can duplicate themselves by any of the asexual reproduction techniques. Ask friends and garden clubs to share plants and you may never need to buy a mature plant again. To obtain more costly and exotic plants at a fraction of the cost of buying a mature plant, purchase cuttings and offshoots from professional growers.

Duplicate Desirable Features of Parent Plant

Plants reproduced by asexual reproduction maintain characteristics of the parent plant such as flower color and density, leaf color, height and other genetically coded traits. Greenhouses can quickly increase their inventory with predictable results by using methods such as taking stem cuttings involving a node where roots will develop, rooting plantlets formed by the parent plant and dividing roots of a mature plant into multiple new smaller plants.

Grow Strong Plants

Plants grown through asexual reproduction contain the identical genetic code as their parent plant. Growers often work hard to identify and propagate the strongest plants that display characteristics such as disease resistance, drought resistance and high yields. Growers can remove inferior plants as the number of healthy plants increase. This concept applies for both ornamental plants as well as crop plants grown for human consumption.


About the Author


Kathy Fatheree started writing professionally in 1990. She has written user manuals and help systems for major corporations in the medical and aerospace industries. She holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.