Years ago I received some cuttings of an antique rose, Old Blush, from a dear friend in Huntington. I was able to propagate those cuttings and grew some wonderful roses. They were a part of our family’s landscape and bloomed 11 months out of the year.
Whether by seeds, rooted cuttings, or divided bulbs, home gardeners have been multiplying and passing down wonderful plants for generations. With the abundance of retail nurseries, the skills required to propagate plants not commonly found in the retail nursery trade have been lost by many.
This Saturday, April 16, the Angelina County Master Gardeners (a volunteer group of the Extension Office) will be holding a plant propagation seminar. Costing $10 per person, those attending will learn how the finer points of propagating plants from seed, cuttings, and from bulbs. The class will be a hands on experience and participants should expect to go home with a flower pot full of new plants to grow out on their own.
While any vegetable seed packet will tell you how deep and at what time of year to plant, some of the ornamentals can be a little tricky to grow from seed. Two factors that can apply are stratification and scarification. Some seeds germinate more successfully once they have been exposed to some cold weather. This cooling period is stratification.
Scarification is the literally a scarring of the seed. Hard seed coats may prevent a seed from germinating in the time frame that you are planning. To overcome this, gardeners many need to scuff the exterior to encourage it to germinate on the time frame you are wanting.
My Old Blush roses were grown from cuttings. Cuttings are typically a portion of a stem, not more than a year old, about the size of a pencil, rooted in a medium that encourages roots to sprout and leaves to grow. Getting this done is certainly harder than planting seeds, but is very necessary to do if one wants to get the exact same genetics as the parent plant.
Remember that a seed from a certain plant has half its genetics from the plant it is taken from and the other half from where ever the pollen came from. Too many times someone will plant a seed from a perfect fruit that looked and tasted great. That seed within it represents genetics from the tree that bore the fruit as well as the genetics from whichever tree the honeybee brought pollen from.
To really replicate that fruit, you need to root a cutting from the tree and then you can grow more of the same fruit.
Lastly the class will talk about dividing bulbs. Some tuberous plants can be propagated by simply taking the extra bulbs from underground and moving them to different locations. But there exists other methods by which one bulb can be cut into multiple pieces and each piece develops into a new plant.
While other methods to also exist, such as tissue culture and layering to name a few, the upcoming talks will focus on the above three methods: seeds, cuttings, and bulb division.
Class size is limited to 10 each and will be held on Sat, April at 9 am, and Tuesdays April 19 & 26 at 6 pm. All classes will be taught in the greenhouse in the Farmers Market. You must reserve a spot by calling the Angelina County Extension office.
Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.