MadSci Network: Botany

Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of artificial propagatation?

Date: Fri Mar 17 07:29:58 2000
Posted By: Gary Bachman, Assistant Professor Ornamental Horticulture, Tennessee Technological University
Area of science: Botany
ID: 951307178.Bt


When a portion of a plant is removed and placed into certain favorable 
conditions roots will form.  The plant parts that may be used include 
stems, roots or leaves depending on the species.  The resulting new plant 
will be identical to the original plant.  This is important when a 
grower wants to reproduce a desirable characteristic(s) of another 
plant.  Cutting propagation does not change any of the genetic code, it 
procduces plants with identical genetic characteristics.  

Propagtion using cuttings is probably the most important method of 
producing new plants in ornamental horticulture.  Deciduous as well as 
evergreen species are propagated in this manner.  

There are numerous advantages to propagating plants using cuttings.  Many 
new plants may reproduced in a limited space from only a few stock plants. 
Cutting propagation is inexpensive and does not require extensive 
equipment.  Greater uniformity is obtained with the individual plants.  
Often producing plants from seed there is much variation in individual 
seedling growth.  the parent plant is usually reproduced exactly.  

Tissue culture is a high tech form of cutting propagation.  It is expensive to 
establish and there are rigorous protocols that must be followed.   
However, once established reproducing plants using tissue culture is a very 
effective method of plant propagation.  

David Hershey, Mad Science Administrator adds:

Grafting is another method of artificial propagation that can combine two 
different plants into a single plant. In grafting, a bud or shoot (the scion) 
is attached to a root bearing stem (the stock or rootstock). For example, 
dwarfing rootstocks are used to make dwarf fruit trees that bear normal size 
fruit. Disease resistant rootstocks are also often used.

A big advantage of tissue culture propagation is that viral diseases can be 
eliminated with proper procedures.


Hartmann, H.T., Kester, D.E. and Davies, F.T. 1996. Plant Propagation: 
Principles and Practices. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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