Plants Grown from Cuttings

When I was younger, I enjoyed working in the garden with my mother. Plants have been a part of my life since I was born. My mother has a huge garden, so I have spent many hours observing the way she plants and watching things grow. This interest and background has caused me to ask the question of how plants grow and how they are propagated. There are different ways in which plants can grow and be propagated but in this experiment, I will deal with how plants grow from cuttings and the hormones that are involved in doing so. After reading the background information, I have decided that plants grown from cuttings will grow into a mature, healthy plant faster and easier than any other method of propagation.
Why propagate? Propagation is a good idea for many reasons. First, let us look at cost. Plants are becoming more and more expensive, therefore it is a good idea to raise your own plants whenever it is possible. It costs a lot of money to grow plants on a nursery, therefore if this task can be done at home, it will prove to be economical to the consumer. " With a knowledge of propagation, it is quite possible to produce batches of young plants very cheaply"( Toogood 8). Most existing plants in the garden can be multiplied by taking cuttings. This proves to be a very economical method due to the fact that the cutting's catalysts are already existing. Home propagation really comes into its own when a good quantity of expensive plants is wanted. Propagation by means of cuttings is the quickest method and will end with the best and quickest results.
The propagation from cuttings has advantages as well as disadvantages. "Propagation from cuttings is a vegetative method and therefore each plant produced is genetically identical to the parent plant." The disadvantages that occur are that cuttings should be made right after the material is collected and that not all species of plants can be made into cuttings.
The vegetative propagation of plants is very important due to the fact that it is a form of asexual propagation and it differs from reproduction by seeds. " Pieces of stem, roots, leaves, growth buds and portions of entire plants can all be used in order to produce new plants"( Toogood 52). Out of all methods or vegetative propagation, the rooting of stem cuttings is probably the most popular because it involves inducing a piece of a stem or a shoot to form roots of its own in suitable conditions, so that eventually this shoot becomes a new plant that is identical to the parent plant( Toogood 52). This method is so popular because so many species can be grown from cuttings and also because the cuttings will grow into the exact same plant as the parent plant.
In preparing cuttings to be grown, one must observe and understand the steps that are involved. First, one must collect eight to twelve cm long shoots, preferably in the mourning or the evening. The plant should be semi-mature, therefore, the best time to take cuttings is late spring or early summer. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stalk and recut the base just below a node which is the spot where a leaf grows out of. Treat the base of a cutting with a preparation of rooting hormone. The stems are cut at an angle so that there is more surface of the stem for the cutting to absorb the water. The cuttings are then dipped into a plant hormone with fungicide called Rootone 10. This "stimulates the natural tendency of the roots to form on slips or cuttings so that the rooting takes place in a much shorter time, a larger percent are rooted, and there is an earlier development of more plants per cuttings"(Rootone 10). This stimulation created by the plant hormone allows a plant from a cutting to grow faster than any other method of propagation. After the hormone is placed on the base of the cutting, carefully place the cutting in a hole and gently firm the cutting medium around it. Insert the cuttings about 1.5 to 2 cm intervals.
There are many different types of cuttings. First, are Basal cuttings. Basal cuttings are taken from plants that provide new growth from their roots and tuberous shoots that produce new growth from old tubers. Next are semi-hard cuttings which are taken from the current year's growth, just as the stems are about to harden but the tips are still soft. These cuttings can be found at the top or side growths of the main shoot. A large number of evergreen and deciduous trees are propagated this way. Heel and Nodal cuttings can both be taken from the joint of a stem. A Heel cutting involves pealing the shoot away from the joint, and a Nodal cutting involves cutting the shoot away from the joint (Downham 40-41). Even though many different cuttings exist, they all need the same conditions in order to grow.
The conditions for cutting are specific and must be followed in order to allow the cuttings to grow to their full potential. First, the cuttings must be placed into a cold frame or cold greenhouse. Create a humid atmosphere for the first few days by keeping the enclosure shut. However, ventilate when the temperature rises above 65 degrees F. The cuttings must be checked regularly for pests and diseases. The yellowing leaves must also be picked off when they occur. The cuttings can stay in the original container until the next spring when they should be large enough to move into a bigger environment( Downham 41).
Many problems can occur which can hinder the growth of cuttings. There are viruses that exist that cause the plants to become stunted of malformed. They may " produce leaves which will curl, become crinkled or as not as wide as they should be, or they may be spotted or mottled with yellow( Downham 58). These viruses are transmitted through sap or insects which suck the sap of an infected plant and move it onto a healthy one. When cuttings are taken, if the original plant carries the virus then the new cuttings will as well. Many insects such as Woodlice and Aphids exist that can spread viruses and diseases from plant to plant. The insects can be exterminated by fumigating; however, action must be taken fast before the insects reproduce. Woodlice do not transmit the diseases but they cause physical damage on the cuttings by nibbling the leaves and attacking the roots.
The after care of cuttings is very important in the survival of the newly propagated plants. Cuttings should be left in the original environment that they were planted in for at least a year. After this time period, the cuttings can " be lifted and planted elsewhere"( Toogood 71). As long as the roots of the cuttings have matured for the remainder of the season that they were planted in then the cuttings should be able to survive without any harm to the plant.
Propagation from cuttings would not be possible without the plant hormone. Therefore the hormone proves to be the backbone of the process. Rootone 10, a plant hormone, allows one to " grow new plants easier and quicker than from seed. Professional horticulturists use Rootone brand rooting hormone to help plant cuttings take root faster"( Rootone 10). The plant hormone " stimulates the natural tendency of roots to form on slips and cuttings so that rooting takes place in a much shorter time, a larger percentage are rooted, and there is an earlier development of more roots per cutting"( Rootone 10). The hormone also contains a fungicide to help protect against insect problems.
Throughout this experimentation, I will observe the effect that the hormones have on the cuttings. I will observe the growth rate of cuttings with hormone and cuttings without hormone and decide if the rooting hormone is an important aspect of the propagation of plants grown from cuttings.