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Plant Propagation

As Old As Civilization
Plant propagation
Plant propagation is the purposeful
act of reproducing plants.
Today, propagation may be carried
out by an array of general and
specialized industries that produce
plants to feed the world, to provide
fiber, building materials,
pharmaceuticals and to enhance the
world’s beauty
The plant propagator
This key person who possess
the skill, and knowledge
(science) to perform or
supervise the essential
propagation task for specific
This person, has a love of
plants, a heightened skill level
that is more of an art form.
The plant propagator
The more experience he or she has the
better the chances of success
The more experience the more science
becomes Art
Knowledge about the plant
Science about how the plant grows, its
development, and its morphology
Student plant propagators
Propagation in the past
Primitive man moved and
migrated to wherever he could
find and harvest food, often
traveling great distances to
achieve this.
Man observed, learned, and
adapted from nature and
eventually found ways to
collect plants, plant seeds and
thus the start of cultivation
•The cultivation and propagation
of plants began when human
tribes abandoned their nomadic,
hunter gather way of life to live
in settled communities. This
occurred just after the last ice
age and marked the beginning of
modern civilization. Often
referred to as the “Agriculture

Is the deliberate cultivation of

crops for use by humans.
This occurred in about 9000
B.C. in the middle east. A wild
goat grass crossed with a wild
wheat to form a rare fertile
hybrid with a large ear. The
hybrid was called emmer. Ancient
Greeks and Romans cultivated it
because of increased yield. A
second genetic accident
occurred resulting in emmer with
an other goat grass, This new
hybrid was called Bread Wheat.
Wild Emmer

Bread Wheat
(Triticum aestivum)
Ancient farming scenes
At about the same time the
cultivation of squash occurred in
Mesoamerica. Africa and Asia had
there own agricultural revolutions
during this period also.
Ancient Greeks and Romans
grew a wide range of food. The
poet Virgil recorded current
methods of propagation in some
detail. Olives, Date Palm, and
Cypress were grown from seed.
As well as other food plants such
as Cabbage, Turnips, Lettuce, and
assorted Herbs. To speed up
germination Ancient Greeks
soaked seeds in milk or honey.
The cultivation of food crops
became a commodity to trade and
barter with.

Native Americans propagated

Maize, Beans, Squash by seed.
Vegetativly propagated Potato,
Cassava and Pineapple.
Origins of vegetative
Vegetative propagation began when
rooted shoots or suckers were
detached and replanted.
By 2000 B.C. grafting was fairly
common in Greece, Middle East,
Egypt and China.
The Romans were among the first to
practice detached Scion-grafting.
Air Layering probably
began to be used
4000 years ago in
China, it is often
referred to as
Chinese Layering.
The golden age of botany
An explosion of plant-hunting took
place in The Western World during
the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Wealth and trade between
countries made much of the new
introductions possible. Branching
into ornamental plants not just
food providing plants.
Botanical garden
Formal garden
Gardens around the world
A new era of both inventiveness
and designing occurred during this
period. Methods of controlling light,
temperature, and humidity became
more complex. The role of the
propagator became more
important and prominent guarding
their knowledge jealously to secure
their reputations and future
employment. Creating a certain
Modern propagation
The 1950’s brought new
propagation techniques such as
intermittent mist propagation
systems, for rooting stem cuttings.
Plastic film was another
introduction, to better control the
In the 1960’s Micro-
propagation techniques were
developed creating huge
amounts of plants from small
amounts of material.
The future of propagation

New scientific discoveries

continue to affect plant
Innovations such as genetic
engineering, artificial seeds, and
Noted plant collectors and

Columbus 1492 Refers to the

“love Apple”
Sir Joseph Banks late 1700’s
collections for The Royal
Botanic Gardens Kew Gardens.
Sir Joseph Banks
Responsible for
collections and
observations in
South America,
Tahiti, New Zealand,
and Australia.
George Washington at Mount
Thomas Jefferson At Monticello
both introduced many plants at
their Estates
Plant hunters
Frank Meyer, Alfred Byrd Graf,
E.H. Wilson, all noted Plant
Hunters and naturalist in Asia,
Africa, and South America.
Morril Act 1862 established the
land-grant colleges and fostered
the scientific investigation of
agriculture and mechanical arts
(engineering). Departments of
agronomy, horticulture,and
related fields were established.
These colleges became centers of
scientific investigation, teaching
and extension.
One example of the “Morrill
Liberty Hyde Bailey
1900’s work at
Cornell University
resulted in the
publishing of “the
nursery book”
Horticulture as an industry

Early 1900’s larger commercial

nurseries and catalog
companies boomed. Burpee
seed, Park seed, Stark
Seed companies
Post World War II, money is
spent on the amenities of life,
food, clothes, are becoming
more of a commodity, shelter
has become more economical.
Beautifying America began in
the 1960’s Lady Bird Johnson
was instrumental in this
Lady Bird Johnson
1970’s larger nurseries and
seed companies are established.
The nations Sunbelt becomes
the place to grow plants more
1980’s many Growers begin to
consolidate, fewer and fewer
producers and plant breeders
1990’s till today bring many
concerns over the
environment, consumers are
more ecology and conservation
Concerns over edible fruits and
vegetables which are genetically
Organic fertilizers and chemicals
dominate nursery shelves,
Organic fruits and vegetables
are common place in markets.
Creation of indoor garden
Propagation as an industry

Amateurs and Hobbyist have driven

the industry since the beginning
Non Profit Organizations such as
Arboreta, Botanical Gardens
Research and Teaching Institutions
Propagation as an industry

Germ-Plasm Repositories
Commercial wholesale nurseries
Propagation as an industry

Tissue Culture Laboratories

Seed Producers
Plant Producers, vegetables and
Propagation as an industry

Foliage producers, Tissue

Forest plants, Reforestation,
Christmas Trees
The development of
John Chapman
“Johnny appleseed”
a practical
nurseryman who
helped the settlers
on their move
westward during the
early 1800s.
Nurseries existed in France in
the sixteenth and seventeenth
Belgium, had a gardener’s
guild as early as 1366.
The Vilmorin family
established a seed house and
nursery in 1815
The Veith family established a
major nursery in England in
The first United States nursery
is credited to William Prince and
son in 1730 on Long Island.
In the summer of 1847
Henderson Lewelling
established the first traveling
nursery of grafted nursery
stock grown in a mixture of
soil and charcoal and used
boxes as containers. The stock
was pulled by oxen cross the
plains from Salem, Iowa to
Portland Oregon.
Henderson Lewelling
Established the first
cultivated, or grafted fruit
trees in the pacific
northwest, After an
argues trip across the
Great plains and Rocky
mountains finally reaching
the Willamette Valley
Mr. Claude Hope
Kindly referred to as
“El Capitan” was
through his efforts
and hard work that
the impatien has
become the number
one annual