Q. My aunt has several beautiful flowers and I would love to know how to grow my own from her plants. What do I need to do? — Donna W., Atascadero
A. That’s an excellent question and perfect timing for this Saturday’s Master Gardener Plant Propagation Workshop. To propagate means to increase in number or amount. Sowing seeds is the most fundamental form of propagation. You can collect seeds from your favorite flower or buy winter vegetable seeds from the local garden store.
Sometimes it is best to take cuttings from a plant, rather than gathering seeds. The plants produced from cuttings are clones of the parent plant and will have the same foliage, flowers and root system — provided the parent plant was not grafted. However, not all plants will propagate from cuttings successfully. This Satur day’s workshop will discuss the best candidates for seeding and for cuttings.
Layering is another method of propagation in which stems that are still attached to the parent plant form roots where they come in contact with rooting medium. Later, the rooted or layered stem is severed to form a new plant that grows separately from the parent with its newly formed root system. This method has a high success rate because the stem is still attached to the parent plant and receives a continuous supply of water, minerals, and carbohydrates. If your aunt’s flowers are from a succulent, those are best propagated by cuttings or leaves from the parent plant.
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Whether it is by sowing seeds, layering or cuttings, each plant has a preferred method of propagation. Using the right method for each plant will reward you with a garden of successfully propagated plantings.
The Plant Propagation Workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Garden of the Seven Sisters in San Luis Obispo. In the event of inclement weather, the workshop will be held in the auditorium, and seating will be limited to the first 69 attendees. NOTE: Friday is the last day to submit your applications to become a UCCE Master Gardener. Download the application at http://ucanr.edu/sites /mgslo/Master_Gardener_Training_Program/