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Vegetative Propagation Project

By Nancy Iversen


Vegetative propagation is the term given to any asexual means of starting new plants.

All members of the plant kingdom have some means of reproduction. In the mosses and the ferns, the sexual structures are called antheridia and archegonia. The antheridium produces sperm and the marchegonium produces one or more eggs. These plants also have a spore-producing asexual phase.

In the higher plants, the monocots and the dicots, flowers contain the sexual structures. The sperm are borne in pollen grains produced in the stamen of the flowers, and the eggs are held in ovules within the pistils. Some higher plants also have common means of asexual reproduction which do not involve floral parts. Strawberries, for example, send out runners, while many trees send up new shoots from their roots. Black cherry and quaking aspen both send up shoots.

Many plants that do not commonly reproduce asexually, can be induced to do so. For example, stem cuttings of geraniums or jade plants will often root in water, and can then be planted in potting soil.

Whenever plants reproduce asexually by any means, either natural or induced, the tern vegetative propagation applies. It simply means that vegetative tissues (non-reproductive tissues) are used to produce new plants.


  • to successfully start a new plant by any means of vegetative
  • to select a propagation method which is appropriate for the plant
    to be propagated.
  • to keep a laboratory journal of the treatment and progress of new


  1. Select a healthy plant to be propagated. The plant may be a house plant, a landscape plant or a plant in the wild.

  2. Do some reading about your plant. You may find research materials at home (especially if someone in your family works with house plants or is an avid gardener), on the classroom bookshelves, or in any of
    the school or local libraries. Find out which method of vegetative
    propagation is suitable for your plant. Keep any xerox copies or
    handwritten notes for your journal.

  3. Once you have selected a plant and a method of propagation, start a laboratory journal in which you keep records concerning the method of propagation, the treatment, and the success (or failure) of your plant. You will want to keep records on the exact procedure of your propagation, the amount of water you give the plant, the date
    and numbers of roots that appear, when you planted it in soil, what
    sort of soil and pot you used, sketches you've drawn every so often--the works! This page should be the first page of the journal.

You may bring your plant to the classroom or lab, but you must care for it. Be sure to put your name on the container. If you elect to keep it at home, it is your job to care for it, not your mom's. Once the new plant is potted in soil, you must bring it to school so I can see it. Be sure to put your name on the container.


Your journal will serve as your observations. It should have this sheet and any Xerox copies or handwritten notes you took when researching your plant.


At the end of your journal, write a few paragraphs about your experience with vegetative propagation, and about the particular kind of plant you selected. Were you successful? Why or why not? Are there other methods of propagation that might have worked for this plant? Which ones? Do you think they might have been more successful? Why or why not? How does your plant normally reproduce?

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