small plantling
Photo: Ken Druse

Green for Your Garden—and Your Wallet!

Don't let the scientific term vegetative propagation scare you—it just means growing new plants from established specimens rather than seed. It can be an easy and economical means of increasing your plant stock. "Propagation is a wonderful way to make more of your favorite varieties to fill in blank spots in your yard or keep a few backups of a prized plant in case your original dies," says horticulturist Marc Hachadourian, who manages the Nolen Greenhouses at The New York Botanical Garden. Many gardeners also enjoy increasing the number of their favorite specimens to share with friends as gifts.

Some of the more advanced techniques, like grafting, take a bit of skill. But there are easier techniques that suit beginners—including rooting stem and leaf cuttings, root division, and ground layering—no greenhouse required. You can propagate most plants on a windowsill that gets only indirect light (harsh sunlight will bake tender cuttings). Follow the advice on the following pages—and be patient. "Sometimes it can take longer than you think to get adequate roots," says Hachadourian. "Plants won't be rushed."
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