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The vegetative propagation of plants is asexual reproduction. This means that no seeds are used for propagation, but parts of the mother plant. The result is genetically identical offspring of the mother plant, which are often referred to as clones.

Vegetative propagation

Types of vegetative propagation

Depending on the plant species, there are different possibilities for this type of reproduction.

  • division
  • head and partial cuttings
  • End and partial sticks
  • leaf cutting
  • Rissling
  • root cutting
  • lowering
  • offshoot
  • foothills
  • daughter onions
  • daughter tubers
  • leaf cuttings
  • child
Tulip Bulbs


A division occurs in clumpy growing plants. They are cut, pricked, or broken apart. It is important that each part has sufficient root and shoot mass. Division is best done during periods of dormancy. Examples of plants in which a division can be performed are as follows.

  • coneflower
  • lady's mantle
  • peony
  • daylily
Tree peonies with white flowers

head and partial cuttings

Head and partial cuttings for propagation are taken during the growing season. With this form of vegetative propagation, strong, young plant parts are cut off. Each head cutting should have at least two knots (nodes) after cutting. It should also have a mature leaf at the top. The bottom node should be about half an inch above the bottom of the cutting.

For reproduction, the head cutting is inserted into a hole that has been punched out in the ground. Insert the cutting so deep into the ground that the node with the leaf protrudes from the ground. Then press the soil sideways and water the cuttings. If it begins to sprout, the cutting is rooted and can be transplanted after a while when it has grown vigorously.

Tip: Cover the cuttings with a translucent evaporation protection to help them get started so that they do not dry out. As soon as the cutting is rooted, the evaporation protection can be gradually removed.

Examples of this are those listed below.

  • Stevia
  • mint
  • rubber tree
  • tomato
Cultivate peppermint in a pot

End and partial sticks

Sticks are annual, woody shoots. The strongest possible shoots are cut during dormancy. Unlike cuttings, they have no foliage. Ideally, sticks are four to eight inches long and cut just below a node.

For the winter they are placed in moist paper or sand. If no more ground frosts are to be expected, the sticks are freshly cut and put into a hole in the ground in the direction of growth. The top node must protrude from the ground. Then the earth is pressed and poured.

Tip: Since end and partial cuttings do not have a leaf, they develop more slowly than cuttings, but do not need protection against evaporation.

leaf cutting

A leaf cutting is when a leaf (or leaves) is stuck into the ground with or without a stem. The new plants then grow at the base of the leaves.


Tearlings are torn from the mother plant. The one-year-old shoots are torn in such a way that a few cells from the old shoot remain. If "bark flags" arise, you can shorten them to about one centimeter. Risslings can be leafy or leafless. It is important that they are immediately planted in the ground.

Tip: Always stick cracklings into a slightly larger hole so that the cells of the old shoot are not stripped off when you insert them.

Examples of this are those listed below.

  • yew trees
  • fuchsias
  • roses
Fuchsia, fuchsia

root cutting

A root cutting is a piece of young, strong root that is cut from the mother plant without a shoot. The root piece should be about ten centimeters long. After cutting, the root cuttings are laid or stuck in loose soil. Then the earth is pressed and poured. If the root cuttings sprout in several places, the offspring can be divided.

Tip: It is best to cut off the root piece during dormancy and let it grow in a warmer place.

Examples of a root cutting are those mentioned below.

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum)
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
Raspberries in the garden


When lowering, a branch close to the ground is bent onto the ground and sunk into the earth. It is important that the tip of the branch protrudes from the ground and that the branch has a dormant eye at the point of sinking. So that the branch stays on the ground, it is fixed to the ground with a stone or a branch fork. Then it is covered with earth and watered. Root formation takes place within one growing season. Once roots have formed, the sinker with roots and shoot tip can be separated from the mother plant and relocated. Examples of reducers are as follows.

  • currants
  • raspberries
Currants in the garden


As with the sinker, a branch close to the ground is anchored to the ground with the branch. Once new, vertical shoots have formed, the branch is covered with soil so that only the young shoots protrude from the earth. Then it is poured on vigorously.

Tip: If you place the branch in a small ditch, the water will not run off as easily when you water it.

By the end of the growing season, the young shoots have formed roots. However, you should only separate them from the mother plant after winter so that they can still be cared for by the mother plant during the cold season. Examples are representatives listed as follows.

  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • currants
Blackberries in the garden


One speaks of a stolon when the plant forms a shoot on which young plants develop. They are initially taken care of by the mother plant, but depending on the plant, they can become self-sufficient over time. If many young plants have formed, you should only use the strongest for propagation. Examples are given below.

  • spider plant
  • bamboo
  • mint
  • yarrow
Yarrow is an aromatic spice plant

daughter onions

Daughter bulbs form at the root base of the mother bulb. These smaller bulbs can be removed. They then form new plants. Examples are as follows.

  • daffodils
  • onions

daughter tubers

As with the daughter onions, smaller tubers form on the mother bulb, which you can use for propagation.

Tip: Pure storage tubers cannot sprout without a piece of a shoot.

Examples are these representatives listed below.

  • potatoes
  • sweet potato
Grow sweet potatoes in your own garden


Kindel are side shoots that form roots without soil contact. They can be taken from the mother plant as they continue to grow as independent plants after being planted in the soil. Examples are those mentioned below.

  • bromeliads
  • Christmas cactus
  • orchids
Phalaenopsis Orchid

advantages and disadvantages

Vegetative propagation is a method of reproduction that can be used on many plants and has far more advantages than disadvantages. As a rule, the growth of the offspring is significantly shorter than when propagating with seeds. Also, vegetative propagation is usually much easier, such as with cuttings. Since the offspring are clones of the mother plant, the characteristics of the mother, such as shape, color or taste, are retained. In addition, with vegetative propagation, at least offspring from dying plants can be saved if cuttings are taken in a timely manner.

Tip: The vegetative form of propagation is the only way to propagate plants that do not produce flowers or seeds in this country.

Where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. In this way, the susceptibility to diseases and pests is maintained because the genetic material is not refreshed.

sharp cutting tool

Important notice

What is to be considered?

In order for vegetative propagation to succeed, you should consider the following.

  • only use clean and sharp cutting tools
  • pay attention to strong and healthy mother plants (exception: saving dying plants)
  • do not use soil infected with pathogens or pests for the offspring

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