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Books on Plant Propagation

Propagating your own plants is so rewarding. Whether you’re using seeds or cuttings, the joy is indescribable. It sure beats buying plants from nurseries.

Like any other hobby or craft, you do need to know what you’re doing in order to be successful. That’s why I recommend good reference books when gardeners really get serious about plant propagation. Here are two books that I find are very helpful. One deals with cuttings, while the other is broader based.

“Cutting Propagation-a Guide to Propagating and Producing Floriculture Crops” by John M. Dole and James L. Gibson was released by Ball Publishing. Written for greenhouse growers and other professionals as well as serious amateurs, this in-depth guide leaves no stone unturned. There isn’t a better book on the subject. The first section covers all the basics, including how to manage pest and disease problems. Separate chapters are devoted to various categories of plants, such as foliage plants, bedding plants, herbaceous perennials, and cut flowers. For each chapter, there is a handy table listing the plants by Latin name and the details for propagating each one. Each plant
entry includes a color photo, common name, plant description, notes on its use in the landscape, and the preferred temperature range for the cutting.

Part Three is an encyclopedia of all the plants from A to Z, which includes woody ones like hydrangeas, roses, and rhododendrons as well as herbaceous ones.

“Plant Propagation A to Z-Growing Plants for Free” by Geoff Bryant was released by Firefly. This focuses primarily on seed, division, and cuttings. However, the less commonly used methods, such as grafting, budding, layering, root cuttings, and tissue culture, are also covered.

Part I explains what plant propagation is all about, the tools and materials you will need, and the importance of hygiene. There’s also a chapter on troubleshooting when pests and diseases strike.

For quick reference, there is a very handy table of the plants from A to Z by Latin name, showing the preferred method and the hardiness zone. Among the other chapters are ones on seeds, division, and cuttings. Each of these has its own plant table as well for quick reference. Throughout the book, there are step-by-step, color illustrated instructions.

The last part of the book is devoted to encyclopedia entries for the most popular garden plants. This section includes a color photo and in-depth information for each plant as well as the preferred method of propagation and when that is best carried out.

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