Plant Propagation

If you want a garden full of gorgeous perennials, hardy shrubs, rhododendrons, a bounty of vegetables and annual flowers, you have to do one of two things. You can either pay at the checkout counter every spring or you can learn the simple techniques of starting your own free plants.

Gardens full of free plants, growing your own expensive trees and shrubs (yes, including evergreens and rhododendrons) can easily be accomplished by home gardeners with a bit of information and a very little bit of inexpensive equipment (and I even show you how to get this from your own kitchen instead of purchasing it).

As many of you know, I ran a specialist greenhouse and nursery for over 20 years and I've grown literally millions of plants in that time. And almost every one of them was started right on the farm. Give me one plant and I'd turn it into hundreds for my nursery customers. With over 1800 varieties of perennials to grow and 6-800 varieties of annuals, I was always looking for the easiest and fastest way to propagate my own plants. And frankly, I found them; producing a hundred thousand plants (or more) every spring for my kids to pot up for sale.

A Plant Propagation Schedule

The first thing in the book is the schedule of when to do each of these propagation methods. It's all there in one handy chart so you understand not only the how but also the when of plant propagation.


Many of the specialty propagation systems (root cuttings) have lists of plants that you can use with these techniques. There's no more guessing whether this works this way or that way.

Simple Techniques
I've boiled these techniques down to the simplest and most effective ways for home gardeners to get free plants. And if you want that garden full of plants, here's what you need to know and what's in the book.

Easy Seed Starting

Starting annual and vegetable seeds is straightforward and while you may not have to hit the goals I had in the greenhouses (over 95% of all seeds germinated successfully) you don't want to waste seeds either. You want all you can get now that seeds are becoming very expensive.

Perennial flower seeds are even more expensive and a little harder to grow but I still hit my targets because of several simple methods and equipment you already have in your house. Between my refrigerator, a few baggies and some damp vermiculite I know the precise number of days and temperatures I should be holding the seeds to get all those plants in my garden.

Cuttings Simplified

I also accept gifts of plant cuttings from friends and neighbors when I visit them. Gardeners are usually pretty helpful when it comes to giving cuttings and because I always travel with a baggie and cooler, I get to bring home some pretty remarkable plant cuttings. Rooting them successfully follows and then they go out to grace our garden and property. I landscape my gardens at a much lower cost than most folks simply because I'm not afraid to cut up a plant or collect my own seed and start it.

Perennial Plant Division

This is how I get most of my true-to-name perennials from the fancy hybrids (this and taking cuttings) and I tell you the things to avoid and the things to do to make this fast and easy.


And yes, I do roses from seed and cuttings with no need for fancy grafting and I fill my gardens with fragrance for pennies.

Fruit Trees, Evergreens, Rhododendrons

I'm a big fan of having trees on my property (partially because of the increased value this brings to the property). And I love the taste of fresh apples picked from my organic fruit growing orchard. The techniques for you to do that are easily learned and covered here.

You may be paying big bucks at a garden center for your plants but I"m filling mine (and they're big) with plants I grow myself using basic techinques that any gardener can learn. This isn't rocket science but it does take a bit of attention to detail. But if you want to keep on paying big prices for common plants, then who am I to stop you.

You can have all the free plants you want for your garden if you know how to propagate your own plants

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