Vegetative Propagation

With the involvement of 1 plant and some natural processes, a plant can reproduce asexually. The resultant will be genetically identical to the parent plant, and so many fruits and flowers are possible through this method called the vegetative propagation. We will learn about the definition, types, purposes and forms of vegetative propagation along with suitable examples.

What is Vegetative Propagation?

When a plant reproduces asexually through the means of its roots, stem and leaves, then this process is said to be Vegetative Propagation. The respective part of a plant will be useful to produce new plant species, apart from its seeds. Banana, sweet potato, cassava, pineapple, are some of the real-time vegetative propagation examples.

Note that only 1 plant would be involved in the process of vegetative propagation. Natural reproduction results in an offspring which will be a new plant that is genetically similar to the parent plant. 

There are 2 means by which a plant can asexually reproduce from its vegetative parts: 

  1. Fragmentation (specific parts of a plant break either accidentally or naturally and the detached part itself grows into a new plant)

  2. Regeneration (the tissues of plants are physiologically renewed or repaired and replaced with new healthy cells)

Types of Vegetative Propagation

The participation of a human being is an important factor to plant reproduction since man has the potential to manipulate plant growth. Before we distinguish and define vegetative propagation with its types, it is important to learn the 2 main ways of how a plant can reproduce asexually - Natural and Artificial. 

Natural Vegetative Propagation

When a plant is not disturbed by any human or external involvement, the propagation begins naturally by means of adventitious roots. Hence, a new plant is formed every time. The resulting plants are labelled as bulbs, runners, tubers, or rhizomes. Some of the common modes of natural vegetative propagation are as follows:

  • Roots - Tubers (modified roots) help in the development of new plants. Every bud is created at the stem’s base. Dahlia is a quick example.

  • Stem - Buds form at the nodes of runners that grow up the ground level. The buds grow into a completely new species. Mint grows by this process.

  • Leaves - The leaf of a plant will detach, fall off and start growing again as a separate plant. One of the best examples for leave propagation is that of Bryophyllum. 

  • Bulbs - Leaves are connected to the underground stem from the bulbs to store plant food. A shoot is then developed from the buds of the plant called the lateral buds. Garlic and onion grow this way. 

Artificial Vegetative Propagation

As the name says, artificial vegetative propagation is simply defined as genetically modifying and growing a plant inside a clinical setup. This involves scholars and scientists preparing tests and solutions to carry out the process of plant vegetative propagation artificially inside laboratories. This procedure is possible in 4 different ways:

  • Tissue Culture - When natural conditions are not comfortable for a plant to grow, then this method is highly useful. With the help of a technician, the respective parts of a plant are segregated and cultured in a clinic. This way, one can develop rare and extinct cases of plant species effectively. Potatoes and sugarcane are produced through tissue culture propagation.  

  • Grafting - This is an artificial method of propagation, wherein a plant is first rooted deep into the ground. The cut part from another plant is attached and connected to the stem of the former. The tissues of both the rooted plant and the graft get interlinked and produce a new plant variant. Apples and pears grow by this means.

  • Cutting - A part of the plant is cut and rooted in the soil, most commonly the leaf or stem.  A new plant will develop from these cut roots, which is called the adventitious roots. Sometimes hormones (growth promoters) are injected into the contents for nurturing and inducing quick plant development. Roses grow in this method.

  • Layering - The layer is the part that will produce new plants. This layer is formed when the plant’s stem is bent downward and buried into the soil. The plant’s shoot tip will be under the ground. The covering soil helps in the growth of adventitious roots, thus forming plant variants. Honeysuckle, boxwood, wax myrtle are some of the examples of layering propagation. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Meant by Vegetative Reproduction or Propagation?

Vegetative propagation/reproduction defines to the asexual method of plant reproduction to form new plant variants either through regeneration or by fragmentation. This process usually occurs in the roots, leaves and stem of a plant.

2. What is Vegetative Propagation and Give Two Suitable Examples?

A plant reproducing asexually through natural or artificial means is called vegetative propagation. Examples include tissue culture and layering. 

3. What is the Advantage of Vegetative Propagation?

The biggest advantage of growing plants through vegetative propagation is that the newly born plants are clones to their parents since only 1 plant is involved in the entire process. This helps in getting multiple plant alternatives that are genetically similar.

4. Write the Significance of Vegetative Propagation.

Apart from the fact that no viable seeds are produced separately, vegetative propagation is also quite cheap and easy to process. Moreover, reducing the effect of pathogens is simple in this method of plant reproduction. 

5. What are the Disadvantages of Vegetative Propagation?

Some of the disadvantages of vegetative propagation include less environmental adaptation, poorly visible variations, easy plant decaying and also overcrowding may occur.