Authors: A. K. Goswami, Madhubala Thakre and A. Nagaraja
IARI, New Delhi-110012

Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources i.e. seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. Plant propagation can also refer to the artificial or natural dispersal of plants. In other sense, the method of production of more than one plant from the mother plant or the tissue over a specific time period is termed as plant propagation. The production of true to type progeny from the mother plant is the prime objective of propagation. Plant propagation has been a useful tool since centuries, which has made possible the generations to pass through and sustain production especially for fruit plants since time immoral. Plant propagation depends on the plant species, variety, method of propagation, climatic and growth conditions. The propagation of plants has been one of the fundamental occupations of mankind since civilization begins. Most of the selected plant would have lost or could have attained undesirable forms if they were not propagated under strict environment conditions.

There has been a substantial improvement in vegetative propagation techniques of fruit and plantation crops. Plant propagation is primarily done by conventional methods, which include sexual and asexual methods. However, in the recent past plant propagation through biotechnological applications have made great contributions towards mass scale production of plants.

Sexual propagation:

In this method, the plants are raised from seeds. The plants produced through seeds are called seedlings. In sexual method, the sex organs of flower are involved in process like pollination and fertilization leads to the formation of seeds. Seeds are typically produced from sexual reproduction within a species and genetic recombination has occurred in plants grown from seeds which may have different characteristics from its parents. Papaya, Phalsa, Mangosteen, rootstocks plants of many fruit crops raised through sexual method of propagation. Sexual method of propagation is useful in many aspects like evolution of new varieties through breeding, fruit plants like papaya, where asexual method is not convenient for propagation, to develop hardy and better root system and in case of polyembryonic species like in citrus and mango. But there are few loopholes in this method of propagations like long juvenile period and come into bearing later as compared to asexually raised plants, progeny is not true-to-type, not economical to handle larger trees as plants raised through seeds mostly vigorous in nature.

Asexual propagation:

The propagation of plants by the method other than sexual propagation is referred as vegetative or asexual propagation. It involves no change in genetic makeup of the new plant. All the characteristics of the mother plant are reproduced in the progeny plant due to exact duplication of chromosomes during cell division. Thus, the plants are true-to type in growth, fruiting and fruit quality. Vegetatively propagated fruit crops have immense potential in enhancing fruit production. Considering the perennial nature of fruit crops, it is essential to choose right cultivars and quality planting material to ensure higher yields and quality of produce. Ensuring true-to-type and clean planting material, free from diseases, is critical. In this method of propagation, the plants are obtained from a vegetative portion of the mother plant instead of seeds. There has been a substantial improvement in vegetative propagation techniques of fruit and plantation crops like standardization of vegetative propagation techniques viz., veneer grafting, soft wood grafting and chip budding in crops like aonla, bael, ber, cashew, custard apple, jamun, mango, sapota, jackfruit, walnut etc., rapid methods of production of rooted cutting and commercial production for micro-propagation developed in grape, suitable rootstocks standardized for citrus, grape, mango, apple, plum, peach, tea etc. Production of virus-free planting material using shoot tip grafting and micro budding developed in citrus. In vegetative propagation of fruit crops, one plant is selected for its root system, which is called stock or rootstock and other plant is selected for its shoot system which is called scion. For successful grafting to take place, the vascular cambium tissues of the both the plants must be placed in close contact and kept alive until the graft union takes place, which usually takes one to two months. Techniques for commercial multiplication of quality planting material in various fruit crops have been developed and standardized for the establishment of new orchards. Vegetative propagation have various methods like air layering, budding, grafting, special structure like suckers, runners, division, rhizome, offset etc.


Fruit crops Commercial method of propagation
Almond - T-budding and wedge grafting
Aonla - Patch budding and wedge grafting
Apple - T-budding/tongue and wedge grafting
Apricot - T-budding and wedge grafting
Avocado - T-budding and wedge grafting
Bael - Wedge grafting
Banana - Suckers/corm
Cashew - Soft wood grafting
Cherry -Tongue and wedge grafting
Custard apple - Wedge grafting
Date palm -Sucker/off shoot
Fig -Hard wood/semi-hard wood cutting
Grape -Hard wood cutting and wedge grafting
Guava -Wedge grafting
Gooseberry -Hardwood/semi-hard wood cutting
Jackfruit -Patch budding and soft wood grafting
Jamun - Soft wood grafting
Kiwi fruit - Hard/semi hard wood cutting
Lemon/lime -Cutting and budding
Litch -Air layering and wedge
Mandarin - T-budding and wedge grafting
Mango -Soft wood, wedge and veneer grafting
Peach - T-budding, wedge and tongue grafting
Pear - T-budding, wedge and tongue grafting
Pecan nut - Patch budding and wedge grafting
Pineapple - Slip/sucker
Plum - T-budding, tongue and wedge grafting
Pomegranate -Wedge grafting/air layering, Hard wood cutting
Raspberry, Blackberry -Suckers
Sapota -Wedge grafting
Strawberry -Runner
Sweet Orange -T-budding/wedge grafting
Walnut -Patch budding and wedge grafting

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