It seems that the colorful caladium has become this summer's popular garden plant. A local…
Annuals play an important role in the summer garden.
How do so many annuals make it to your garden center in the spring?
The major methods to reproduce a plant are through a seed or a cutting.
The new plants you see at the garden center probably came there as a cutting.
This is how it works.
A cutting is planted in a small container of soil or medium. Growers call that small container a plug.
Richard Craig, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, wrote the article “Creating a More Beautiful World: A Century of Progress in the Breeding of Floral and Nursery Plants.”
The article appeared in the scientific journal HortScience.
Craig recognizes the importance of the plug in the business of propagation.
He says, “I believe that the development of plug-culture technology was one of the most important developments of the century.”
Pleasant View Garden
Pleasant View Garden in Loudon, New Hampshire grows thousands of plants each year for Proven Winners.
Not too long ago I wrote a post here in which I mentioned Pleasant View uses cuttings extensively for its annuals.
The cutting as a plug is then sold to garden centers.
Here is a greenhouse at Pleasant View Garden with hundreds of plugs waiting to find a home in some garden center or nursery. There they will be potted and cared for in hopes in the spring customers will buy them.
Stephen Harris in his book Planting Paradise: Cultivating the Garden 1500-1900 also recognizes the importance of cuttings for the garden industry.
He writes, “Traditionally, gardeners have two basic approaches to multiplying the number of a plant: sexual propagation using seed or clonal propagation using some form of cutting.”
It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that through new grower technology cuttings for plugs became the major form of propagation for the garden industry.