In former days many home gardeners found it difficult to increase the supply of their favorite evergreens by the usual methods of reproduction, viz., seeds, layers, and cuttings. The complexity of starting new plants has been materially lessened since the introduction of polyethylene plastic. In the field of plant propagation its use has been a real boon. No longer is a greenhouse a necessary possession for raising these plants from seeds and cuttings. Polyethylene is a substance which has the ability to retain moisture and to permit an exchange of gases.
There are two fundamental methods of propagation: the sexual method, whereby plants are increased by means of seed; and the asexual (vegetative) method. The sexual method is not always reliable, because seedlings cannot be depended on to run true to type, and in most instances is a slow tedious procedure. The principal reason to recommend it is because you never know when a new strain of plant may result. The most reliable way to perpetuate a plant true to type is by vegetative reproduction. With this method, plants are propagated by cuttings, layers, division, grafting, and budding.
Generally speaking, the seeds of cone-bearing evergreens are collected at the time the cone scales open; at that time the coat will turn brown and the seeds themselves will become firm. The seeds must be well cleaned before they are placed in storage; those with wings should have the wings removed. To obtain seeds from fleshy fruits (such as the berries of Holly) mash the fruits and soak them in water for three or four days.
During this soaking period stir them vigorously several times; this will hasten the separation of the pulp from the seeds. Care must be taken not to allow them to "sour." The viable seeds will settle in the bottom of the container, and those that are nonviable, together with the pulp, will collect on the surface and should be discarded. The good seeds must be thoroughly washed again with water before they are stored. A better way to separate the pulp from the seed is to soak the fruits in ethyl alcohol for a few minutes.
For propagating purposes, containers can either be entirely filled with sphagnum, or this moss may be used as a finishing layer over a bottom layer of soil, in which case allow space for at least 1 inch of sphagnum compressed to an even surface. The seeds are then placed in the containers. The finished layer of moss should come to within 1/2 to 1 inch of the top of the container.
The advantage of a layer of soil under the moss is that the transplanting can be deferred for a longer time; the young plants will strike root in the earth and thus be supplied with sufficient nutrients to maintain growth. Whether a flat or a pot is used, to assure proper drainage be sure not to overlook placing broken pieces of pots concave side down, over the holes in the bottom of the container.
Vegetative propagation has been greatly facilitated by the use of polyethylene plastic. A propogating unit may easily be constructed using this plastic. Because of it, excellent results have been obtained in reproducing evergreens by means of cuttings, air-layers, grafting, and budding. The plastic is not required in simple layering.
Among the evergreens that are successfully grown from slips are Arbor-vitae, evergreen Azaleas, evergreen Barberry, Box, Cotoneaster, Euonymus, Pyracantha, Gardenia, Mahonia, Osmanthus, Pieris, evergreen Privet, Holly, Rhododendron, creeping Junipers, and Yews. Ground covers such as English Ivy, Pachysandra, Sarcococca hookeriana humilis, Skimmia japonica, Pachistima canbyi, and Vinca minor can all be rooted easily by cuttings.
Evergreens can be easily grown from seed or cuttings.
Here's The Secret To Fast Growing Evergreens No Matter Where You Live - Your Garden Will Bloom With Color And Beauty All Year Round!