Cutting Propagation

Course CodeBHT211
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Make Your Own Plants

Plant propagation is a particularly valued skill in today's nursery industry, and while no course alone is going to make you into an exceptional propagator, this training provides the foundation needed to build these skills.

Why Study this course?

  • Because you are passionate about gardening and plants
  • To save money - it can cost thousands of pounds to buy plants for a garden. This way you can create your own
  • For work -improve employment opportunities; start a small business from home, develop your skills to work in a plant nursery.

Comment from a Student     "This is the first correspondence course I have done and I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU. I appreciate everyone's effort in such a professionally-run organisation with seamless administration. The office staff's happy can-do attitude, their fast responses to all queries, tutor Shane Gould's quick turnaround in assignment marking and his supportive and motivational feedback and last but not least, the sound subject guides. Most importantly I hope my thanks and appreciation can be communicated to all the staff who have supported me along the way of my learning! I work full time and study on the weekend but really don't stop thinking about what gardening solution I need in order to answer my assignments every day of the week. Thank you for such a great learning experience and I can't wait to start the second half of my course!!"   - Skye

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • The principles of propagating plants by cuttings.:Importance of cuttings, Phenotype vs genotype, why choose cutting propagation, where to get cuttings from, basic cutting technique.
  2. Stem cuttings
    • Ease with which tissue forms roots, types of stem cuttings (softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous, tip, heel, nodal, cane etc), treatments (eg. basal heat, mist, tent, etc), testing rooting, etc.
  3. Non-stem cuttings
    • Leaf cuttings, root cuttings (natural suckering with or without division, Induced suckering, In situ whole root cuttings; ex situ detached root cuttings), bulb cuttings, scaling and twin scaling, sectioning, basal cuttage.
  4. Materials and equipment
    • Selection and maintenance of stock plants; disinfecting cutting material;
  5. Growing media
    • Propagation media; biological, chemical and physical characteristics of propagation and potting media, Testing for toxins, air filled porosity, potting up cuttings, soil-less mixes, rockwool, etc.
  6. Factors affecting rooting
    • Juvenility, Cutting Treatments (hormones & their application, anti transparents, acid/base treatments, disinfectants etc), Callusing, Mycorrhizae, Carbon Dioxide enrichment, etc.
  7. Setting up a propagation area
    • Creating and managing an appropriate cutting environment in terms of: Water; Disease; Temperature; Light and Air Quality. Greenhouses and other structures, watering methods (mist, fog, capillary etc), heating, etc.
  8. Management of cutting crops
    • Estimating cost of production; Keeping records, etc.


  • Discuss the principles of propagating plants by cuttings
  • Explain how to propagate plants from stem cuttings
  • Describe how to propagate plants from non-stem cuttings
  • Describe the materials and equipment used for propagating plants from stems
  • Explain the principles of growing media in relation to cutting propagation
  • Discuss how and why cuttings form roots.
  • Manipulate the formation of roots on cuttings
  • Establish successful plant propagation areas
  • Demonstrate nursery crop scheduling

What You Will Do

  • Establish an area near where you live that can be used for the raising of cuttings. It doesn’t need to be a greenhouse, just a sheltered place where you can raise the cuttings you will be asked to grow for this course.
  • Select ten different plants that can be grown by stem cuttings. Practice preparing different types of cuttings until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of your cuttings in a propagating mix and place in the propagation area. Keep the mix moist and observe the behaviour of the cuttings. (eg. does it put on new leaves? Do changes in temperature effect growth? Do any cuttings die? etc. ) Make notes of your observations. You will be asked questions about your results later in the course.
  • Prepare leaf cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare root cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare bulb cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of cuttings in a propagating mix.
  • Visit three plant propagation nurseries and see if you can find out where they obtain their propagation material.
  • Test soil samples and name them.
  • Go to your local nursery and/or garden supply and find out what rooting hormones they sell. See if you can discover what chemicals the products contain.
  • Visit three different commercial greenhouses.
  • Prepare a pot of cuttings and estimate the cost of production for each cutting produced.
    • Plants are reproduced by cuttings for a number of reasons, including:
    • *Cutting grown plants are identical to their parent.
    • A cutting grown plant is genetically identical to the parent plant from which the
    • original cutting was taken. This is not necessarily so when plants are grown from seed.
    • Cuttings are the most widely used technique for reproducing "true to type" plants. This ensures that the unique characteristics, such as leaf variegation or flower size & colour, of the parent plant are perpetuated in the progeny. When a plant is grown from seed, the flower and foliage effects, for example, can be different to those on the parent plant
    • *It is easier to produce new plants from cuttings
    • For some types of plants, seed production is difficult, due to one or more of the following reasons:
    • a/ The plant doesn’t produce viable seed, or produces seed at irregular times,
    • b/ Seed is difficult to germinate (e.g. Boronia, Eriostemon),
    • c/ Seed that is difficult to collect, for example, plants that have seed pods that burst open dispersing the seeds widely,
    • d/ Seed is produced at a time when seed cannot be collected, or collection would require a further trip to the area (often very difficult for remote areas), or can only be collected with difficulty (e.g. plants whose seed matures during wet seasons when access may be limited).
    • * Producing plants that flower or fruit sooner
    • Many plants grown from seeds go through a juvenile stage, in which flowering, and hence seed production do not occur. Some plants may take 5, 10 or even more years before they commence flowering. Once a plant has flowered, plants propagated from that plant by cuttings will avoid the juvenile stage and flower early, often within months of the cutting having struck. Many plants also have undesirable growth forms when they are young. These include very vigorous growth, thorniness, or unattractive foliage or form. By taking cuttings from adult plants these undesirable characteristics can be avoided.
    • * Maintaining juvenility
    • In some cases the juvenile form of a plant may have characteristics that are more desirable than those of the adult form. A good example of this is the smaller, immature foliage of the Hedera helix cultivars (English Ivy). For some plants cuttings will strike more readily from juvenile material.
    • Why Cuttings
  • Despite all the difficulties that can be experienced with various techniques to propagate a plant, the cutting technique still remains one of the easiest and cost effective techniques to produce a number of new plants, whether that be for commercial or domestic production.


  • Trainee plant propagators
  • Horticulture graduates with limited knowledge or experience in plant propagation.
  • CPD for Nurserymen, gardeners, farmers, horticulturists, botanists, environmentalists, etc
  • Passionate amateurs wanting to expand and deepen their knowledge of propagation
  • Anyone starting up a small nursery - even growing at home and selling in markets

Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Check out our eBooks

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method


$485.00Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.