Starting a New Plant: Seeds versus Cuttings

When starting a new plant there are two different techniques most commonly used. The first involves planting seeds and nurturing the plant through germination, sprouting, and the seedling stage. The second requires a cutting from a mature plant to be utilized. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses.

Starting from Seeds

Beginning a plant from a seed is relatively easy. If you want a tomato plant you simply buy seeds from the type of tomato you desire. Seeds require consistent watering but do not like over-watering. Once the seeds sprout care must be taken to ensure insects and birds to not feast on the new shoots. If the seedling survives until maturity, it can take some time before the plants bear fruit.

Cuttings Reach Maturity More Quickly

Starting a plant from a cutting allows you to skip several steps in the growing process and have mature plants more quickly than planting seeds. A cutting is a small piece of a mature plant which is planted in the ground. When watered, the cutting develops roots and takes to the soil. When the cutting has established a sufficient root system it will begin to grow and branch out as a mature plant. Soon, the plant will bear fruit.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Both Methods

Seeds are a good choice due to their availability. Using seeds means you do not have to seek out the perfect specimen to take a cutting from. Seeds are inexpensive and easy to plant. This allows many more seeds to be planted. With more seedlings to choose from, struggling or undesirable plants can be eliminated leaving many healthy plants growing to maturity. The downside is that plants grown from seeds will not be exactly the plant you envisioned. The only way to grow an exact replica of your desired plant is to grow from a cutting. By using a piece of the original plant there is no guesswork as to the result.

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