Propagation is a means of multiplying a plant into many more of the same type. The most common method is by collecting and planting seeds. Seeds result from sexual propagation since the pollen from one plant pollinates the female flower structures of the same plant or another plant of the same species thus creating a living seed.
Asexual propagation does not involve pollination. This method removes a section of one plant to root and start a new plant. Examples of asexual propagation are stem cuttings, leaf bud cuttings, air layering, and tissue culture.
Grafting and budding involve removing a section from one plant and attaching it to another. The removed plant section is called a bud or scion and the plant onto which it is placed is referred to as the rootstock. The scion or bud grows to form the main structure of the new plant. It is chosen because it possesses certain desirable characteristics such as fruit size or quality, bloom size or color, or foliage qualities. The rootstock is often chosen for its ability to tolerate specific soil characteristics, resist disease or insect problems, or give a dwarfing effect to the growth of the scion.
Seed propagation usually results in a new plant that is similar but not identical to the parent plant(s). With asexual propagation the offspring is identical to the parent plant. Another benefit to asexual propagation is that the resulting plant is immediately mature enough to bloom or bear fruit.
While propagation sounds complicated or difficult it is in fact quite simple. There are a number of different techniques which gardeners can use to propagate various plants. Use the links below for additional exploration.
Additional Resources for Plant Propagation
Earth-Kind® Overview of Asexual Reproduction this is a hub for specifics on Grafting and Budding, Layering, and Plant Tissue and Organ Culture (in vitro culture)
Plant Propagation for Home Gardeners from the University of Arkansas
Propagation by Cuttings, Layering and Division by Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
Plant Propagation by Seed by Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
Rose Propagation tips from Dr. William C. Welch
Propagating Wildflowers information hub