Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Plant Propagator's Bible by Miranda Smith

Book cover
The Plant Propagator's Bible
by Miranda Smith

ISBN-13: 9780760369791
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: June 29th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, veteran horticulture teacher Miranda Smith provides a complete reference showing every step for cultivating new plants—whether from seed or cuttings or with techniques such as layering, grafting, and budding.

Propagating new plants from existing ones is not only sustainable but also rewarding for gardeners of all skill levels. The Plant Propagator's Bible offers a solid and complete, go-to reference for expert gardeners but is also a perfect primer for the novice plant lover and horticulturalist. Smith teaches readers, with the support of hundreds of full-color photos and detailed illustrations, the natural process and conditions in which plants grow and reproduce, and shows gardeners how to use these systems to propagate any plant that grows in their garden or greenhouse—or even on their windowsill.

The book features a detailed, step-by-step illustrations and annotated photographs, "What Can Go Wrong" advice explaining potential problems and how to prevent or fix them, and an A to Z directory of more than 1,000 individual plant species—with appropriate propagation techniques for aquatics, ornamental plants, houseplants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and wildflowers.

My Review:
The Plant Propagator's Bible described many different plant propagation techniques. The first part of the book detailed these various techniques and included a general description of each technique, a list of plants that it works on, step-by-step instructions and illustrations showing how to do the technique, and brief advice about how to handle what can go wrong. The techniques included starting from seeds (including soaking, scarification, stratification, etc.), dividing plants, taking cuttings, layering, and grafting. The book also contained a plant directory for flowering plants and ornamentals, which included information on where the plant is grown, the easiest way to propagate it, other methods that can be used, and potential problems specific to that plant.

I thought that the step-by-step section did a good job of showing how to do the technique. I've done some of these in the past, and I'll try some new ones in the future. I was a little disappointed that the focus seemed to be on non-food plants since the subtitle mentioned "every plant in your garden." I also sometimes felt that the author made propagation sound more difficult than it is. For example, years ago I bought morning glory seeds, simply planted them, and the resulting morning glories have been reseeding themselves in the same spot for years without any action on my part. According to this book, though, you need to scarify the seeds in order to get them to sprout. Overall, I recommend this informative book to anyone interested in learning new plant propagation techniques.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

1 comment:

Laurie Brown said...

I've read and used this book, and found it generally quite good. I know what you mean about making some things seem harder than they are, but I think that if you do something like scarify morning glory seeds, the number that sprout increases and they sprout faster than non-scarified ones. Left to their own devices, there are a LOT of morning glory seeds in the ground, so the perfect that sprouts may be lower, but there are still plenty of them growing. If you've only got 10 seeds, then the percentage that sprouts becomes more important. I've done it both ways, and had the 'perma morning glory beds' like you, and this is what I've personally observed. Same with something like division- if you've got a huge bed of wildish daylilies, just take a fire ax and whack away to divide it. But if you've got a slow growing, expensive variety, you gently dig the whole thing and wiggle the divisions apart and carefully plant each division into perfectly improved soil...