Geoff Bryant is a plant propagator and hybridizer with 25 years of experience in this field. He is a fulltime garden writer and photographer and has written or contributed to a dozen gardening books.
The operative phrase in the title of this excellent introduction to propagation is "growing plants for free," since most gardeners are frustrated by the cost of plant material and the limited variety available commercially. As noted by gardening writer Bryant (Rhododendrons and Azaleas), "Plant propagation is a science, but for the most part it is easy"-easy if you follow his recipe-like instructions. In the first half, Bryant gives readers a basic understanding of propagation by division, by cuttings, or from seeds. Other techniques are also discussed, such as layering, grafting, and budding. For those familiar with these fundamentals, the book's second half will be more useful, as it contains the briefest descriptions of propagation techniques for 540 different plants accompanied by 523 color illustrations. The variety is enormous, ranging from abelia to zinnia. Each description leads with the plant's scientific and common name followed by two to four sentences on propagation. Unfortunately, the color illustrations are postage-stamp size and without scale, so that the giant sequoia is the same size as a coneflower. Fewer illustrations could have provided more room for further details in the text. As one might imagine, only the briefest advice is provided here, but when combined with the general introduction, it offers the novice a good start. Gardeners with more serious propagation intentions will find more useful and detailed information in Alan Toogood's American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation and Michael Dirr and Charles Heuser's Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Recommended especially for public libraries serving large populations of weekend gardeners.-Edward J. Valauskas, Chicago Botanic Garden Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A good book for gardeners.--Margaret Henderson"E-Streams"
Step-by-step guide to advanced propagation techniques such as layering, grafting, budding and tissue culture.--Suzanne Hively"Cleveland Plain Dealer" (04/24/2003)
For quick reference, there is a very handy table of the plants from A to Z by Latin name, showing the preferred method and the hardiness zone.--Connie Krochmal"BellaOnline" (06/30/2007)
Whether you enjoy growing plants from seed or are in the habit of sharing garden plants among friends, this book is a clear and easy guide.--Helen Chesnut"Victoria Times-Colonist" (02/11/2012)
[5/5 starred review] You haven't really gardened until you've started a new plant from seed, root or cutting. This book shows you how, in straightforward language with detailed charts and how-to's. The best is at the end, where a big chapter lists more than 500 types of plants ... each with a photo and paragraph on propagation method.-- (11/28/2006)
This is a "how-to" book with information usually found only in technical writings. It is clearly written and be extremely useful.-- (11/11/2006)
Excellent introduction ... well-illustrated work ... Should inspire many a gardener to look at plant propagation as a means to keep gardening costs down, and to obtain plants in a garden that would normally not be available through some commercial outlets.-- (05/11/2003)
Excellent introduction to propagation.--Library Journal (05/01/2003)
Comprehensive ... Bryant's guide provides an essential and encyclopedic resource for the fiscally minded, or just creatively curious, gardener.-- (03/01/2003)
Will take you to the next horticultural level... will introduce you to plants that you likely never heard of.-- (11/01/2003)
A handy guide to all propagation techniques... written in an accessible style... a practical step-by-step reference on the art of reproducing garden plants and should be a welcome addition to any gardening collection.-- (01/01/2004)
A real "how-to" book... the work of a lifetime... accessible to anyone who's interested in trying.-- (12/13/2003)
Takes the mystery out of plant propagation... clear and easy... a treasure for both those who want to learn to propagate and those who need to brush up.-- (12/11/2003)
Clearly outlines all aspects of plant propagation, from selecting the right tools to identifying which plants reproduce by seed, division, and cutting.--Science News (09/20/2003)
Straightforward language with detailed charts and how-to's make it easy to use. Best of all is the big chapter listing more than 500 plants, each with a photo and paragraph on propagation methods.-- (12/12/2008)
You had me at the title, Geoff. Find all kinds of great tips for starting plants from seeds and cuttings, by division and less common techniques, like grafting. Extensive tables provide information about individual plants, including the best ways to start them and tips for success, like which seeds should be soaked or nicked first. Plant Propagation A to Z is a great reference for anyone who prefers getting their plants for free.-- (05/15/2011)