Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources including seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plants and may also refer to the artificial or natural dispersal of plants. With permission, the Georgia Native Plant Society collects seeds throughout year from stock plants furnished by the GNPS rescue program, or GNPS member gardens and others from hikes around the southeast. Our members enjoy a seed exchange each year during our November business meeting.
We are able to actively propagate plants with the involvement of volunteers at a designated area with the Stone Mountain Park where we have set up our Stone Mountain Propagation Project. The Stone Mountain Propagation Project (SMPP) is maintained and operated by about 8 volunteers. Many of us are novices who are anxious to learn more from our mentors Karen McCaustland and Elaine Nash. SMPP has concentrated the most effort on seed propagation rather than vegetative propagation where our Stone Mountain Propagation Project.
The first hurdle in propagating seed is making sure fertile, ripe seed is collected, cleaned and stored to maintain viability. Some need a rest period after collecting while others need to be collected in their green stage before birds find them.
The collected seed is stored in coin envelopes marked with date, species and location found. We share our stash in the fall, at which point some seeds go into a refrigerator for stratification over the winter months and others might be sown and set into a greenhouse for the winter. Seeds are sent home with some volunteers along with plug trays and planting media. As the new year warms up, we sow different seeds in a soilless mix, moisten and protect from the environment. It takes from only 6 months to almost 2 years to produce a handsome plant so there are several stages during the growing process when volunteers have access to surplus plants for their own yards or projects. The growing plants receive our care and lots of watering throughout a majority of the year.