Rooting Plants versus Collecting Seeds.


Why root plants? Why not just collect their seed? That was a question posed to me and here’s the answer.

When you root a plant, you are getting the exact same plant over and over. There is no deviation. When you collect seeds and then start new plants, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you are adding some biodiversity, but you are not going to get exactly the same plant.

In actuality I do both – root plants and collect seeds plus I divide plants in the spring.

Every year as fall approaches, I’m looking to keep the strong plants and get rid of the weak plants. I collect seed only from strong and vigorous plants which have characteristics that I like. You’re never quite sure how they are going to turn out, but you know they come from good parents so that’s a plus. I also literally pull out diseased plants or plants that are just not doing well. You don’t want to encourage those characteristics. I have some plants that have bad mildew while other plants of the same species don’t have it nearly as bad. I’ll collect the seed from the non-mildew plants.

Lantana is quickly becoming my favorite nectar plant. I have a couple of plants that have been growing now for 3 years in a row and they’re doing great. They have even dropped seedlings, so I have many more lantana plants in my garden. The problem is that most of the seedlings don’t look as nice as the parents. They are tall and spindly and not quite as colorful. They do however seem to do well in less sun, so that’s a positive.  Lantana is the plant I mainly grow from cuttings.  I’m also experimenting with a couple of other plants, but don’t expect good results. Some plants are more traditionally grown from root cuttings or by division. That’s another way to get exactly the same plant. I do that with most of my perennials.

So the answer is – it’s not an Either/Or proposition. I do both plus I divide plants in the spring. The trick is to know which plants to save seeds and which plants to root. I’ll be doing a separate posting on that topic. If you want to know about a particular plant, let me know and I’ll give you my answer.


  • Verbena bonareinsis – seed




Filed under Plant Propagation

4 responses to “Rooting Plants versus Collecting Seeds.

  1. Jim & Judy Stroup


    Thank you for an ah ha moment.


  2. April Winkelmann

    How do I make sure that my verbena b will come back in the spring?

    • Verbena bonareinsis is almost like a weed – it reseeds itself most easily and a lot of the plants will over-winter here in St. Louis. I’d also suggest saving seed from your good plants and reseeding in the fall where you want the new plants.

  3. April Winkelmann

    Tom, would you be so kind as to give me a little info on cuttings from Lantana to make more plants. Thanks, April

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