Study Seed Propagation Techniques to enhance your skills and develop your career. 
Seed propagation can be inexpensive and with many (not all) types of plants, it is the most cost effective way of propagating large quantities quickly. Some plants though germinate easily, and others don't. For some species seed and seedlings must be handled in a very particular way to ensure not only germination, but also survival of the seedling. This is a course provides valued industry skills for people working with:
  • Production nurseries
  • Seed companies
  • Re-vegetation projects
  • Plant breeding

Plant Propagation Home Study Course

  • Learn to propagate plants by seed
  • Course developed by John Mason (author of 45 books), and a team of professional qualified and experienced propagation experts from both the UK and Australia
  • One on one tuition
  • Get a job in propagation, start a business or improve on existing knowledge and skills.

Who is this course for?

  • Anyone who is passionate about propagation
  • Students, nurserymen, horticulturists or gardeners who want to expand their horticultural skills
  • Land managers, farmers, environmentalists, seed collectors, botanists or anyone else who wants to broaden their knowledge and work skills

Duration:  100 hours -this is more than your standard one night a week short course!

This course assumes general foundation knowledge of plant propagation. For those with industry or significant amateur experience, the course may contain some sections that are little more than revision, but for anyone with minimal or no knowledge of seed propagation, some additional reading may be required in parts in order to gain optimum benefit from the course.

Lesson Structure

There are nine lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction - scope, open ground propagation, controlled environment propagation
  2. Seed Botany - anatomy and physiology, pollination, hybridisation, genetic purity, etc.
  3. Seed Sources - selection, collection, timing, wild collecting
  4. Seed Storage - treatments; cleaning, drying, storage, disease control, germination testing
  5. Dormancy - and breaking dormancy
  6. Germinating Annuals, Perennials and Vegetables
  7. Propagating selected Woody Species
  8. Direct Seeding - grasses, woody species, revegetation projects, etc.
  9. Seedling Management


  • Discuss the nature and scope of commercial seed propagation.
  • Explain the botanical characteristics of seed and the processes that occur when a seed germinates.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for harvesting different seeds in different situations.
  • Determine appropriate treatments for different types of seeds following harvest in order to sustain viability.
  • Determine appropriate treatments for breaking dormancy in order to initiate germination with a range of different seeds.
  • Determine how to sow and germinate seed of commonly grown herbaceous plants including vegetables, annuals and perennials.
  • Determine appropriate propagation techniques for a range of woody plants including trees, shrubs, ground covers and climbers.
  • Determine propagation and plant establishment strategies for developing a variety of different types of plantings through direct seeding onto sites where germinated plants will remain permanently in the position where the seed germinates.
  • Manage germinated seedlings as they develop in a way that will optimise the survival rate.


Seeds can be propagated in many different ways, including:

· Sowing directly into the open ground.

· Sowing into natural soil, improved soil in a controlled environment (eg. in a greenhouse, with heating cables in the ground or in raised beds, and with irrigation).

· Sowing into specialised propagating media in a controlled propagating environment.

Many seedling production nurseries (both private and commercial) specialise in the production of specific types of plants for example:

  •  vegetable seedlings
  •  colourful annuals
  •  forestry trees
  •  natives trees for re-vegetation projects
  •  seedling trees for use as root stock
  •  ferns
  •  perennials
  •  biennials
  •  cut flowers
  •  herbs

These nurseries may obtain their business:

Through contracts

o from government agencies for re-vegetation projects

o from the forestry or agriforestry industries for tree seedlings

o from vegetable growers for vegetable seedlings

o for production of seedling species used as rootstock (ie. roses, fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs)

o from large chain stores for the supply of annuals, biennials and perennials


· From the general public by operating as a retail nursery.

· From other nurseries such as ‘growing-on’ nurseries, retail nurseries and other retail outlets, landscapers , local government - by operating as a production (propagation) or wholesale nursery.


Retail nurseries that also propagate their own stock tend to grow a wide range of plants. However they may also buy in certain species that they may not have the expertise or the room to grow eg. roses, ferns and bonsai, are usually grown by specialists.

Commercial nurseries tend to specialise in one or more species or types of plants (for example colourful annuals or vegetable seedlings) and usually have huge production runs - more like a factory then a nursery.


Private nurseries (large or small) are diverse and cover a large range of species propagated from seed including forestry plants, grasses, natives for re-vegetation, organically produced seedlings etc. although they may specialise in one area.