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What are the Different Methods of Plant Cultivation?

By N. Phipps
Updated May 16, 2024
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The act of gardening covers a wide array of practices and styles, from flowers and foliage plants to vegetables and herbs. There are also several methods for growing healthy, productive plants. However, successful plant cultivation depends on many factors. Some of these may include soil type, location, light, water, and temperature.

Indoor gardening is one of the most common practices used for cultivating plants. In addition to growing houseplants, many types of plants benefit from being started or grown over winter inside. Indoor plant cultivation offers growers a more controlled environment, resulting in stronger, healthier plant growth. While most plants that are grown indoors are found in pots or flats of soil, there are also soilless growing methods that can be implemented.

Hydroponics is a method of plant cultivation that does not require the use of soil. In its place, plants are provided with a growing medium such as gravel, sand, or something similar. They are then given a continual supply of nutrient solution, which produces healthier growth. This method is ideal for a wide range of plants and limited space. A similar alternative is aeroponics. Unlike hydroponics, this method uses no growing medium; instead, suspended plant roots are periodically sprayed with nutrient solution.

Some indoor plants can also be grown in water. Still others can be grown in a controlled environment and then coaxed into flowering—also known as forcing. Plant cultivation can take place in a greenhouse or cold frame as well. These covered enclosures can provide sunlight and warmth to seedlings and a variety of other container plants. Container planting can also take place outdoors.

Container gardening is another great alternative for cultivating plants in areas with little space. Nearly anything can be grown in a container, provided that adequate drainage is supplied. Pots or other containers should also be large enough to accommodate whatever is being grown. For those with more room, raised beds can be created for plant cultivation. This involves the use of some type of frame to hold the soil in place.

Not only are raised beds nicer in appearance, but they’re also better for plants and can be easily constructed in a number of styles and sizes. Raised beds are commonly used with organic gardening practices, like permaculture or keyhole gardening. Organically grown plants are healthier and the cultivation methods are better for the environment. Organic gardens need not be limited to beds, however.

Where space allows, large plots can be implemented for growing plants. Methods for planting can vary from seedling transplants to broadcast seeding. Hilling is another method used which involves placing seeds or transplants within mounded soil. Other plant cultivation methods for larger areas include companion planting, succession planting, and crop rotation.

Companion planting involves growing certain plants near each other. For instance, when grown together, some plants are thought to repel pests or enhance growth. Likewise, they may share compatible rooting patterns, such as shallow-rooted plants grown with deep-rooted ones. This works well with succession planting too. This method involves planting crops in two-week intervals to prolong flowering or harvesting.

Crop rotation is a method of plant cultivation that is commonly used to prevent nutrient depletion and reduce pest and disease issues. Crops are planted in different locations and rotated every few years. With so many cultivating options available, far too many to cover completely, it is always helpful for plant growers to research various methods in order to find the one best suited to their needs.

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Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On May 05, 2014

@Ana1234 - I do think that teaching children in schools how to grow plants and prepare them for the kitchen is a good idea though. You can teach the kids and then they will be able to help the rest of the family.

Industrialization brings a lot of perks, but knowing how to grow your own food is not one of them. It would definitely be better for everyone if this was considered more of a normal thing to do.

By Ana1234 — On May 05, 2014

@bythewell - It can be easy if you know what you're doing, but I don't think it's right to judge people who don't. I mean, if you dig up the average lawn and plant some seeds, they aren't going to grow well because the soil won't be ideal for them. Plant production is time consuming and requires specialized planning, as well as conditions and tools.

It's definitely within reach of the average person living in the suburbs, but it's not something that they would be able to do if not for laziness. It's something that they probably just don't have the time or resources to achieve. And, honestly, I don't even know if it is worth the resources it would take to get them to the point where they could grow gardens. Those resources might be better spent on making community gardens or something like that.

By bythewell — On May 04, 2014

I actually think that there isn't enough plant cultivation being taught in schools. You look at all these people who worry about being able to afford to buy healthy food and yet they spend money on keeping their lawn looking nice, when they could be growing a vegetable garden instead.

And it's ignorance more than anything, because they just don't know that growing food is actually pretty easy.

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