How to Propagate

How to Propagate Vetiver

Photo Essay on Propagation VS_prop_planting_o.pdf (

There are many methods of propagation. Plants produced from a nursery whatever the size are generally of better quality. Experienced/traditional small farmers often just split their existing hedgerows using the downhill vetiver part of the hedge as transplants for new hedgerows. This system works under proper management and small numbers. Production of large numbers of quality and uniform slips should come from nurseries.  The cheapest and in most cases the best is production of bare rooted plant material. Vetiver in Thailand was successfully propagated (by the millions) in-vitreo, but even these should go through a nursery phase. Containerized plants are very good, but more expensive, and are recommended for use where the site conditions warrant them. Some of the other methods of propagation can be found in Document Center papers. The following photos show a step-by-step process of producing bare rooted vetiver slips. We thank Evan Millwood of Queensland, Australia for many of the photos.

Photo 1 A photo of an experienced vetiver user teaching new users about the basic planting unit (slip) and explaining how to plant and use it.
Photo 2 Original Vetiver mother (C.zizanioides), 4 years old, shovel is for scale. This is what many new propagation units start with.
Photo 3. A newly planted commercial nursery
Photo 4 A well managed nursery. Plants are irrigated and trimmed regularly to encourage tillering. Planting distances vary but a planting density of 60,000 plants/ha should be the target
Photo 5 Most nurseries are small and simple like this one that produces containerized vetiver plants. Their plants if properly grown are just as good as those from large commercial growers.
Photo 6 Harvesting (digging clumps), first trim plants to facilitate digging
Photo 7 Dig the trimmed clump
Photo 8 Cut the soil away from the clump sides leaving 5 cm of root below the crown
Photo 9 The group of tillers (slips) in your hand should be further divided to get groups of at least three tillers that becomes the basic transplanting unit
Photo 10 Ready for final trimming and division into 3 tiller planting slips
Photo 11 Trimming roots and leaves of slips with a machete
Photo 12 Trimming transplants with pruning shears
Photo 13 Transplants units ready for final trimming prior to shipping or planting
Photo 14 Final transplant unit that has been cleaned by removing any dead material
Photo 15 Cleaned transplant units from a single mature clump ready for use or shipping
Photo 16 Bundling the slips for transport
Photo 17 Transport, slips trimmed and bundled
Photo 18 Bare rooted slips from a small nursery stored under shade ready for bulk shipment
Photo 19. Some other propagation methods

Further reading and references on Vetiver basics

Vetiver System – Propagation & Planting

Vetiver Grass — The Hedge against Erosion  —  pages 19-22

Vetiver Planting Guide — Australia

The Vetiver System Vetiver Grass – Plant Propagation

A Look See at Vetiver — Malaysia

Techniques of Vetiver Propagation with Special Reference to Thailand 

Vetiver Grass Propagation – Vietnam — pages 19-44