Propagation is the means by which we produce more breadfruit trees. The method of propagation selected by a grower will often depend on what breadfruit material he/she has access to and whether the breadfruit varieties are seeded or seedless.
Production of high quality breadfruit trees requires a combination of inputs including – access to a mother tree (to source the planting material), high quality potting media, a nursery structure to provide some shade and some level of skill in plant propagation. While almost anyone can propagate breadfruit at their home, plant nurseries are ideally suited to producing high quality trees in the volumes that a farmer generally wants. Check with your local plant nursery and if they are not producing breadfruit then encourage them to start by placing a pre-order.
There are generally four main methods for propagating breadfruit which are briefly described below:
- Seeds – these are extracted usually from soft ripe fruit and are planted immediately. If you are using this method, don’t leave it long between seed extraction and planting as the seeds lose viability within a few weeks. It is planted loose in well-drained soil that is kept moist. When planted, seeds germinate within 10-14 days and it grows very quickly to the point where it is ready to be planted into the field after a year of potting.
- Root cuttings – for mass seedling propagation, this method may be used where root sections of between 10-24 cm are readily available. It requires a suitable potting mix and is appropriate in rescue varieties. Growth from root cuttings takes up to 9-12 months before it is ready for field planting.
- Root suckers – Depending on the number of suckers available, this method can be very effective for mass propagation. This method can be the fastest way with time taken to raise seedlings as it only takes between 4-6 months.
- Marcotting – Marcotting, also know as ‘air layering’ is a propagation method that is time consuming and requires some skill. A major advantage of this method is that it produces trees that are past the juvenile stage and usually will begin fruiting much earlier than all other methods. Marcotting is a technique if you dont have access to many mother trees.
- Tissue Culture – Tissue culture breadfruit seedlings are becoming more available as interest in the crop grows. Tissue culture trees have demonstrated to be successful and often provide the grower with uniformity in the field. If you have access to a lab or nursery who can supply you with tissue culture breadfruit seedlings then give it a go.
Check out some of our key resources related to breadfruit propagation here.