Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Few Thoughts on 'Propagation Prohibited'

Yesterday I mentioned that the geraniums I had bought had propagation prohibited on the tag.  Essentially the plant developer holds the rights to that plant so you are not supposed to propagate the plant by asexually means such as cuttings or divisions.  You can however propagate the plant through pollination meaning you can collect seeds it produces.  On the surface the Plant Holder's Rights offers protection to the plant developer for their intellectual property.  However, it is up to the plant developer to enforce their rights.  They must go through the court system for damages if someone infringes on the Plant Holder's Rights.  Herein lies some of the problems with the Plant Holder's Rights.

  • The only policing of Plant Holder's Rights is the person (company) who owns the rights to their protected plant.  The onus is on them to provide evidence that you are asexually propagating their protected plant and selling or otherwise distributing it.  Unless the plant has been rendered sterile through the hybridization it would be difficult to determine visually if propagation had been asexual or sexual.  Genetically suspected plants could be tested but the reality is this is costly and not really feasible unless a lot of money is at stake.
  • They cannot legally enter onto your property to see if you are propagating their protected plant.  In extreme cases where there is sufficient evidence that you are selling their protected plant in amounts that would indicate that you were propagating large numbers of them, they might be able to get a warrant. 
  • Plant tags get lost all the time.  As a home gardener it is easy to remember the names of plants but whether one is protected or not is a detail easily forgotten especially over the years.  In a mature garden tags more than likely are non-existent.  Adding to this problem is people often move inheriting whatever plants the previous owner planted in the gardens.  Without plant tags the new homeowners have no idea whether a plant in the garden at the house the just moved into is a protected plant or not so may easily propagate the plant via cutting or division. 
How does the Plant Holder's Rights affect you as a home gardener in Canada?  Essentially as long as you are not propagating a protected plant for the purposes of selling it you are fine.  Taking a cutting or dividing the plant for your own personal use if fine especially as some plants must be divided otherwise they become too crowded and you end up losing the entire plant.  I would not recommend trading any plant from your cuttings or divisions and certainly do not sell any.  Trading does seem to be a bit of a grey area though as does giving away plants from cuttings or divisions.  Again it goes back to the problem that you may not even know a plant in your garden is protected.  You can certainly collect the seeds but realize that hybrids do not breed true.  This in itself can be an interesting experiment just to see what you do end up with and you might like the resulting plants even though they don't resemble the parental plant.  You have a better chance of getting a parental type if you cross pollinate two of the hybrid plants.  Some plant developers recognize this so have developed the plant to be sterile. If you want to avoid the whole issue of Plant Holder's Rights then don't buy any hybrid plant marked with PP, propagation prohibited, asexual propagation prohibited or PPAF (propagation prohibited application filed).  Technically PPAF has no bearing on the home gardener since the plant is not and possibly might not be granted protection.  Older heirloom varieties are another option for your gardens. 

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for commenting. Your message will appear once approved.