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Several methods can be used to propagate or multiply tropical fruit trees, including 1) seed, 2) cutting, 3) micropropagation or tissue culture, 4) marcottage or air layering, and 5) grafting. Propagation by seed is regarded as the most “natural” method, but frequently the new plants are not identical to the mother plant. Thus physical and genetic variability occurs; new fruit tree varieties and cultivars are created via seedlings. However, asexual or clonal reproduction is the preferred method for establishing tropical fruit tree orchards and is typically used to multiply selected varieties and cultivars while ensuring that the genetics, physical and physiological characteristics, and fruit quality remain the same in the mother and daughter trees. Air layering, grafting, and tissue culture are the most commonly used techniques for producing clonal fruit trees.

Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI