Some examples of vegetative propagation are farmers creating repeated crops of apples, corn, mangoes or avocados through asexual plant reproduction rather than planting seeds. Vegetative propagation can be accomplished from side-shoots, slips, stems and sections of tubers, bulbs or rhizomes. Although many plants can be grown both asexually and from seeds, some highly-domesticated and specialized food crops have been grown for so long by vegetative propagation that they can no longer be produced by seed planting.
Plants reproduce sexually from seeds and spores as a means of promoting the offspring variability that can enable them to adapt better to their environment. The seed-generated plant combines parent traits in new and often unpredictable ways that may prove to be beneficial to the species' survival. However, this is not always a sought-after outcome in agriculture. Farmers producing desirable and profitable cash crops tend to prefer a new crop with the same characteristics as the previous one. When the cultivation of identical plants through vegetative propagation from a single parent plant is possible, it can often become the preferred option rather than planting seeds. Vegetative propagation is often viewed as a form of cloning, but the new plant may not always be an exact genetic replica of the parent.
Some woody perennial and herbaceous plant species require no human assistance and will reproduce asexually by vegetative propagation naturally. A localized growth of a species that is able to survive and expand in a relatively harsh environment through vegetative propagation of single plants is referred to as a "clonal colony."