Propagation Question

grow-anythingMay 21, 2010

Last year I rooted about 100 cuttings from the azaleas around my yard. I potted them up and they are in 4" pots now. I plan to try about 500 this season. I use large flats to start the clippings then place one cutting per pot. Question is should I be putting 2 or 3 cuttings per pot or is one enough to make a bushy azalea if they are trimmed correctly?

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I would prefer to put one clipping per 4" pot so the tiny fibruous roots do not entangle and become difficult to separate afterwards. But technically speaking, you could add more. Question though.... 500 cuttings?!? Wow! I am impressed!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 3:48AM
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Thanks, I built a hoop house and made a misting system just for this project and seed starting. I guess my question was not real clear. I didn't plan to separate them later if I used more that one cutting. It appears to me that some professionally grown plants may have more that one "trunk" which appears to be from multiple seedlings in one pot. I guess that should have been my question if you know?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:46AM
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Its common in the nursery industry to use more than one azalea cutting in the same pot. Most people don't notice but if you look at a potted azalea it will usually have more than one trunk.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:01AM
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Think of the concept in the European royal houses of "an heir and a spare." I think the same idea exists in the nursery industry. It's commonplace to put two or more rooted plants in the same pot. If one dies, there's another to take its place. Whenever I buy small azaleas, camellias, or other woody ornamentals, I look for a container with more than one plant in it. Then, I separate the plants and pot them in individual containers, thus having two plants for the price of one. If, however, I were propagating cuttings from my own azaleas, I would not want multiple rooted plants in a single container. I would prefer not to have to separate them later on. A single plant should grow better than several plants crowded together in the same pot.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 1:14PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I just spent 2 weeks visiting nurseries in the US and Germany and didn't find a single one that put two cuttings in a pot. They strive for 100% success and placing multiple cuttings in a pot cuts production and increases costs.

To answer your question, do what you want. But don't do it because you think it is the norm. One per pot is the norm. They normally do the rooting in flats, then when the roots have formed they transplant the ones with acceptable root growth into pots. It is a quality control step. They don't even try to grow plants with poor root production. Some times they can just pick the root cutting up by the top and the roots will pick up rooting mix if the roots are well developed.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 9:29AM
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