br33August 29, 2011

Is it ok to water from bottom when propagating?. I understand that you should cover with clear plastic or glass in well light area at room temp. THANKS BILL

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Bill, I don't, but I suppose it may depend on your cutting medium. Enclosed, the cuttings may require no water and are better kept on the "dry side" (please don't mistake that to mean truly dry :)) since most problems are caused by excess water.

If I have to add water, I'll remove the covering and use a fine spray, not having anything as professional as a mist system. I'm adding moisture, not thoroughly soaking the peat/perlite mix. Let me also confess that my success with cuttings can be hit and miss, maybe when the E coast has settled down from Irene, you'll find some of the completely experienced propagators adding thoughts so please check back later.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:35AM
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thanks for the response, that follows the same info I`m getting from other sources. Bill

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:54PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Fshy, that's interesting, certainly a different approach.

And your unidentified plant on your site is a fuchsia, I don't know which one though, several have similar colors.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 6:18PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Got any pictures of those rooted stakes?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 7:36AM
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FshyPlnts(5, 6)

Thanks for the help with the ID morz8! I will post pictures as soon as possible. They are on a farm in CT, and I am currently in PA. I'll see if the farm manager can take a picture and send them to me!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 12:42AM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

This method may work for a particular variety of rhododendron under very specific conditions, but as a general method, I'm extremely skeptical about its effectiveness. A 1" diameter "stake" would be 3 to 4 years old and very, very unlikely to strike roots.

Rhododendron cuttings for propagation are generally taken from first year wood once it has sufficiently hardened in late summer to late fall. The cuttings are wounded (usually), treated with a hormone(usually), then placed in a mist chamber or poly covered flat to maintain 100% humidity. Bottom heat is often employed. A Nearing frame is another method. Propagation can also be achieved by using a conveniently low growing branch. The 1st year wood is wounded, buried in good "soil" with the leaves above ground and the branch still attached to the mother plant. Rooting takes palce in a year or more.

Sticking 1" diameter 2 foot long rhododendrons cuttings in the ground and expecting them to root as if they were willows is a guarantee of failure, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 5:47AM
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FshyPlnts(5, 6)

It is very common that commercial propagators, who have such equipment will utilize it to ensure a nearly 100% propagation rate. For those of us who do not have such tools at our disposal, we look for simpler, more economic methods to be used on a small-scale. While in your opinion the stake method is a guaranteed failure, I have 32 healthy bushes that give me reason to continue using this method. For the little work I have to put into it, a 95% return is good enough for me. :)I will be sure to try propagation from first-year cuttings next season to see how that improves production.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:43PM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

FishyPlnts: I do not wish to seem impolite, but the method of rhododendron propagation you advocate so contradicts everything known about propagation of this genus, that, to be frank, I simply do not believe your claims.

A 1" diameter rhododendron "stake" would perhaps have enough auxins and energy remaining to initiate a limited number of leaf clusters from already existing leaf buds as shown in your pictures, but that does not mean it has produced sufficient roots for long term survival or, indeed, any roots at all.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:19AM
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the answer to the first question is that watering through the medium (capillary watering, ebb and flow, osmosis, whatever you want to call it) is not such a good idea.

At the stage where you are making cuttings, you want the medium to be moist, but too wet will invite disease. Also, the plant you are propagating has no roots, no ability to absorb water that way, which is part of the reason that misting is utilized.

Fishy, I assume that when you say you have rooted dogwood trees in the manner you have described, you are NOT talking about Cornus florida, the typical tree form flowering dogwood? But rather one of the shrubby forms that flower in corymbs?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 3:18PM
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FshyPlnts(5, 6)

The dogwood we did this way was Cornus sericea, Red Osier. I miss-typed, its not a dogwood 'tree,' but rather a shrub. thanks for catching that there. I'll clarify that on my blog! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 2:22PM
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I worked with a small nursery (less then 10 acres).
We rooted most of the plants we sold.
The owner could get 100% from most R.Azaleas, we only rooted in the Spring & Summer for Azaleas.
We did not use air layering because you would have a large plant with a small root system. You would have to baby the plant/ limb for 24-36 months.
So we felt that we could root 4-6 inch cuttings & grow them to the same size in the same time.
I said that to ask if your plants have a large root system in a year?
If so, how long until you have a branched bush instead of a stick with roots.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:13PM
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FshyPlnts(5, 6)

I am not sure the size of the root system produced. I have only ever used this system to propagate the plants where they will finally be. The Rhods I just planted will be moved however, so I will let you know when we dig them up! Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 9:06PM
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I'd love to hear some updates on this Fishy.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 7:02AM
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FshyPlnts(5, 6)

Hey all.
Here's the update on these Rhods. Sorry it has been so long. Been really busy this summer! As mainegrower stated, the majority of the immediate growth on the stakes seems to be the result of residual auxins in the wood. As jolj said, it is best to do any rooting in the spring/ early summer. The stakes did develop roots, but they were developed too late in the summer and were not sufficient to sustain the plants throughout the harshness of the Ct winter. The stakes that developed the best roots were the small stakes ~1 inch. If the plants were better cared for in an environment in which they would receive the necessary treatment, I would be interested to see how the plants might do. Guess I'll have to try this again farther south? Thanks all for the comments and directions!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Much as we might wish that the ultra simple "stake method" would work for rhododendrons, it's really unlikely (I'd say impossible) no matter what the climate is like or how mild the winters might be in a more southerly area. Willows, forsythia, shrubby dogwoods, poplar and some other genrae can indeed be put in the ground as stakes and will root and grow on in fairly high percentage, but not rhododendrons.

The results reported above can, I think, be accounted for by a couple of factors. The pond-side location meant high atmospheric and soil moisture. Thus the energy already present in the stakes - the second factor - was sufficient to put out some new leaf growth (this frequently happens in more conventional rhodo propagation and does not automatically mean any roots have formed) and even some roots, though I find this very surprising. Once that initial energy is exhausted, the stake will stop any development and become a dead stick no matter how mild the winter.

Rhododendron propagation is not all that difficult for most varieties if some basic methods are followed. The "stake in the ground" method, however, will not result in a new rhododendron plant.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 5:23AM
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