propogating Arctostaphylos (bearberry)

WendyB(5A/MA)October 5, 2009

Has anyone ever taken cuttings of this? I wanted to take divisions from my several year old patch and transplant them, but when I went to get some, there weren't any. Apparently, it mostly grows as a mat. I managed to get a few tiny pieces of rooted layerings, but very few and they were very small.

Its probably the wrong time of year for cuttings. Anyone know? can't find much about it.

I think there is special rooting hormone for woodies. I probably don't have any. Would you recommend that?

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Wendy, this is a difficult plant to root. Probably your tiny already rooted cuttings are the best way to handle the situation. Pot them up in a mostly sandy soil with a bit of peat moss mixed in. Place in a protected, shady spot over the winter or in a cold frame if you have one.

Several other methods to try:

1. Bury the ends of your present plants with just the tip ends showing. They should root. Wait a year then sever them from the mother plant in the early spring and pot.

The next method requires a very delicate hand. Bearberry will only root from 'heel' cuttings. (Look up heel cuttings if you are not familiar with the technique and then you will understand what I am describing.) Select a stem. Now, very carefully pull the side branches down and away from the stem half way so the cutting is almost hanging but still attached. This will allow a callus to form on the partially severed part. Leave everything alone for the winter. In the spring cut off each torn stem, dust each with rooting hormone (Rootone is a good one) and pot in sand/peatmoss mixture. This method of callusing on the mother plant works well for all woodies. You can also try just ripping off some pieces of the side branches now using the same method, dipping the ends in Rootone and potting. Leave outside for the winter in a protected spot.

3. Collect and sow seeds in the sand/peat soil mix. Allow to sit outside through the winter.

Good luck! Not easy.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 3:14PM
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I have a ton of bearberry bought 5 years ago that is taking over too much of my garden. If anyones wants to take some of the rooted edges, please feel free to come by and have at it!


    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:00PM
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Lisa, thanks for the offer. Too bad you are quite far away from me. I am close to NH.

Nandina, thanks for that detail. with those propogation methods, I guess now I know why I don't see bearberry around the stores too often. I think I'll go with burying the tips of my mat to create more roots. I don't think mine have flowers/berries. I've never noticed them.

I had already planted the small pieces with roots that I had gathered. Hope they make it. They are in well draining soil in partial sun. I gave them a drink of biotone and will cross my fingers.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 8:51PM
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To little bid simplify method #1 offered by Nandina you could dust the soil on an edges of the plant and place several medium size rocks ON TOP of the dusted areas. Next summer you'll be able to severe plenty of rooted pieces.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 11:28PM
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Any tips on planting a potted Bearberry? Are they easy or difficult to plant? Should I err on the side of covering the trunk with dirt, or leaving roots exposed?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:45AM
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Does anyone know where I can buy some bearberry plants in the Montreal-Ottawa area?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:44AM
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