Propagating for landscaping purposes

rlcouncilJanuary 26, 2011

I am new at the flower, shrub, and tree growing business so I have a couple of questions. I have a large piece of land in the country in central Florida. Most of the yard is shaded with large Oak trees with a couple of sun pockets. My goal is to grow many of my own shrubs and flowers from propagation to use for landscaping purposes. I built myself a small greenhouse (10�X16�) to use for growing. I bought a couple of Azaleas, cassias, and camellias. My first question is, are these kinds pretty easy to propagate? And are there any other plants great for landscaping in Florida that you would suggest? I have plenty of land that I can do many things with.

My next question is, I have a large compost pile made up of oak leaves, cow manure, grass clippings, hay, and any vegetable and kitchen goodies we can throw in there. Is this good to use to start the clippings in? Also is this a bad time of year to start propagating, or should I wait until the weather warms up a bit.

Another question is how long does it usually take from when I start the cutting to when the plant is large and strong enough to put into the ground? I have plenty of time I am just curious. Like I said before I am new to this so any advice would be much appreciated.

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madrone(VancIsl BC)

As I live in the PNW, I can only tell you what works for me. First, plants in the Rhodo family such as Azaleas, are not the easiest to propagate. Camellias are somethat easier to root, but still slow. I don't have any cassias so haven't tried those. Generally, for successful germination you are best off using sterile potting soil (I use half perlite and half Sunshine #1), planting into a seed tray with a large domed cover, and protecting the cuttings by keeping them in a shady location where the temperature is around 70-80' F. Using sterile, well draining soil is important because then you are not introducing unknown soil bacteria and microbes that can cause root rot and unwanted fungal activity. Get some that is recommended for propagation, as it contains more peat and is lighter than the regular sterile soil for potting on house plants. Consult some good propagation books such as THE PLANT PROPAGATOR'S BIBLE or THE COMPLETE BOOK OF PLANT PROPAGATION. They will guide you step by step as to when and what kinds to cuttings to take and how to go about doing so. Your success rate will be a lot higher if you do things correctly the first time around. It is a rewarding and fun experience to grow your own plants from little softwood cuttings. Let us know how you do. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 4:30PM
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If your intention is to develope a small grower farm, and you seek growth I wouldn't consider propagating. Propagating is a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of time to get good with all the different types of plants.

Have you considered producing plants on a mass scale with other avenues besides propagation methods? If you are in Florida, I would really consider looking into other kinds of sources. What you paid for that one azalea you probably could have had 32 plants instead of just one.

time wise, depends on the plant. Usually perennials you can sell within 2-3 months. Some shrubbery, depending on size that you start with, lets say a nice filled out 3 inch liner (starter) probably take you another 6 months to fill a one gallon container. Some plants grow slower or faster depending on the plant.

Trees, well. hmmm. Most professional growers don't start out with small trees any longer. We're more interested in turn around times. If you intend to deal with containerized trees expect a turn around time of 3-4 months to reap the most out of your investment. Atleast 200-300% profit if you do it the right way.

If you intend to grow trees in ground and want to produce landscaping grade specimens, 2-3 years in the ground before you should harvest your crop. But ofcourse all this depends on what you are starting out with.

You need to find some places where you only need to spend a couple dollars to get a very nice specimen where, you only need to have it planted for the minimal amount of time so you can get the best return from your investment.

I know, sounds confusing, but once you figure things out and think things through it'll make perfect sense. I wish I could explain things more but some aspects of the professional growing atmosphere shouldn't be shared on public boards.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 1:38AM
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