Camellia/Magnolia Water Propagation

matthew-williamJuly 30, 2013

Hello, everybody.

I'm a complete novice and amateur when it comes to gardening, so please forgive me. In my garden, we have to most beautiful Camellia tree (I believe it's a Japonica) and a Magnolia tree; we're moving home in a few weeks time and are saddened to part with them, until we had the idea of taking a cutting.

I'm crossing my fingers with what I've done already, although I know I haven't done the usually recommended with rooting hormones, sand etc.

Two weeks ago, mid July, I took cuttings from both the Camellia and Magnolia.. I prepared the cuttings as well as I could, grafting the ends and I popped them straight into water and onto a windowsill.
From what I can see, they seem to be doing well thus far. Three shoots (or buds?) have sprouted from the wooden exterior of the cutting, towards the upper region the remaining 1 inch is hardening, the larger buds on top look to be healthy and growing steadily, and also the two leafs I kept on the cutting (which I cut in half to reduce energy wastage) look absolutely healthy.

The Magnolia cutting also looks healthy and the shoots are steadily growing.

This is all in comparison to second cuttings of each tree which I put in free draining pots, which aren't looking healthy at all.

My question is, is there anything more I can do to ensure these cuttings I'm propagating in water stay healthy and, fingers crossed, root. I have read somewhere on the web that certain cuttings in water can actually rot.

Thank you in advance for any offerings of advice! As I said, they look lovely and healthy so far, of the two weeks they've been in water, I'd just be saddened if they failed like my potted attempt.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If you decide to try the cuttings in a proper potting medium, search for the term 'moisture tent' or similar. I think you'll find numerous discussions of such, both here and from a google search.

You might also search for some of the 'rooting in water' threads here in this forum. There have been a number of them describing the problems of this method.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:17PM
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Top growth on cuttings in water is not a reliable sign that they are going to root. Just as cut flowers continue to open buds in water, so do cuttings. Both Camellia and Magnolia are fairly tricky to root from cuttings and your best bet is to follow RHS advice. I've linked to Camellia. Just Google for Magnolia. Attempting to root in water is not an optimum method and two weeks is no time at all. Expect to wait around 3 months for Camellias to root, even when done in the appropriate medium.

Without wanting to sound too negative your best bet would really be to try and id the varieties you have and buy new plants for your new garden. Even if your cuttings were to be successful they would take several years to make good sized shrubs. But by all means give it a go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rooting camellias.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 7:52AM
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