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Re: propagating azaleas and camellias

Andrea,  I've rooted evergreen azaleas without a lot of difficulty;
never tried Camellias as I don't grow them.  Here's a saved post on
rooting Camellias that might help, followed by a compilation of posts
from the old azalea list for evergreen azaleas......understand
deciduous ones are another story and more difficult to root
(including native deciduous).


"Propagating camellias is quite easy. I've never layered a camellia,
although I know it can be done no prob; I've mostly dealt with
I prefer to root them in summer, as soon as the new growth is firm.
Around late June/July in this area. But in fact you can root
camellias anytime during the year if you take the right cutting!. I
prefer summer as then I can take profit of the warm temps: you just
need a box with some porous medium (50% peat 50% perlite is the
classic, but I've heard wonders about using finely ground bark
instead of peat, or some people swear for vermiculite (I do not),
etc... It is very important to moist the rooting medium, spray the
cuttings with a general fungicide, and then cover with clear plastic
to keep the inside humidity close to 100%. You will see fine droplets
all over the plastic, that means you have got the right humidity and
temp. Kind of mini greenhouse. :-). It is essential to place this box
away from direct sun, but not in a too dark location. Forgot to say
about the use of rooting hormones, which many people find important
too... I think the key with camellias is patience.!"

Evergreen Azaleas:

" the rule of thumb I have heard is that evergreen azaleas root best
when the wood is just hard enough to snap when the stem is bent "

"If the plant is evergreen, take several cuttings from the shrub when
the new
growth is about 3" in length. Have a pre-prepared container loaded
with a
moist mixture of 50% shredded peat moss and 50% coarse Perlite.
(another poster noted: "Rooting media can be 50% perlite and 50% peat
or pine fines or sand and peat ")

A plastic butter bowl with a few holes punched in the bottom for
drainage will work
fine. Carefully strip all the leaves from the cutting, except the top
and dip the stem ends into a rooting hormone such as Rootone. (Follow
direction with the hormone.) With a nail or other such tool, punch
into the rooting medium and insert the cuttings. Do not insert them
all the
way to the bottom of the container, for rot may set in. Water in the
cuttings lightly to evacuate the air and give good soil contact.

Place about four plant markers or other such supports around the
and slip the entire container and cuttings into a plastic bag and
seal it. 

(another poster said to cover loosely but allow some air in.  Seems
to me that mine -been a long time since I've done it- were not
totally sealed, just folded the plastic under the pot - in my
experience, tho', softwood cuttings need a more air-tight environment
a they wilt at the slightest hint of dry air)

You now have a mini greenhouse. Place this in a shady location where
sun will not over heat it. About once or twice a month, open the bag
mist the cuttings with tepid water, using a Windex or other such
Roots will form in about six to twelve weeks, but leave the rooted
cuttings in the container for the time being and give them protection
the cold of winter. Oh, remove the plastic bag after the cuttings
rooted, but do not allow the soil mixture to dry out and do not over

(note from me on removal of plastic bag - you need to do this over a
period of a few days; open it up for a day or so then slip it halfway
off for a day or so and then remove it.  If you just whip it off, the
cuttings will get a shock and can wilt easily)

The following spring, remove the rooted cuttings and pot them up in
containers or if they are strong enough, plant them in a protected


You need to keep an eye on cuttings.  You don't want them to ever dry
out, but you have to keep checking for dead leaves and mold in an
enclosed situation...remove dead leaves and obviously dead cuttings
immediately.  You want to work with clean equipment when you do
cuttings to avoid contamination by air born mold spore....and no
actual garden soil; only bagged media and it should be new bags if

Have fun!


Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Shadyside Garden Designs

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