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Re: propagating azaleas and camellias

Thanks Marge and Jim!

Beaufort, SC Zone 8b

> [Original Message]
> From: Marge Talt <mtalt@hort.net>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 3/25/2006 8:10:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [CHAT] 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).
> Camellias:
> "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
> cuttings.
> 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
> three,
> and dip the stem ends into a rooting hormone such as Rootone. (Follow
> the
> direction with the hormone.) With a nail or other such tool, punch
> holes
> 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
> container
> 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
> direct
> sun will not over heat it. About once or twice a month, open the bag
> and
> mist the cuttings with tepid water, using a Windex or other such
> sprayer.
> 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
> during
> the cold of winter. Oh, remove the plastic bag after the cuttings
> have
> rooted, but do not allow the soil mixture to dry out and do not over
> water.
> (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
> larger
> containers or if they are strong enough, plant them in a protected
> location."
> ..........
> 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
> poss.
> Have fun!
> Marge
> Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> mtalt@hort.net
> Shadyside Garden Designs
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