A guide on successfully propagating rhododendron through cuttings


Taking cuttings is a widely used method for propagating different varieties of rhododendrons. Whether you’re propagating vireyas, which are tropical leafed rhododendrons, or larger, hardier varieties for your garden, the steps are much the same. The ideal time to take rhododendron cuttings is in the winter, when the plants are dormant, but they can also be taken in late spring or early summer.

The first step in taking rhododendron cuttings is to choose a healthy mother plant. Look for a plant that has vibrant foliage, flowers, and a strong root system. Make sure the plant is well maintained and free from any diseases or pests. It’s also important to choose a mature plant that is at least a few years old.

Once you’ve chosen the right plant, the next step is to prepare the cutting. Using a sharp, clean knife, cut a stem that is about 4-6 inches long. Make the cut just below a leaf node, where the leaf joins the stem. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting, leaving only a few leaves at the top. This will help to reduce moisture loss and encourage root growth.

Before planting the cutting, it’s a good idea to dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. This will stimulate root growth and increase the chances of success. Fill a pot with a well-draining, sterile rooting medium, such as a mix of half sand and half peat moss. Make a hole in the center of the pot, and insert the cutting, making sure that the lower leaf nodes are covered with soil.

Water the cutting thoroughly, and place the pot in a warm, bright location, but away from direct sunlight. The soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged. You can cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect and help retain moisture. After a few months, the cutting should develop roots and your new rhododendron plant can be transplanted into a larger pot or planted directly in the garden.

It’s important to be patient and careful when propagating rhododendron cuttings. These plants can be a bit finicky, so it’s important to provide the right conditions and care. With the right techniques and a little bit of practice, taking rhododendron cuttings can be an easy and rewarding way to grow new plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, try propagating rhododendrons from cuttings and see what beautiful plants you can grow!

Start Rhododendron from Cuttings

If you’re a rhododendron enthusiast and want to keep the mother plant’s share, propagating it from cuttings is a great way to do so. Rhododendrons, also known as azaleas, are beautiful flowering shrubs that can be propagated from both softwood and hardwood cuttings.

Rhododendron cuttings are usually taken during the spring season when the plants have leafed out but are not yet flower buds. The cuttings should be about 4-6 inches in length and should be taken from healthy and strong shoots of the mother plant.

The first step in propagating rhododendrons from cuttings is to prepare the equipment you will need. You will need a sharp and sterilized blade or pruners, rooting hormone powder, a container for the cuttings, and a mixture of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite for propagation.

Start by making a clean, slanting cut just below a bud on the mother plant. Remove any flowers or flower buds, as well as any leaves on the lower portion of the cutting. Leave a few leaves at the top to provide energy for the cutting to grow.

Next, dip the bottom end of the cutting into rooting hormone powder. This will help stimulate root growth. Then, insert the cutting into the container filled with the peat moss and perlite mixture. Make sure the container has good drainage.

Place the container in a location where it will receive bright, indirect light, such as near a window. Keep the soil moist but not too wet. The cuttings should start growing roots within a few weeks.

After a few months, the cuttings should have formed strong roots and can be potted up into individual containers. Keep the potted cuttings in a sheltered location for their first winter, and then transplant them to a permanent location in the garden the following year.

It’s important to note that not all rhododendron varieties can be propagated from cuttings. Some varieties are better suited for grafting, which is a more advanced propagation technique. If you’re unsure about the best propagation method for a specific variety, it’s always a good idea to consult a knowledgeable gardener or a reliable source for more information.

In summary, propagating rhododendrons from cuttings is a great way to maintain healthy and beautiful plants. By following the step-by-step process outlined above, you can successfully start new rhododendrons from cuttings and enjoy their lovely flowers for years to come.

Source: “How to take rhododendron cuttings”, Garden Making, v15n4.

How to take rhododendron cuttings

To propagate rhododendrons, taking cuttings is a common and effective method. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a branch from a healthy rhododendron plant that you want to propagate. Make sure it has enough foliage and is not too old or too young.
  2. Using a sharp and clean blade, make a cutting about 4-6 inches long, cutting below a set of leaves.
  3. Remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting, leaving only a few leaves on the top.
  4. If the rhododendron variety has thick and soft leaves, you may dip the bottom end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder before planting.
  5. Fill a propagation tray or a pot with a mixture of equal parts peat moss and sand. Make sure the mixture is moist but not waterlogged.
  6. Using a pencil or a stick, create a hole in the center of the mixture and insert the cutting into it. Gently firm the mixture around the cutting to hold it in place.
  7. If you’re using a propagation tray, cover it with a plastic dome or place it inside a plastic bag to create a humid environment. This will help the cutting retain moisture.
  8. Place the tray or pot in a warm and well-lit area, but avoid direct sunlight. Maintain the moisture in the soil by watering from the bottom and misting the leaves occasionally.
  9. After a few weeks, check the cutting for root development by gently tugging on it. If it resists, roots have started to grow. If not, give it more time.
  10. Once the cutting has developed strong roots, you can transplant it into a larger pot or into a well-prepared planting bed outdoors. Take great care not to damage the roots during this process.

Remember that rhododendron cuttings are most successful when taken in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts. Azaleas, being a type of rhododendron, can also be propagated using the same method. Some varieties, like Vireyas, can be more challenging to propagate and may require additional care and specific conditions.

How to take cuttings from a rhododendron

When it comes to propagating rhododendrons, taking cuttings is a common method used by gardeners. Here, we will explain the manner in which cuttings can be taken from a rhododendron plant.

In places such as the islands where these flowering shrubs are native, rhododendrons propagate naturally. However, for those looking to propagate specific varieties of rhododendrons, taking cuttings is a more reliable method.

To start, choose a healthy rhododendron plant from which to take the cuttings. Look for a strong, leafed branch that is around half an inch in diameter. Carefully remove a section of this branch using a sharp blade, taking care to make a clean cut below a leaf node.

Once you have taken the cutting, remove the lower leaves and any flower buds from the stem. This step is important as it allows the energy of the cutting to be focused on root development rather than sustaining leaves and flowers.

Next, prepare a container for your cutting. It is recommended to use a mixture of sand and peat moss or a well-draining soil mix to provide the ideal conditions for root growth.

Before placing the cutting in the container, dip the bottom end into a rooting hormone. This will encourage the rhododendron cutting to form roots more quickly. Gently tap off any excess hormone powder before planting.

To plant the cutting, create a hole in the center of the container using your finger or a pencil. Insert the cutting into the hole, making sure it is firmly planted in the soil. Lightly press the soil around the base of the cutting to ensure good contact.

To create a greenhouse effect and retain moisture, cover the container with a plastic bag or place it in a propagator. This will create the ideal environment for the cutting to root. Keep the container in a warm and well-lit area, but out of direct sunlight.

During the rooting process, it is important to monitor the moisture levels in the container. If the soil feels dry, mist the cutting with water or carefully water it from below. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rotting.

After a few weeks, check for root development by gently tugging on the cutting. If there is resistance, it means roots have formed. At this stage, you can gradually acclimate the cutting to normal growing conditions by increasing the ventilation and removing the plastic cover.

Once the cutting has well-established roots, it can be transplanted into a larger container or directly into the garden. Take care not to damage the delicate roots when transplanting.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate rhododendrons from cuttings. With care and patience, you can grow a diverse range of rhododendron varieties in your own garden.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.