Saturday, 24 May 2014

STEP 4 Planting The Cuttings - Cloning Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

STEP 4 Planting The Cuttings
Once Steps 1 -3 have been completed, plant each cutting in the pots.  You will need a polythene bag to cover the plants with (I had already put the pots in the bag before planting) and an elastic band.

Ensure that they are firmly placed in the damp soil and that none of the cuttings are touching each other (to prevent rot).

To cover the plants, pull the polythene bag up around the plant, blow in as much carbon-dioxide as you can to the bag and then seal with an elastic band as below.

Voila - I will leave the cuttings sealed in the bag for 2 weeks (to hopefully grow roots).  NOTE: The cuttings will be left in a room that is warm with with lots of natural light.  Check back on this blog for STEP 5 in around 2 weeks time ... :)

STEP 3 The Hormone Gel - Cloning Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

STEP 3 The Hormone Gel
I bought some CLONEX Rooting Hormone Gel - supposed to be 'higher performance' than the powders - so thought would test this out.  It is also meant to be easier to apply and has better 'sticking' power as it is a gel and not a powder.

So, dip each cutting into the gel as below and then plant into the compost as prepared in Step 1.

See Step 4 for the planting of the cuttings.

STEP 2 The Cuttings - Cloning Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

STEP 2 The Cuttings
Choose a branch with new growth shoots - the one I chose had six.  Hopefully this will give me a good chance of at least getting one clone established.

NOTE: Ensure clean cutting surface and implements to minimise bacteria from getting into the shoot.  Ensure that cutting implements are sharp to allow for a clean cut.

I cut each shoot from just below a leaf node to enable rooting from this point.  The whole cutting is around 10cm in length.

I removed the leaves but four and cut the tips of the leaves as shown below.  This is to preserve water in the plant and allow it to focus its energies on root production.

Finally, I cut a 'wound' (slice) into the bottom of the shoot to allow for Step 3 - the hormone application.  The wound will absorb the hormone applied that will stimulate root growth.

STEP 1 The Compost - Cloning Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

In an effort to keep and share a plant that the ladies in my family like, I decided to clone it (propagate but cloning sounds better!).

Advice taken from the Royal Horticultural Society website.

STEP 1 - The Compost
Mix vermiculite and compost - this will form the basis for the clones to establish root.

Put the compost into pots and water - do not over-water.  Let the compost sit in the pots for around 20 minutes whilst making up the cuttings in STEP 2.