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How to layer rhododendrons

Overview

While you can't take cuttings from rhododendrons, there is a much simpler technique you can try - layering. Do it over the summer and by the following spring you'll have the beginnings of many new rhododendron plants.

How to do it

Selecting a rhododendron branch to layer

1Select a suitably low-growing and pliable young branch that will bend down to soil level. Remove any side-shoots but keep the cluster of leaves at the end of the stem.


Nicking the stem with knife

2About 15cm from the shoot tip, make a nick using a sharp knife on the underside of the branch - aim to cut just halfway through the stem. Dust the area with hormone rooting powder.


Pegging down the stem

3Dig a shallow hole at the point where the stem touches the ground and peg it down firmly to stop it springing up. Cover the stem at this point with compost.


Weighting down the shoot

4Weight the buried shoot down with a heavy stone and water regularly to keep the area moist. By autumn the layer will have rooted. Cut if off from the parent plant and replant.


Adam's tip

Although the rhododendron layer will have rooted by autumn, to give it the best chance of survival, wait until spring before you separate it from the parent plant.



Discuss this project

Talkback: How to layer rhododendrons
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wendy1953 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have a pyracanthus which had berries on when planted (2 years ago) but since then it has not flowered or berried can you please tell me why. It is a well established plant and looks very healthy.

laney john 17/08/2013 at 22:37

Thank you. x