|Layering is one of the easiest ways to propogate rhododendrons. It often occurs naturally. A branch dips below the surface or is covered with dirt and forms roots. Eventually the branch can be cut, and you have a new plant. Although layering is not suited to high volume production, it is a simple way to a clone of a prized rhododendron.||
The layered Leona rhododendron above has been developing roots for three years. It is still connected to the parent plant by its original branch. Below, the plant was dug and the branch severed. The stub was left for the picture to show how breaking the branch enabled it to grow upright. The healthy rootball makes independent survival likely.
||To improve the odds of success and create a more upright new plant, partially break the branch at the point you desire the new roots. Dig a hole and fill it with rooting medium. Treat the break with rooting hormone and bury the break. Stake the part of the branch past the break upright. Then go do something else for two or three years.|
Air layering is a variation of this type of propagation. Make a cut, slice, or small break on a branch and treat it with rooting hormone. If you choose a break, attach a split to hold it all firm in the wind. Mold a ball of rooting medium around the wound and wrap it in a plastic bag. Be sure the medium is quite damp but not saturated. Seal the bag with tape and waiat for the results.
|A healthy Anna Rose Whitney branch is air layered. Twine secures the bag and supports the weight. Duct tape seals the package.||
As with cuttings, some kinds of rhododenddrons root more easily than others. Upright growing shrubs are naturally less suited to layering in the ground.