Wisteria Garden Circle

Tallahassee Garden Club

Air Layering Camellias with Howard Rhodes


   Jun 18

Air Layering Camellias with Howard Rhodes

Air layering is the process of propagating new camellias from previously established plants. The ancient Chinese developed a variation of this process by burying the branch of a living camellia under the ground to produce new roots.

Instead of having to wait several years for the camellia to reach a moderate size, air layering will typically produce a good-sized plant in just one year. The air layering process creates roots on an existing branch while it is still attached to the mother plant.

It is usually best to perform air layering in the spring (April). The propagated section of the plant can then be harvested and replanted in the fall (September).

To air layer camellias, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • sphagnum moss
  • water
  • aluminum foil (cut into 12″pieces)
  • small knife
  • rooting hormone
  • metal labels

Air Layering Instructions:

  1. Select the breed of camellia you’d like to replicate. On a healthy branch, remove about a 1″strip of bark, down to the cambium layer.
  2. Soak the sphagnum in water until very wet. Grab a handful of moss and wring out excess moisture.
  3. Place the moss on the aluminum foil (shiny side in towards the moss). Sprinkle the moss with the rooting hormone.
  4. Carefully wrap the aluminum foil and moss around the branch, making sure the rooting hormone comes into contact with the stripped area. Twist the ends of the foil around the branch in opposite directions so it will stay moist inside.
  5. Label with the name of the cultivar (and your name if necessary).
  6. Wait 6 months.
  7. (Hopefully) unveil your new rooted camellia. Cut the branch below the foil and plant!

For complete instructions with images, please visit: http://jefferson.ifas.ufl.edu/ag_pages/camellia_layer.PDF

Click on the thumbnails below to view photos of our air layering session with Howard.

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