Rhododendrons: Starting a Rhodo

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by tpistrui, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. tpistrui

    tpistrui Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    I recently lost my Grandmother....She had a beautiful Rhotodendrun ( I hope I spelled it correctly) bush which bloomed the most gorgeous blossoms every year. The last few years of her life she had to live in a nursing home and those blooms were just amazing. My Uncle would take pictures of the bush to her at the nursing home and when she was out for the day we would take her to visit her bush at her home...She died at the end of April of last year and the bush just did not do well at all....My uncle cut a few dead pieces off so we will see if the plant is just grieving or dying...I would like to start a bush from her's...can anyone tell me what to do? I think Grandma would be very happy knowing someone loves her bush as much as she did
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,362
    Likes Received:
    392
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Maybe take a flowering branch to some local outlets at bloom time to get a variety name for it and track down a replacement specimen. This would be much easier than attempting to root the failing original from cuttings and grow on your own plants. If the same cultivar it will probably be the same clone, as rhododendron cultivars have been reproduced by grafting and later by cuttings commercially for some time. Such propagules are genetically identical to the mother plant.

    There are some rhododendron cultivars that consist of multiple clones being grown under the same name but these are a small minority of the kinds that have been sold. If you find stock at a garden center that looks just like the shrub you are attempting to duplicate you can probably be fairly confident that the purchased replacement is in fact the same plant genetically.
     
  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Still, it's easy to understand the emotional significance of this individual plant, genetics aside.

    Maybe the old plant isn't dying. The first thing to try is removing all the dead wood, looking for obvious signs of disease, giving it a bit of fertilizer, and coaxing it on as best you can.

    I've tried growing rhododendrons from stem cuttings, with zero success. I'm sure it's possible (for somebody, somewhere), given the proper facilities and a very green thumb -- you'd want to maintain nearly 100-percent humidity for an extended period of time, in not-too-hot temperatures with bright filtered or indirect light -- but it would be very challenging.
     
  4. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

    Messages:
    348
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire , England
    I don't think the success rate is good for 'hard wood cuttings',

    I tried several times with different species to no avail.

    Its going to be a sad year for I fear my Bichon's Rhodi which I had since 2001 is in its final year this year. It was bought in memory of her.

    Looks like Tpistrui and I are soon to go into one big sobbing session...pass me a tissue please!
     
  5. tpistrui

    tpistrui Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    Thank You every one for your kind and helpful advise...I will keep you all posted on how things turn out for the Rhodo Journey ahead of me....
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,362
    Likes Received:
    392
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    The point is if it is the same clone it is the same plant - one bought at a nursery and the one in the garden being grown from fragments of the same clone beginning with an original seedling or sport somewhere. All specimens of clonal plants, unlike clonal animals (like sheep) are considered a single individual.
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    i'm sorry for your loss!

    hardwood cuttings can be hard to do - i would recommend doing air-layering rather than taking a cutting. it takes a while and you'd need access to the bush during the process. if your grandma's house is going to be sold, you might not have enough time to do the air layering before the new owners move in.

    why not do a hard prune to get rid of any dead areas and then dig the bush up and move it to your location?
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,362
    Likes Received:
    392
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Rhododendrons are usually done using cuttings of the current season's growth, after they have firmed up a bit.
     
  9. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

    Messages:
    348
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire , England
    You know,

    I completely forgot about air layering. I remember we used to do that at our allottment..I think that maybe the answer to my Millie's plant.

    It will look scruffy (the mother plant) for some months but worth a try.

    Thanks Joclyn

    I tried Ron's way but always I seem to fail.
     
  10. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    820
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Union, Oregon
    depending on how big the bush is .. you could dig it up and move it to your place.. Rhodes have a shallow rootball .. thats the one good thing about them .. pretty much easy to dig up .. try that if you can ..

    Marion
     
  11. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

    Messages:
    348
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire , England
    Talking of rootball,

    My Rhodies never seem to have many roots at all, more like brown tree bark with the odd white root.
     

Share This Page