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Waiting too long to repot cuttings my main gardening error

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  • Mike Creel
    I have been involved an a book updating project(dogs not plants) for a few months now and just completed my part of the work. So some important gardening
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2008
      I have been involved an a book updating project(dogs not plants) for a few months now and just completed my part of the work. So some important gardening chores like repotting azalea and rhododendorn cuttings had to be put on hold. During the same period our drought switched gears and became a rainy period.

      In checking my propagation area yesterday I found that I had waited too long to repot some (not the majority though) to divide and repot some successfully rooted cuttings. Most cutting mortalities were in pots where the medium was too deep or where I had not drilled supplemental drainage holes in the lower side wall, resulting in saturation of the medium. All these pots were heavy feeling due to the overly wet medium. Cuttings were prospering in the light-feeling pots that maintained good drainage.

      Also I found saturated medium and dead cuttings (that had rooted and looked well earlier) in some of the domepots where I had used a plastic colander filled with long fiber sphagnum moss. If anyone else is using long-fiber sphagnum to root azaleas and rhododendrons outdoors (where watering is uncontrolled due to rains) I would advise them to repot the cuttings into a bark mix just as soon as they are well rooted.

      Yesterday I stuck some R. vaseyi woody cuttings into a hanging basket converted to a domepot with the top half of a 3-liter bottle as the humidity dome. Hawaiian Punch and GatorAid bottles also make good humidity domes. As soon as I write and mail a few bill payments, I will get back to some much needed repotting. I am excited about some WhiteStone rhododendron and white Royal Azalea cuttings, stuck this past winter, that are rooted and ready to pot individually.

      I would love to hear anyone's suggestions on effective repotting of rooted cuttings and seedlings. I am weak on this subject.

      Mike Creel
      Lexington, SC
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