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Re: [AZ] Rooting azaleas and rhododendrons in water (floating pots)?

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  • Mike Creel
    Ron, thank you for responding.  I remember an earlier discussion of Warren Bergs root mist device.  The principle seems similar to hydroponics.  My floating
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 19, 2013
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      Ron, thank you for responding.  I remember an earlier discussion of Warren Bergs root mist device.  The principle seems similar to hydroponics.  My floating pot system is much easier to set up and use, pretty much carefree.  Once cuttings are well rooted and with a second growth of mature leaves and wood, it should be easy to wean a pot of growing cuttings from floating in water.  If you want to try it I can mail you a couple of my pots.

      Mike Creel, SC USDA Zone 8a
      Lexington, South Carolina

      From: Ron Rabideau <rhodyrex@...>
      To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 7:46 AM
      Subject: Re: [AZ] Rooting azaleas and rhododendrons in water (floating pots)?

      I enjoy hearing of you methods and I think you are spot on in that a good 
      supply of oxygen is critcal to have in the rooting media. Warren Berg once 
      created an experimental rooting device that I saw that used no media at 
      all! He created a sealed box with a reservoir of water in the bottom and 
      suspended the cuttings stuck into a plastic film(food wrap- like Saran). 
      The bottoms of the cutings were not in the water, but in the 100% humidity 
      air above the water. I think he must have had lights above the box. The 
      rhododendron cuttings rooted just fine, although he did say it was 
      difficult to transition the rooted cuttings into soil because it was hard 
      to get the media into the fibrous root system.


      On Thu, 18 Jul 2013 22:40:29 -0400, Mike Creel <mikeacreel@...

      > Admittedly, I do some pretty way out experiments in growing and 
      > propagating plants, but a fair number of them do work for me, and a few 
      > other people who try them.  Here is another one that will little  to 
      > try.
      > In my employment days I used to speak to garden clubs and was often 
      > asked whether a particular plant will root in water.  I usually replied 
      > not easily, for most plants unless they were originally aquatic plants. 
      > Mature green stems of the confederate rose, Hibiscus mutabilis, will 
      > however root in a bucket of water in one's kitchen during the winter or 
      > anytime.  But azaleas and rhododendrons, to my knowledge will not root 
      > in a glass or vase of water.  I think the problem is a lack of oxygen in 
      > the water.
      > Azaleas (and possibly evergreen rhododendrons) will, for me somehow, 
      > root in a pot floating in a garden pool of fairly well aerated water.   
      > I use such pots (I call plant buoys) mainly for growing pitcherplants.
      > Often I  have written and posted photos on how I make and use floating 
      > pots in our garden pond, which has a continuously running pump and 
      > little waterfall.  The pots are made to float by creating a collar of 
      > foam, with Great Stuff for Large Cracks to be exact.  Before spraying 
      > the collar (with a pot inverted on a flat surface on a sheet of wax 
      > paper)  I drill a pattern of 3/4 inch drainage holes  in the pot. Media 
      > is important.  I fill the lower half or two thirds of the pot with pine 
      > cones, which lightens the pot, and fill the remainder of the pot with a 
      > mix of 3 parts pine bark mini-nuggets to 1 part coarse, washed sand (as 
      > used in a swimming pool filter).
      > These pots are mainly used for growing various aquatic plants, Marsh 
      > Pinks, sundews and pitcher plants.  But the pot as described above 
      > floating in my pond in full to part sun will function to root both 
      > evergreen and deciduous azaleas.  I use short woody cuttings (a rosette) 
      > with mature leaves trimmed to half length (no soft immature leaves), the 
      > terminal bud pinched off, one side of the lower stem scarified, no 
      > rooting hormone.  Before sticking each cutting make a hole in the media 
      > with something like a pencil, preferably smaller.  Push the cutting down 
      > so the lowest leaves are flush with the media surfact.
      > I have a several years old evergreen azalea rooted and now growing in 
      > the manner above in a floating pot.  Recently I stuck a floating pot 
      > with deciduous azaleas, that have not wilted after a week.  In a few 
      > days I will stick a floating pot with evergreen big leaf rhododendrons, 
      > probably chapkmanii, catawbiense and maximum.  I think that plants 
      > rooted in this manner could easily be transitioned to drier, 
      > well-aerated media.  If deciduous azaleas could be easily rooted large 
      > scale in floating pots, it would be a giant step in horticulture.
      > I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has rooted azaleas or 
      > rhododendrons in a similar manner.  I would would also appreciate any 
      > honest questions for clarification or details.  For naysayers, nothing 
      > ventured, nothing gained.
      >  Mike Creel, SC USDA Zone 8a
      > Lexington, South Carolina

      Ron Rabideau
      Camden, NJ
      Zone 7b


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