I wonder…

Joan writes:

I spotted the wayward branching of a Rhododendron Scarlet Wonder and investigated further only to find the waywardness was actually brokenness.

The broken branch

On closer inspection, I concluded that damage was done a while back. The wee rhody has flowered profusely despite the branch in question hanging on by the proverbial thread.

A google search confirmed that the best way of propagating rhododendrons is preferably by layering (taking a stem/branch still attached to the main plant and pin it down under soil/compost and only severing its ties with the mother plant once roots have established from the pinned area), and if pushed, by heel cuttings. In late summer/autumn.

I was pushed. Into heel cuttings in the middle of Spring. I tore away the healthy looking shoots from the broken branch leaving a tear of main stem still attached to the new ‘cutting’.

Tear of main stem still attached to cutting

I nipped out any buds or blooms and removed all but a few leaves at the top of the cutting.

Buds and all but a couple of leaves nipped off

The entire cutting was then pushed ceremoniously into little pots filled with general purpose compost. I would have preferred to have mixed in a little ericaceous (acid loving) compost but none was to hand.

There were 10 in the bed……

A good watering ensued, and then the 10 pots were placed in a sheltered spot – where I’ll remember to check them for watering. I’ll cover with a little bit of shade netting to give them some respite from this glorious sunshine we are enduring!

The chances of all 10 taking root are pretty slim, but I wonder how many of my Scarlet Wonders will.

Happy Gardening. Joan

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