The Q&A Archives: Red Tip Photinia

Question: Please how I can do reproduction of Red Tip Photinia, and when is the best season. I live in California northwest. Thanks Magaly

Answer: Photinia is relatively easy to propagate. You can use either a layering technique or you can take tip cuttings. To layer, simply bend a branch down to ground level, injure it slightly by nicking the branch where it makes contact with the soil, anchor the branch down with a stone or two. Roots will form at the site of the injury as long as you keep it watered and anchored so it makes good soil contact.

Or, you can try tip cuttings. For cuttings, the new growth should be firm, mature, and slightly brittle. Make the cuttings in June, July, and August. Cuttings taken before June usually are too soft and rot easily. Cuttings after August are usually too woody and root slowly.

Before cutting, select branches that appear in the "right" stage of growth. To determine the "right" condition, test the branch by bending it to about a 90-degree angle. If it snaps instead of bending, it is "right" for making a softwood cutting.

Make cuttings with pruning shears or a sharp knife. Cut about half an inch below the node on a stem; cut at a slant. Remove the lower half of foliage, but be sure to leave at least one-third of the upper foliage to make food and enhance rooting. Always remove flower buds.

Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone (such as Rootone) to hasten rooting. Place the cuttings in a pot or box filled with a rooting medium. (Put cuttings about 2 inches apart, and keep the rooting medium moist at all times.)

Remember, at first, cuttings have no roots. Water is absorbed only by the foliage and other green parts of the plant. Use a fine mist to prevent wetting the rooting medium too much.

Most softwood cuttings root in 4 to 6 weeks. When roots are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, transplant into a permanent location or place in a container for further growth.

Best wishes with your project!

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