camellia - Knowledgebase Question

greer, sc
Question by suerobinson
April 29, 2006
how do i start a camellia from a cutting...i have had it in a vase of water for months, and while is it still alive., there are no roots...i also have tried putting rooting hormone and putting in in moistened vermiculite..and it died...please help.i only have these two cuttings in water left of a sentimental plant...thank you

Answer from NGA
April 29, 2006


Success with cuttings depends in part on what time of year the cutting was taken and how it has been handled in the interim. Some varieties do not root well at all from cuttings, while others are easier. So it may or may not be successful no matter how you try to do it, in other words, this is a difficult (and slow) project. Even when successful it can take months for this plant to root from a cutting.

Here are three sets of instructions on how to root cuttings from camellias. The first one, from the Virginia Camellia Society, is the most straight forward and includes good diagrams for some of the terminology. The second, from the Royal Horticulture Society, discusses leaf cuttings as well as stem cuttings and offers a bit more detail plus photos. The third, from the International Camellia Society is a bit more technical but may give some insights on some of the variables that may be involved.

Since you have limited material left to work with, you might want to contact some of your local nurseries and see if they have an experienced propagator on staff who could help you. Or, possibly there is a local camellia society who could refer you to someone knowledgeable with camellias. Or possibly a college or university with a horticulture department could assist. Your local county extension might also be able to help you. All the best with your project.

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