By Darrell Blackwelder
SALISBURY — Many people call Cooperative Extension during the year asking how and when to propagate their favorite shrubs. Propagation of shrubs by rooting cuttings is the most popular method. Nursery personnel spend countless hours collecting and rooting shrub cuttings during the summer.
Most of the popular shrubs such as azalea, boxwood, camellia, holly, etc. propagate best during the mid-summer days of late June and July. It’s usually best to take cuttings from new growth from the tips of shrubs since these often have the highest success of root growth.
Stems should be green and vigorous. They should snap when bent. If the tip bends 180 degrees and doesn’t snap, the growth is too juvenile and will have difficulty rooting. Conversely, old wood harvested from weak or declining shrubs is also very difficult to propagate.
Rowan County Master Gardener volunteers will conducting a Plant Propagation Workshop on Wednesday, June 27, and it will be repeated on Thursday, July 26. Both workshops start at 9 a.m. and last until noon at the Agricultural Center on Old Concord Road. The class will take place under the Master Gardener Outdoor Learning Center near the greenhouse.
Master Gardener volunteers will provide information and instructions on basic plant propagation techniques. Master Gardener volunteers have much practical experience to share about plant propagation techniques. Cost for each workshop is $15, which includes a propagation tray, media, greenhouse space and all of the necessary supplies needed for successful plant propagation.
Participants are encouraged to their bring soft-stem cuttings in a cooler with ice or a container with water. Recommended cuttings that have had success rooting at this time of year include: hydrangea, weiglea, spirea, gardenia, camellia, laurel, holly, deutzia, winter daphne, azalea, lilac, Carolina jasmine, roses, crape myrtle, chaste tree, butterfly bush, kerria. You should also consider propagating fruiting shrubs such as blueberries, pomegranates, etc.
Participants are encouraged to bring enough plant material to share with others to increase learning curve. Propagation trays will be placed in the greenhouse to facilitate rooting until late summer.
When the rooted cuttings are ready to be potted, participants can take them home. Now is the time to propagate that treasured plant that you would like to try and duplicate.
Contact Cooperative Extension at 704-216-8970 by June 25 if you would like to participate in either workshop. Class size is limited and reservations are required due to greenhouse space requirements.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970.