I have a lovely Camellia japonica “Aspasia MacArthur” growing beside my western fence, where it has flourished for over fifty years. It was a bit overgrown, and I cut it back two years ago, which it has taken very kindly: it is now covered with buds.
I’d like to plant another either side of the one I have to screen the view of my neighbours’ yard from my bedroom window, but I’m not sure how to propagate camellias successfully. When I cut mine back last time I gave the cuttings to my sister (at her urgent request) and she failed completely to strike anything. I think I know what she did wrong, but I’d like to be more sure.
Can anyone here advise me on propagating C. japonica? (Bear in mind that I live in a humid sub-tropical climate and that it is just the beginning of winter.) Would I do best just to order a couple in pots from a nursery at planting-time?
Here are some articles which should aid in your quest:
The technical one
A homebrew method
Basically, these two pages save me a lot of typing The next thing I will say though is to have patience. Rooting shrubs can be tricky for some. The key thing is to use young/new growth/green wood. If you try to root old wood it will be much harder.
Reading those, and allowing for the sphericity of the Earth, I reckon that I ought to postpone action to January. And my suspicions about my sister’s previous failure seem to be confirmed.
Would you mind elaborating on this? For educational purposes of course, to help prevent others from having the same issue.
My sister tried to propagate the camellia cuttings in a commercial potting mix that was compounded to make it nearly impossible for its users to over-water their indoor plants¹, and which was therefore far too free-draining for any practical use. Then in addition, she was not diligent about watering. But you need to keep the ends of cuttings moist to promote rooting.
¹ The nonsense sold as potting mix seems to consist of finely-chopped but un-composted mulch, sand, vermiculite, and slow-release fertiliser. I suspect that in addition to being in effect an instant desert, it is too limy for camellias. My sister would have done better to use sand.
Also, don’t forget heat. Heat is very important for root development. I cannot remember if that was mentioned in those articles.