THE MYSTERIES OF RHODODENDRON PROPAGATION
Ted Van Veen
In a 1932 Van Veen Nursery record book there is a listing of 44 rhododendron cultivars, totaling 3,125 cuttings, which were set in an outside ground bed — the old fashioned hotbed type. The uniqueness here is one of the first installations of lead cable for electric bottom heat, and a rooting record of 78%. This percentage is a remarkable achievement for an age when rooting of rhododendrons was so little known. Hormones, fungicides and misting yet to come.
Since that time the production of rhododendrons has accelerated to many millions each year. However, the overall percentage of rooting has improved relatively little, in spite of our more modern production methods and the research efforts employed over the years. Our rooting percentage at Van Veen Nursery today is seldom much better 85%.
Briefly, I will review our present method of rhododendron propagation starting with a few cuttings taken as early as the first part of June. The bulk of the production starts around the first of
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