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Growing azaleas from seed -----

Posted by zeffyrose_pa6b7 6b7 (My Page) on
Thu, May 6, 10 at 19:40

Over the past 20 years my DH has propagated many azaleas from cuttings in a small cold-frame. Our yard is in bloom and it is gorgeous with the mature plants.

Just wondering about growing them from seeds----

He never tried that process.

thanks for any help---

--Florence/zeffyrose


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RE: Growing azaleas from seed -----

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, May 7, 10 at 3:33

Your azaleas are beautiful, I've seen the photos :)

Here's the directions for your talented DH, he might just get some interesting crosses. It looks a little wordy but is fairly straightforward, just some warmth and moisture, along with a little patience for these slow growing shrubs needed. Don't cover the seeds, just wet them down to make good contact with the sowing medium. And I'm glad to see you able to turn your thoughts back to gardening, dear friend!

Azalea Society of America -

Azaleas grow readily from seed. The seed pods are plainly visible soon after the flowers drop, and become larger over the summer, eventually turning dark brown, splitting open, and dropping the seed on the ground. Only very rarely will the conditions be right for the seed to germinate and grow in the garden. Instead, collect the seed pods before they open, and grow the seed under controlled conditions. Collect the seed pods as they begin to turn brown, usually around the time of the first frost in the fall.

Put the pods of one variety into one container, such as an envelope or a small paper muffin cup, and mark it with the variety. After a few weeks, the pods will split and begin to spill out their seed, as many as 500 seeds per pod (My note: they are almost like dust!). Clean the seed by separating it from the pod and other debris.

Prepare some flats by putting a mixture of sand and peat or leaf mold or perlite to within about an inch of the top, and covering it with a half inch or so of milled sphagnum moss. Soak it until it is thoroughly wet, and let it drain out the excess water. It may be convenient to soak it separately in a tub of water, and fill the flat with handfuls of the mixture squeezed free of excess water. The plastic containers used by supermarkets for pastry and salads, about three inches high and various widths and lengths, are ideal for small quantities of seedlings.

Sow the seed in the winter, indoors, to give the seedlings as much time as possible before being subjected to outdoor winter temperatures. Broadcast it over the flat and mist it lightly to settle the seeds. Cover the flat tightly with plastic, and put it under artificial lights or on a north window sill. The seed will germinate in two to six weeks, depending on the variety.

When the seedlings have developed two sets of leaves, carefully transplant them into other flats filled with a similar mixture of sand and peat or leaf mold or perlite. Use a toothpick or similar fine instrument to remove a seedling, and to plant it into the new flat. Use a two or three inch spacing, as they will probably stay in this flat for a year or more. When the flat is filled, water the seedlings with a fine spray to settle the soil around the roots. Cover it with plastic, and place it under lights or on a north facing window sill, or outdoors in the shade if the weather is reliably above freezing. After a few days, the seedlings should be established and the plastic can be removed. Fertilize with very weak solutions of liquid fertilizer to maintain active growth.

After they have grown a year, the seedlings are ready to be potted up or planted out. The soil should be almost a solid mass of fine roots, and the soil can be cut into squares rather than trying to find out which roots go with which plant. They are quite tender, and should be given ample water and ample shade.


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