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How to Propagate Native Azaleas

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How to Propagate Native Azaleas

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Overview

Native azaleas come from the southeastern areas of the United States. There are 17 species of native azalea, according to the Azalea Society of America. Native azaleas have dark green foliage in the spring, summer and early fall, but loose their leaves in the winter. The bright flowers bloom in the late spring and into the summer. Propagate native azaleas from stem cuttings in June when the shrub is putting out new growth.

Step 1

Select an 8-inch pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. Put a 1/2-inch layer of coarse gravel at the bottom to keep the soil mixture from seeping out of the holes. Fill pot with equal parts perlite and peat moss; water the soil mixture until it is evenly damp.

Step 2

Cut a 5-inch shoot from a native azalea; select new, springy wood from the end of a mature shoot. Take cuttings in early June and July. Make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle using a sharp pair of pruning shears.

Step 3

Clip off the lower leaves, leaving the top three to five leaves intact. Use shears or your finger nails to nip off the leaves without damaging the bark. Roll the bottom end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder to stimulate new growth.

Step 4

Make a 1-inch deep hole in the potting soil mix using your index finger or a small dowel. Place the native azalea cutting into the hole and press the soil down around it.

Step 5

Place a clear plastic bag upside down over the cutting to make a mini greenhouse. Drive an 8- to 10-inch dowel into the soil next to the shoot to hold the plastic away from the azalea cutting. Secure the plastic bag around the lip of the pot with a rubber band or tie it down with garden twine.

Step 6

Place the cutting in an area where it will remain above 65 degrees F and it will get six to eight hours of filtered light a day; a covered porch or greenhouse is ideal. Do not put the cutting in direct sunlight; the heat inside the bag will scorch the leaves. Remove the plastic bag every three to five days. Lightly water the soil if it feels dry to the touch before replacing the bag. Native azalea cuttings root in six to 10 weeks. After this time, give it a very gentle tug; if it is firm in the soil, it is ready to transplant to a larger pot.

Step 7

Fill a 1-gallon pot with equal parts coarse sand and peat moss. Transplant the rooted azalea cutting into the new pot after it has rooted. Keep the cutting in a greenhouse or porch where the temperature will remain above freezing for the first year before transplanting into the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • 8-inch pot
  • Gravel
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic bag
  • 8- to 10-inch-long dowel
  • Rubber band
  • 1-gallon pot
  • Sand

References

  • Azalea Society of America: Propagation
  • Azalea Society of America: Native Azaleas
Keywords: propagating native shrubs, growing azaleas, propagation from cuttings

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.