Can You Root Azaleas in Water?
While some plants may be rooted by placing a stem in a glass of water, azalea isn't one of them. Although azalea can be propagated by a variety of methods, azalea, like most woody plants, needs soil in order to develop roots.
Evergreen azaleas are often propagated by taking stem cuttings from established plants. The cuttings are planted in a moist planting medium, then placed in a greenhouse. In mild, humid climates, cuttings are placed outdoors. Azalea stem cuttings usually root in four to six weeks.
Deciduous azaleas and varieties that may be difficult to grow by other methods are often propagated by seed. The seeds are planted in a container or planting tray filled with damp sphagnum moss, with the seeds scattered on top of the moss. The container is covered with clear plastic before being placed in indirect light. Germination usually occurs within a month.
- While some plants may be rooted by placing a stem in a glass of water, azalea isn't one of them.
- The cuttings are planted in a moist planting medium, then placed in a greenhouse.
Although layering is a simple way to propagate azaleas, the process is slow. A long, low branch is bent to the ground. The bark is scraped at the point where the branch touches the ground. The scraped branch is then secured to the ground with a piece of wire. In about a year, the branch is rooted and can be cut from the parent plant.
Root Azaleas From Established Plants
Rooting azaleas from established plants is an easy way to have additional plants. Rooting your own azaleas is practically free, and you propagate many new plants from a single azalea bush. The best time to take your cuttings is in the latter part of May or early June. Fill a container with pre-moistened peat moss. Firm the peat moss down slightly. Place the bottom end of your cutting into water and then shake off the excess. Stick this end into rooting hormone. Cuttings should go in 1½ or 2 inches deep. Find a shady area of your yard, such as the north side of the house and place the pot there. Leave the pot alone for two to three weeks before checking on the azalea cuttings.
- Although layering is a simple way to propagate azaleas, the process is slow.
- The bark is scraped at the point where the branch touches the ground.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Azalea Propagation
- Texas Agricultural Extension Service: Propagating Foliage and Flowering Plants
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Timely Tips Series Rooting Azaleas
- Aces Education: Azalea Propagation
- Oregon State University: Azalea and Rhododendron Care and Culture
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.