I just LOVE these things, and I've love to know how/when to take and root cuttings. There are many blooming right now in my area, but I can never locate them when they're NOT in flower. Any suggestions?
Deciduous rhododendrons like most of the native American species are difficult to root. The best course is to take cuttings when the current year's growth has hardened somewhat but is still flexible. Wound the base of the cuttings, use a relatively strong rooting hormone and place the cuttings in a mixture of 50% peat and 50% perlite. Cover the flat with clear plastic on a wire frame and keep in a bright place without direct sun. Then hope and be patient.
Anoher option is to collect seed when ripe, sow on spahgnum or live moss above the peat/perlite mixture in a flat covered with plastic. Water with distilled water or rain water. The seedlings grow relatively quickly.
Mainegrower - thanks for the tip - i was surfing and ran across this, cool! have another question - don't laugh please - i am good at rooting stuff, but learning the seed angle too....how do you know when the seeds are ripe on Native Azaleas?
Seeds are ripe when the capsules have turned brown and are beginning to split/open. This usually doesn't happen until the fall. Capsules can be collected before they are fully ripe - place in a paper bag. The seeds will continue to ripen. They are tiny and produced in huge numbers in each capsule.
Thanks a bunch Mainegrower - I will try it - and will also steal seeds from the whitish one at work! (not a nursery, sad to say - just a gov't building!)
How long does it take to layer native azaleas? Has anyone tryed this method for them? It seems more reliable than cuttings.
I layered one of my native azaleas by laying a large broken branch over a farily long stem. The next year I had 2 azaleas side by side. I never moved or even tried to transplant the "new" bush but it was rooted under the branch.
Have lots of wild azaleas growning wild on my property
Funny...But I guess I didn't have enough experience to do it the correct way. Took some from dirt from old stumps in the woods that had rotted, built a small mound. I simply cut about 3/4 inch from a node on the wild azalea and placed it into the mound.
Kept them watered and now I have about 10 to 15 thriving azaleas. In fall I gather and toss leaves around the mound.