Propagating Rhododenron Spp - Native Azaleas

Prepared by Patsy Barr


Native Azaleas
Rhododenron spp
Image Credit: Mike Strickland

Harvest the seed pods while they are still somewhat green. Break open the pods by hitting the pods with a hammer. Putting the pods in an envelope to smash the pods helps to capture the seeds. Separate debris from seeds by using a large sieve to screen out large debris, and then a fine sieve to sift out small particles, leaving the seeds. Seeds can be stored dry in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or, for longer periods, stored in the freezer.

Plastic boxes with lids used in deli departments work well for seed flats. Soak these boxes in a solution of bleach overnight. Cut small holes in the bottom of the plastic boxes and line with weed inhibiting cloth so that the mix does not drain out of the holes.

Use a fine seed germinating mix. Before sowing seeds, pour boiling water over the mix to kill any weeds or fungi and then squeeze out as much water as possible, or let drain well.

Dust surface of mix filled flat with finely screened sphagnum to help prevent fungus growth. Scatter seeds thinly on the surface and moisten with a fine mister just to settle the seeds. Do not cover the seeds. Close the box lid to maintain a high level of humidity. Putting the flat on a warming mat will aid germination. Seeds should germinate in 2 - 3 weeks.

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