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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Thursday - August 27, 2009

From: St. Louis, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting azalea sprouts in St Louis MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an azalea bush that I cut back severely 2 years ago and unwittingly started 3 or 4 new bushes when some limbs grew back along the ground and created their own roots. I'd like to separate them from the mother bush and transplant them but I'm not sure of the best method or timing. They are all hardy.. at least 18 inches long and 2 of them have several offshoots of their own. Can I do it now or wait until the spring? Should I cut them from the mother bush and leave their roots intact for a while before uprooting them? Thank you!

ANSWER:

There are 16 plants that are members of the Ericaceae (Heath) family and with the common name of "azalea" in our Native Plant Database. Only one of these, Rhododendron albiflorum (Cascade azalea), is native to Missouri. It really doesn't matter, as we doubt you have a native azalea but more likely a hybrid or an import. Ordinarily, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center only deals with questions involving plants native to North America as well as to the area in which they are being grown, but since we don't know what you have, and the help would apply to a native as well as a non-native, we'll see what we can find for you.

What we think you have done, apparently inadvertently, is to layer your azalea in order to create more plants. This article, How Stuff Works How to Cut and Layer Plants, specifically mentions azaleas and gives instructions for working with the layered plants. We would suggest that you wait until Fall to do the actual moving of the new plants, and be sure and follow the instructions on preparation of the hole and soil. We also found a website from your own state, University of Missouri Extension Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons that should give you more useful information. 


Rhododendron albiflorum

 


 

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