Sunday, March 6, 2011

Increasing your Azaleas by Layering

Want more Azaleas ? Increase your Azaleas by layering. Here is an image of my two PRIDE OF MOBILE Azaleas. They were planted about six or seven years ago. As you can see, they are very tall, as Brooke is 5' 6 1/2".
Notice how the limbs grow right down to the ground. The limbs that lay on the ground after several years of leaves and pine straw falling on them have taken root. This is called layering, which simply means a cutting which remains attached to the parent until roots have formed. Layering occers in the garden when low growing plants are heavily mulched, thus partially burying some of the branches. Layering occurs naturally in the woods when tree limbs fall and pin branches of native azeleas to the ground. Ref: http://www.azaleas.org/.

If you do not wish to wait months or years for your plant to make layers, you can simply dig a shallow trench,  lay a low growing limb in the trench, cover it with a little dirt, and place a heavy object (like a brick) on it. This would be best done in the spring or fall when you usually have plenty of rain. In about a year it will take root. Then you can simply cut the limb from the mother branch and dig your layers out. You can either plant them elsewhere or pot them. I like to pot mine so I have some to share with friends and family. I could probably get at least 50 layered cuttings from these two Pride of Mobile plants right now.

Last spring I dug and potted five that I gave to my sister in GA. She simply set them next to the house for the winter and planted them this spring.
Simply keep them in full to partial shade where they can be watered regularly.
Here are four that I potted on Friday. I placed them on the north side of the house next to the faucet.
For the potting medium, since Azaleas like acidic soil, I have used the Soil Conditioner (reground pine bark) mixed with the Pro Mix BX. About 3 to 1 ratio.
Do not fertilize them!!!