arhs Yachts International
arhs Yachts International

Seed Grown Azalea

By Roslyn Duffus

This year one of the first rhododendrons I have grown from seed flowered. I ordered the seed from the ARHS seed list in February 2000 but did not get around to planting it until January 2001. I planted out five seedlings from three seed lots in the summer of 2001 and left them to take their chances. I may have covered them with pine needles their first winter. Two were deciduous azaleas and the other three were evergreen, so I assumed they were rhododendrons. I then ignored them until the summer of 2004 when I built a new bed specifically to hold some of my collection of small rhodies. They had survived for three seasons in spite of too much shade and too little attention to feeding and watering. When they were moved two of the rhodos showed much improved growth and I want to tell you about the one that flowered this summer.

Since labels have a habit of going missing, I checked the descriptions of the three seed lots and I concluded that this seedling was most likely from seed donated by John Weagle. After describing the plant to John, he agreed that this was from his cross of R. Laura Morland x ( nakaharai Orange Form x kiusianum Mt. Fuji) F2 – a dwarf white evergreen azalea. This little plant is only about eight inches tall and has white flowers. Some of the flowers have pinkish stripes that run from the edge to the centre. John tells me that thee flowers are sectored and that this is an unstable feature that is sometimes found in the mother plant Laura Morland. Since Laura Morland and nakaharai ‘Orange form’ are not reliably hardy, John used kiusianum to give hardiness. It remains to be seen how big this plant gets but the largest leaves on the oldest branches are only one inch long.

It is late November as I write and this little azalea is in the process of dropping all but the leaves at the ends of the branches, which is normal, and it has set good buds for next year. I look forward to seeing it again next summer.

I also expect to see flowers next spring on plants I grew from seed I collected from some of my own plants in 2003. Patience has its rewards. Give it a try.