Ask a Question forum: Germinating Azalea seed

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
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keithp2012
Mar 30, 2015 2:33 PM CST
I've collected azalea seed last fall and have it stored in my fridge. All sites say you must start it indoors covered with plastic in peat moss then transplant outside after frost. Why can't I sow seeds after frost date in azalea soil outside?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 30, 2015 2:47 PM CST
Your seedlings will have a lot better chance of survival if you keep them protected and watered indoors for a month or so while they are still tiny. They're not exposed to all the whims of the weather like drying winds, heavy rain, too hot days, too cold nights etc. not to mention birds, animals, and other things that can kill a tiny seedling. Put them out in the shade when they're big enough to hold their own in the wild.

There's a reason why you don't see many, if any . . seedlings under your azalea bushes. Some things germinate a high enough percentage of their viable seeds so that they survive, and are known to "self sow". Azaleas? Nuh uh!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Mar 30, 2015 2:52 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said: Your seedlings will have a lot better chance of survival if you keep them protected and watered indoors for a month or so while they are still tiny. They're not exposed to all the whims of the weather like drying winds, heavy rain, too hot days, too cold nights etc. not to mention birds, animals, and other things that can kill a tiny seedling. Put them out in the shade when they're big enough to hold their own in the wild.

There's a reason why you don't see many, if any . . seedlings under your azalea bushes. Some things germinate a high enough percentage of their viable seeds so that they survive, and are known to "self sow". Azaleas? Nuh uh!


So germination rate is low and requires high humidity then. Ok so if I start indoors can I use azalea soil mix and perlite? When do I start to uncover seedlings?
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Mar 30, 2015 3:12 PM CST
I would use straight peat, myself. There will be less fungal problems. Your azalea seeds should be super tiny, and if you get them to sprout, you'll see how super tiny the seedlings are. Then you'll understand why they are not planted directly outside.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Mar 31, 2015 5:54 PM CST
Leftwood said:I would use straight peat, myself. There will be less fungal problems. Your azalea seeds should be super tiny, and if you get them to sprout, you'll see how super tiny the seedlings are. Then you'll understand why they are not planted directly outside.


I've got mine setup now hopefully they do well!

I wouldn't say tiny makes them vulnerable lots of plants start out Itsy bitsy, it's the need for acidic soil and the right humidity and water combo that makes growing outside at first hard, once they get 4-6 true leaves they grow good outside.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Mar 31, 2015 8:41 PM CST
Usually, azaleas and rhododendrons stay itsy bitsy for quite a while, even with several true leaves.
You're right, all plants start out iitsy bitsy, but are usually more vigorous from the start.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Apr 2, 2015 1:47 PM CST
When do I uncover them, I have plastic wrap over them which is keeping the soil very moist and condensation overhead.

I'm already getting some germinating!
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jun 24, 2015 11:55 PM CST
My seedlings have 4 true leaves, when and how do I fertilize?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 25, 2015 8:06 AM CST
A very weak soluble fertilizer would be my first try. Mix at about 1/4 the strength of what it says on the package. Water with that once a week and watch for any sign of burning along the edges of the leaves. As they get bigger, you could increase the strength of the fert solution gradually until fall when they will stop growing, I would think.

Do you have them planted outside in the ground yet, or still in pots?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jun 25, 2015 9:43 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:A very weak soluble fertilizer would be my first try. Mix at about 1/4 the strength of what it says on the package. Water with that once a week and watch for any sign of burning along the edges of the leaves. As they get bigger, you could increase the strength of the fert solution gradually until fall when they will stop growing, I would think.

Do you have them planted outside in the ground yet, or still in pots?


I have them in a tiny pot I bring them outside during the day and in at night.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 25, 2015 9:55 AM CST
I wouldn't keep them all in one pot too long. They will twine their roots together and be very hard to separate.

When you pot up, be sure to check if the soil you use already has fertilizer in it. If it does, you won't need to add any soluble fert for a while.

I would think your nights are warm enough by now to leave the babies outside? Above about 50ish at night should be fine.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jun 25, 2015 1:40 PM CST
Ok I'll leave them out, but I'll bring in if we expect rain they are still tiny.

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