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Royal azalea

EricaheatherEricaheather Posts: 204
Hi all, Can I divide a royal azalea? 


  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,441
    edited June 2019

    Rhododendron schlippenbachii, the royal azalea
    Rhododendrom schlippenbachii is a very special one.
    One of my favourite Rhodo's.
    It is a shrub. One stem, one root. You cannot just divide it like you would a perennial plant.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • EricaheatherEricaheather Posts: 204
    Thank you @Silver surfer. They are beautiful. I'll now have to go and buy my own!
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,685
    You could try air layering a shoot, in a similar way to how you propagate a rubber plant.
  • EricaheatherEricaheather Posts: 204
    The problem we have is my father in law is going into sheltered accommodation tomorrow. It was my mother in laws favourite plant, and she is sadly in a care home with dementia. So for sentimental reasons my sister in law wanted to take it and put in her garden, but it's too big for the space she has. So we were wondering if we could divide it as a quick fix (and then we get part of it too) bit clearly we can't. It's my own fault we have known for ages we wanted it out but with everything else going on with the move and FIL health, it was last on the list to get around to. 
  • EricaheatherEricaheather Posts: 204
    So my question is I suppose , can we cut it right back and will it survive of we do?
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,441
    Eeeck! NO....please do not cut it back now.

    It is a very very special Rhodo.
    Especially for you with the memories that you have with it/family.
    Rhodo's are shallow rooted and do transplant well...even in summer.

    Move the WHOLE shrub...root, branches and all leaves!

    Someone else may not appreciate it and just rip it out.
    Prepare new bed for it. It needs be buy several bags of good quality ericaceous compost.
    Remove it gently with massive but shallow root on tarpaulin/plastic sheet,  to protect outer roots.
    Plant immediately into new shade/semi shade. Not full sun.
    Water well for rest of summer...esp if hot.
    Mulch on top with 3 -4" layer of  composted bark/rotted leaves or other mulch to keep the roots cool, retain moisture  and stop weeds.

    Good luck.
    You may find it hard to find a nursery selling them.
    Risk moving this very worst IF it dies you have lost nothing but hard work.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • EricaheatherEricaheather Posts: 204
    @Silver surfer thanks so much for your advice. I was ready to hack it back. We can move it tmrw. Fingers crossed! 
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