Multiple Azaleas in one pot

Carol 83

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I fell prey to a shameless Valentine's ploy at Wal-mart and got what I assume is a florists azalea. It is actually 4 plants in one pot. My question is, is it safer to repot them as is or can they be successfully separated and potted up individually? I know that is what @penumbra is planning on doing with his. I tried this a couple of year's ago with a similar plant and they all eventually died. Not sure if it was fungal or because I planted in straight kanuma or what the problem was. I want to keep this one alive, so if it's safer to keep them all together, I will do that. Any thoughts from the azalea expert's out there would be appreciated. pink azalea.jpg
 

penumbra

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Carol, if you were to keep them all together, it would give you ample opportunities to take cuttings. Eventually the most vigorous plants will chock out the weaker ones ...............I believe.
I went back to get another but they were gone.
 

19Mateo83

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I went and looked for them after I saw the OP. The only one I saw was saaaaaddddd looking. So he got left at Wally World. They are pretty azaleas.
 

Shibui

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Azalea normally handle quite radical root work but it is definitely safer to leave them alone.
One of the problems with azaleas is that if they don't like the water or conditions or soil they just slowly decline. At my previous property I could not grow azaleas. Every time they would just go backwards until they died. Moving 14 km to a new property made a huge difference and now they thrive.

Excluding root work from the equation will allow you to see if one of those other issues is what killed off your previous azaleas.
 

Carol 83

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Azalea normally handle quite radical root work but it is definitely safer to leave them alone.
One of the problems with azaleas is that if they don't like the water or conditions or soil they just slowly decline. At my previous property I could not grow azaleas. Every time they would just go backwards until they died. Moving 14 km to a new property made a huge difference and now they thrive.

Excluding root work from the equation will allow you to see if one of those other issues is what killed off your previous azaleas.
Thanks, I think I will go the safer route as you suggest. If you don't mind, what soil mix do you use for yours? I know many here use straight Kanuma to repot but I was actually advised against that from a very respected member here, from whom I bought an azalea.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Happy Friday!

Very interesting situation, multiple florist azaleas, likely in a peat based mix…dicey, especially for wintering over prospects, but doable.

Lots of different medias are used successfully for azaleas, interested in what they use Down Under.

Also interested in the rationale the individual not recommending kanuma used for your specific situation.

Cheers

DSD sends
 

Bvangorp

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I did this same thing with a potted azalea from home depot. Split them into 3 separate pots with kanuma and as of now they are thriving really well. We will see long term how it goes. But I did this over the winter and have them inside right now.
 

Carol 83

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Also interested in the rationale the individual not recommending kanuma used for your specific situation.
This is the response I received when asking about repotting a Momo no Haru I received from him, not the florist azalea. Happy Friday to you too!
 

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Bvangorp

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I guess if you have a really good soil that they like and are doing well in why move them? But on the other hand if you want to put them in something that is seemingly perfect for them/ is more in line with a purist POV then maybe start to slowly transition them? I am sure over 3-5 years they would slowly acclimate to anything really.

Maybe I was lucky but mine survived a basically bareroot (trying to be very gentle/ not taking off any fine roots/feeders) and then a very hard prune probably over 2/3 off and a transition from a nursery soil to straight kanuma. Within 1 month they are back budding like crazy and doing really well it seems. But again long term not sure. Picture after 1 month.

**please take all my advice with a grain of salt as I am in my second or third year trying bonsai**
 

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Deep Sea Diver

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Yep the originator is absolutely correct in the attached message…. half bare root is absolute not for azalea repots!

That’s just asking for trouble as the two soils in the pot never have the same drainage characteristics, leading to root rot. It’s all or don’t do it imho. Yet if one is stuck in peat, 2 years and it’s got to repotted to keep the plant thriving.

These shown…and the ones not pictured, except for the largest one (which was repotted) were all washed and barerooted into a 90/10 kanuma/pumice mix. 29 last year. 12 the year before.

Multiple sources, Nuccios, IB, Riverbend etc. all but the crushed one survived, including one of Bill V’s Momo no Haru.

ED843C92-785B-443D-BC15-18C5BE7278F0.jpeg1BD28707-8803-4D79-AB01-434D275432A0.jpeg

Cheers
DSD sends
 

Carol 83

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Yep the originator is absolutely correct in the attached message…. half bare root is absolute not for azalea repots!

That’s just asking for trouble as the two soils in the pot never have the same drainage characteristics, leading to root rot. It’s all or don’t do it imho. Yet if one is stuck in peat, 2 years and it’s got to repotted to keep the plant thriving.

These shown…and the ones not pictured, except for the largest one (which was repotted) were all washed and barerooted into a 90/10 kanuma/pumice mix. 29 last year. 12 the year before.

Multiple sources, Nuccios, IB, Riverbend etc. all but the crushed one survived, including one of Bill V’s Momo no Haru.

View attachment 422633View attachment 422634

Cheers
DSD sends
Obviously you've been very successful, thanks for sharing your knowledge.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@Carol 83 - The bare rooting and repotting to kanuma can be done, but TIMING is the issue. Your azalea is in full bloom, a bad time to repot. A very bad time to bare root. If you could limp this pot through the summer, and when the azalea is just barely breaking dormancy next year in spring, you can do the bare rooting and chances of survival will be quite high.

You can wait until after blooming. Remove spent flowers. Give the azalea a light dose of fertilizer, give the azalea a 2 to 4 week rest, then repot, you will be doing a middle of growing season repot. But by giving the azalea a couple weeks after removing flowers, you will have allowed it to recover a little from the stress of blooming. The fertilizer will have allowed it to rebuild a little of its resources.

With these multiple cuttings in a single pot, I always had the best luck just picking one trunk as the one with with best shape. Cut off at dirt level the others, they are sacrificed to improve the chances of the one surviving. Then limp the one through until ideal repotting season next spring. Then do a bare root or a near bare root.

Don't believe the bull-hockey that you can not acclimate a peat grown azalea to growing in kanuma or any other mix. You do need to be conscious of not ripping up fine roots if possible, minimize the ripping up of fine roots. But switching can be done. Best done late winter, early spring. When the azalea is just beginning to produce leaves. Remove flower buds the year you make the switch.

By the way, while you can never be certain, I believe your azalea is the cultivar 'Haru no Hibiki' which is a Belgium hybrid bred for the potted plant trade and pretty common in the "Big Box Stores" in USA.

HaruNoHibiki22.jpg HaruNoHibiki23_116bffda-e377-4093-8fe3-836289e664aa.jpg
 

Glaucus

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This is the response I received when asking about repotting a Momo no Haru I received from him, not the florist azalea. Happy Friday to you too!

From file:

Hi, it is difficult to switch from nursery soil to Kanuma. I suggest only bare rooting no more than half of the nursery soil to introduce Kanuma.
This has been a problem for many years. People would import beautiful azalea bonsai from Japan and plant in American soil and the trees lived, Then Jap artists come over an. tell us to remove the American soil and plant in Kanuma,. Then the plants die.
Likewise many have had great azalea bonsai for many decades, growing beautifully in American soil. Here come the Japanese again and tell us to get rid c American soil and plant in Kanuma. Then the plants die..
So, my usual recommendation is if the plant was grown in Kanuma, keep it in Kanuma. If the plant was grown in American soil, keep it in American soil.
However, your new azalea is young and i think you can slowly introduce it to Kanuma.




Seems very good advice you got.

Actually, I am trying again with a Belgian indica putting it straight into kanuma. Last time I tried it, after a long time it did not have any roots growing outwards into the kanuma.
Eventually there was a cold winter and it died. This year's attempt is in a polytunnel durign a very mild winter. So it didn't freeze to death.
So I will try and take a look if it again worked that bad.

So mix 50/50 peat and kanuma, for example.
Slowly transition to 100% kanuma. Instead of bare rooting or tearing out pieces of roots willy-nilly, cut out pie slices from the root ball to get out the old peat.

My Belgian indica was also not separated. I was planning to prune 3 of the 4 shoots back to nothing so I get 1 'separated' plant without any trauma. But I don't really have a use for this plant, tbh.
I kinda 'hoped' it would freeze to death so I wouldn't have to compost an otherwise fine plant.
 

Carol 83

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@Carol 83 - The bare rooting and repotting to kanuma can be done, but TIMING is the issue. Your azalea is in full bloom, a bad time to repot. A very bad time to bare root. If you could limp this pot through the summer, and when the azalea is just barely breaking dormancy next year in spring, you can do the bare rooting and chances of survival will be quite high.

You can wait until after blooming. Remove spent flowers. Give the azalea a light dose of fertilizer, give the azalea a 2 to 4 week rest, then repot, you will be doing a middle of growing season repot. But by giving the azalea a couple weeks after removing flowers, you will have allowed it to recover a little from the stress of blooming. The fertilizer will have allowed it to rebuild a little of its resources.

With these multiple cuttings in a single pot, I always had the best luck just picking one trunk as the one with with best shape. Cut off at dirt level the others, they are sacrificed to improve the chances of the one surviving. Then limp the one through until ideal repotting season next spring. Then do a bare root or a near bare root.

Don't believe the bull-hockey that you can not acclimate a peat grown azalea to growing in kanuma or any other mix. You do need to be conscious of not ripping up fine roots if possible, minimize the ripping up of fine roots. But switching can be done. Best done late winter, early spring. When the azalea is just beginning to produce leaves. Remove flower buds the year you make the switch.

By the way, while you can never be certain, I believe your azalea is the cultivar 'Haru no Hibiki' which is a Belgium hybrid bred for the potted plant trade and pretty common in the "Big Box Stores" in USA.

View attachment 422649 View attachment 422650
Thanks as always @Leo in N E Illinois !
 

Carol 83

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, cut out pie slices from the root ball to get out the old peat.
Thanks so much for the good information and reminding me of this.
 

penumbra

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For what its worth, I don't think this is "Haru no Hibiki". The color of the ones Carol and I got is more pink and less magenta and the pattern of the variegation is different. "Haru no Hibiki" seems to not have the spotting on the petals either. I kind of wish its was because "Haru no Hibiki" is a zone 6 satsuki according to Singing Tree. Truth is, a hundred people are going to guess and and a hundred and one will be wrong.
BTW, my started bloomoing just before Valentine's and is actually blooming heavier now by quite a bit.
 

Glaucus

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'Aquarell' has clear spots/dusting. 'Haru no Hibiki' is a smooth gradient. Should not be very hard to tell the difference observing the azalea by eye.
OP picture lacks a bit of resolution to observe the very fine spottings of 'Aquarell', but it looks like it is there.

As for bonsai, I am still not quite sure about the potential of these cultivar as bonsai.
For plant habit, I just visited the local botanical garden here. They do not have many satsuki, but hey have lots of old and very old kurume. And they also have North Tisbury 'Pink Pancake' and 'Alexander'. It is late winter right now. And I observed a completely pristine excellent looking 'Pink Pancake', contrasted by the sorry partial deciduous kurume with spotted leaves of dead branches.

So for plant habit at least in my local climate, 'Pink Pancake' seemed the bomb. Flowers not super duper special. But having a bushy plant that is completely evergreen and grows compact naturally, that makes bonsai very easy and attractive.
 
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Shibui

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Thanks, I think I will go the safer route as you suggest. If you don't mind, what soil mix do you use for yours? I know many here use straight Kanuma to repot but I was actually advised against that from a very respected member here, from whom I bought an azalea.
Soil is always going to be contentious because conditions vary from place to place.
For what its worth all my azaleas grow well in the same mix I use for all other plants here - 70% pine bark/30% propagating sand. I've never used kanuma as I cannot justify bringing 'soil' halfway round the world when local ingredients will do perfectly well.
 
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