Seed collection is not the big magical problem some folks would make you believe. It's very simple, even for me and many others. The seed pods will usually ripen in late September through late November, depending upon your location. You will see the pods start to turn color from green to greenish brown and when the pods split, they will usually be brown. If pods have formed on any azalea I wish to propagate from seed, I start watching the pods around mid October. Sometimes, pods may start to turn brown early, due to drought or other conditions and also if a borer has managed to invade the pod.
I like to use the brown paper lunch bags to put the pods and let them fully dry and split open. Once they do split open, I shake the bag and most of the seed will spill from the pods into the bag and thus, all I need do is run them through a tea strainer to remove most of the chaff. Of course, please do label the bags and seed. I use the coin envelopes one finds at Office Depot or Staples to store my seed. I store these small envelopes in ZipLoc bags in the refrigerator and the seed will remain viable for up to six or seven years, so long as moisture is maintained very low.
Seed collection for the large and small leaf rhododendrons, and also evergreen azaleas is the same. The seed of these plants will usually be smaller, especially seed of the evergreen azaleas. Seed from Mountain Laurel are like dust.
Joe Schild-Hixson, TN USDA Zone 7a
Ask a friend to join the Azalea Society of America!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 7/30/2006 4:19:50 PM
Subject: [AZ] How do you collect seeds?
I have an azalea that has seed pods. How do I know when to collect the seeds before it opens & I loose them? This is a deciduous azalea if that matters. Would I do the same for Rhodies also?