A Miniature Deciduous Azalea
Dr. R. L. Ticknor
Oregon State University, North Willamette Experiment Station
Fig 38. Dwarf deciduous azalea.
Photo by Dr. Robert Ticknor
Among the thousands of azalea seedlings which came from the extensive breeding program of the late Dr. E. J. Kraus at Oregon State University were several miniature growing types. One of these plants appears to have promise for use in rock gardens or in foundation plantings of low houses where the typical deciduous azalea is too large.
The plant in the picture is the result of a cross of 'Royal Lodge' x 53-26, one of Dr. Kraus' numbered selections for which we do mot have the parentage. The nine-inch plant is six years old and bloomed for the second time this year. Sister seedlings range up to four feet in height. The two-inch flowers are a rosy red with am orange flare, not the typical orange red of most red deciduous azaleas. There is also a slight fragrance which makes the plant even more interesting. The mature leaves are 1¼ inches long by ½ inch wide.
We are attempting to propagate the plant by softwood cuttings for the first time this year. We have also selfed the plant and crossed it with a small-growing sister seedling. We hope that these propagation efforts will be successful so that this interesting plant can have wider distribution, first to arboretums and commercial propagators for further testing. The plant will only be useful if it can be propagated and grows true to type afterward.
Mr. Ivan Arneson of Canby, Oregon, also has miniature plants set aside for observation, but none of his plants have bloomed yet. I am wondering whether other people have grown this type of plant and what their observations on growth and propagation have been.