Even though azalea propagates through stem cutting, saplings bought from nurseries are the most popular breeding choice. While using stem cutting for azalea we have to keep in mind that only a healthy stem without buds or flowers should be used. One end of the stem should be dipped in rooting hormones which are available in the market. This will enable the stem to grow quickly and attain maturity. It takes about 3 months for new roots and shoot to grow. The soil mixture for the stem is coco peat and leaf mold.
When we plant hydrangea, a species of azalea, the soil mixture should be prepared in a slightly different way. The mixture should have red soil, loose soil, cow dung powder and leaf mold. Azalea should be planted in a pot with an 8 inch wide mouth. Sprinkle some granules of furadan to protect it from insects. The potted plant should be given adequate amount of water regularly. Water it two to three times a day or as required. Make sure that while irrigating, water does not fall on the leaves or flowers. The best water for irrigation is the rain water since it is less alkaline than tap water. During monsoon, azalea grows better and its leaves turn dark green. Do make sure that the water does not stagnate during monsoon.
After the saplings sprout, move the pot to a shady place and water them. Once the shoot and leaves have grown, transfer the pot to a place with ample sunlight. Only four to five hours of sunshine is required. Make sure that the pot is not exposed to direct sunlight which will cause dehydration of the plant. But keeping it in a shady place devoid of any sunlight will result in the azalea turning into a leafy shrub without flowers. Azalea is susceptible to extreme climatic conditions. To retain the acidity of the pot, cow dung powder and dry leaf powder can be added once a month. To promote blooming in azalea add two grams of potash, one gm of calcium nitrate and two grams of humus in two liters of water and spray it under the plant, once every month. It will start to bloom in twenty days. If the weather conditions are favorable then the flowers will not fall off for two weeks. Pruning done before monsoon helps promote and enhance blooming. Just like other decorative plants changing the soil mixture regularly will increase the lifespan of the plant.