Azaleas are plants native to Japan that bloom once a year during the winter months when many other flowers have fallen asleep, making them a good plant alternative in the garden or other outdoor areas. In this article, you will know how to care for azaleas
When you grow azaleas along with other species, you have a flowering garden that grows in the cold months while the other flowers prefer the hottest months of the year.
In Japan azalea means rose tree and is represented in all oriental gardens. Here in Brazil, it has acclimatized well and can be found on public walks, streets, and various gardens.
They are hardy plants that can grow up to 2 feet tall, but are usually found in medium and small varieties, ideal for small vases and window sills.
How to care for and plant azaleas
Azaleas like direct sunlight for at least 4 hours a day, but must be protected from wind and rain or they can easily die.
The ideal soil to plant this species is the one that has a more acidic pH, with soil prepared and a portion of the sand. The vase should have good drainage conditions so as not to drown the plant with water, and it is a good idea to use pine bark or expanded clay on the bottom.
To get new seedlings, simply choose strong branches that have side branches and leaves and are 7 to 10 cm long. Remove the leaves from the base, leaving only 4 or 5 leaves at the top of the branch and insert the branches into the soil mixed with sand and without any previous fertilization.
The branches take an average of 60 days to form roots, and after this time they can be transported to the definitive vessel or bed. Great care is taken not to water the soil and not to kill the plant at this time.
How do I care for azaleas indoors?
One of the main characteristics of this plant is that it is very resilient and easily adapts both indoors and outdoors. It is important that the soil is well acidic and well-drained and the plant should be in a well-lit place with a mild temperature and humid environment.
You can help maintain moisture in the plant by placing a bowl of wet stones in the bottom of the pot. After it blooms, it is best to move the pot to the cooler part of the house so that it can naturally adjust and bloom in the spring months.
The soil should be moist but never soaked. Place your seedlings in pots that have holes and stones in the bottom for easy drainage.
It is ideal to water the plants in the morning so that they have all day to absorb the water and dry the leaves at the same time. They absorb water through the leaves so it’s important to moisten them while watering, but avoid doing it at night as there is a risk of fungus growth.
This is a plant that does not require constant watering, watering only during the driest periods, so the soil is always moist. Observe whether the leaves are more withered and dead. When it does, it’s time to pour.
If you prefer to use distilled water or rainwater to water the plants, azaleas don’t get along well with tap water, which contains chlorine and can harm them.
When the flowers wilt, it is necessary to fertilize the plant and give it extra nourishment to keep it strong and beautiful for the next bloom. It is not good to fertilize before flowering because the nutrients stimulate the growth of the leaves, not the flowers.
Plants that grow indoors have difficulty blooming because it takes them a few months of cold to produce new shoots. Put the vase in colder places in the autumn or winter months. And to get more flowers in your plant, it is good to do an annual pruning.
Pruning can be done soon after flowering, and it is good to use pruning shears to avoid tearing the branches.
If you live in a very cold region and you have frost, it is best to keep the azaleas in pots and indoors so that even in times of intense cold they can survive and provide for flowers for a long time.
How to care for azaleas outdoors
Azaleas are easy plants to grow and the best place to keep them is outside the home. Since these are very hardy plants, they don’t need protection from the sun, but it is good to provide partial shade to keep the soil moist.
New seedlings should be watered every other day until they are fully developed. Once the plant has grown, watering may be less frequent.
Plants that live on the outside of the house should also keep the leaves moist during watering to facilitate water absorption. Avoid moistening the plant at night to prevent fungus from growing on the leaves. Stay tuned for periods of drought to keep your plant hydrated.
The pruning will help the plant strengthen and produce more flowers in the next bloom. Cut the excess twigs to the size and shape you want and remove dead and dead branches as well.
How to care for azalea bonsai
You can also find azaleas in the mini version, or bonsai, those small trees that are grown using Japanese planting techniques and are very small, kept in pots.
An azalea bonsai needs care that is very similar to that of indoor plants: the soil has to be acidic, needs a place with lots of light, but no direct sunlight on the plant.
This species is a lovely plant to have at home as it produces many flowers per shrub with different and bright colors ranging from white, pale pink to intense and even salmon colored. It can even bloom all year round if it is well cared for and guarantees a nice and cozy garden.