Azaleas are plants native to Japan and bloom once a year in the winter months just when many other flowers fall asleep, so they end up being a good plant alternative to have in the garden or other outdoor areas. In this article, you will know how to care for azalea :
By cultivating azaleas together with other species you will have an ever-flowering garden as they sprout in the cold months while the other flowers prefer the hottest months of the year.
In Japan, azalea means tree of roses and it is present in all the oriental gardens. Here in Brazil it acclimated very well and can be found in public walks, roads and various gardens.
They are hardy plants, which can reach up to 2 meters in height, but are usually found in medium and mini-sized varieties, ideal for small vases and sills of internal windows.
How to care for and plant azaleas
Azaleas like direct sunlight for at least 4 hours a day, but need to be sheltered from wind and rain or they can die easily.
The ideal soil to plant this species is the one that has more acidic PH, with prepared earth and a part of sand. The vase should have good drainage conditions so as not to drown the plant with watering and a good idea is to use pinus bark or expanded clay on the soil.
To have new seedlings, just choose strong branches, which have lateral branches and leaves and are 7 to 10cm in length. 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 previous fertilization.
The branches take on average 60 days to grow roots, and after that period, they can already be transported to the definitive vessel or bed. Great care must be taken not to soak the earth at this time and to kill the plant.
How to care for indoor azaleas
One of the main characteristics of this plant is that it is very resistant and adapts easily in indoor and outdoor environments. It is important that the soil is well acid and well drained and the plant should be in a well-lit location with a mild temperature and humid environment.
You can help maintain the moisture of the plant by placing a dish with wet stones in the bottom of the pot. After it blooms, it is best to change the pot to the cooler part of the house, so it will naturally adapt and blossom in the spring months.
The soil should be moist but never soaked, so place your seedlings in pots that have holes and rocks in the bottom to facilitate drainage.
The ideal is to water the plants in the morning, so they have the whole day to absorb the water and at the same time dry the leaves. They absorb water through the leaves so it is important to wet them during watering, but avoid doing so at night as there is a risk of developing fungi.
This is a plant that does not require constant watering, just water them in the driest periods so that the soil is always moist. Observe if the leaves are more wilted and fallen, if this occurs it is time to water.
Prefer to use distilled water or rainwater to water the plants, azaleas do not get along well with tap water that contains chlorine and can do harm to them.
When the flowers wither, it is necessary to fertilize the plant and give it extra nutrition to remain strong and beautiful for the next flowering. It is not good to fertilize before flowering, because the nutrients will stimulate the growth of leaves and not flowers.
Plants grown indoors have difficulty in blooming because they need a few months of cold to generate new shoots. So, in the fall or winter months, place the vase in colder places. 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 for pruning to avoid tearing the branches.
If you live in a very cold region and have frost incidence, it is best to keep the azaleas in pots and indoors so that it will survive even in times of intense cold and will provide flowers for a long time.
How to care for outdoor azaleas
Azaleas are easy to grow plants and the best place to keep them is out of the house. As they are very resistant plants, they do not need to be protected from the sun, but it is good to provide a half shade so the soil stays moist.
New seedlings should be watered every other day until fully developed. Once the plant is grown, watering may be less frequent.
Plants that live on the outside of the house should also have the leaves wet during watering to facilitate water absorption. Avoid wetting the plant at night so that no fungi are created on the leaves. Stay tuned for periods of drought to keep your plant hydrated.
Pruning helps the plant to strengthen and provide more flowers in the next flowering, so cut the excess branches in the size and shape you want and also remove dead and dead branches.
How to Care for Azalea Bonsai
You can also find azaleas in the mini version, or bonsai, those tiny trees that are grown with Japanese planting techniques and are very small being kept in pots.
An azalea bonsai needs care that is very similar to that of indoor plants: the soil must be acidic, needs a place with plenty of light but no sunlight directly on the plant.
This species is a beautiful plant to have at home, as it produces many flowers per bush with varied and vibrant colors ranging from white, soft pink to intense and even salmon shades. It can even bloom all year long if it is well cared for and will ensure a beautiful and cozy garden.