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How to Grow and Care for Azalea I Mainaam Garden

How to Grow and Care for Azalea I Mainaam Garden

Azalea I Mainaam Garden

Azalea​ features bright and colourful flowering shrubs in the Rhododendron genus of the Ericaceae family. These irresistible, gorgeous shrubs come in a variety of colour varieties that suit a wide range of landscapes. Their vibrant colours add personality to any garden and make a stunning statement in the spring garden. However, there are some varieties that bloom in the early summer and early fall.

Whether your azalea is a houseplant or an outdoor plant, by choosing the right azaleas for your home and care for them properly. You can enjoy those delicious blooms for up to eight months!

A quick note: If you live in a warmer climate like India, buy azaleas in three-gallon pots rather than one-gallon pots because small plants with fewer roots struggle to consume enough water during the summer.

Common Names Azalea
Botanical Name Rhododendron
Family Ericaceae
Plant Type Deciduous or evergreen shrub
Mature Size 3' to 12'
Sun Exposure Full sun or part shade
Soil Type Acidic
Soil pH 5.5 to 6.0
Bloom Time Early to late spring
Flower Color White, pink, red, orange
Hardiness Zones 3 to 9 (3 to 7, 5 to 9)
Native Area Asia, Europe, North America
Toxicity Toxic to humans, cat and dogs

 

What's the Difference Between Azaleas and Rhododendrons?

In the garden industry, Azaleas are commonly mistaken with the more popular cousin of the rhododendron plants, so you may run into confusion. One way to tell them apart at first glance is  most rhododendrons have large leaves with a noticeable texture, small dots (scales), and large round clusters of flowers whereas Azalea leaves are smaller with a thinner texture, no scales, and blooms are more evenly distributed on the entire shrub. There are over 10,000 different types of azaleas and about 800 different species

Azalea Care Guide

Azalea Care

Azalea is best grown as a garden plant in full sun or part shade (about four hours of sun) but is an excellent indoor plant as well. Plant it in acidic (pH 4-6), well-draining soil with a friable structure. Since Azaleas come in both deciduous and evergreen varieties, they will do best in high humidity. One way to provide this is to place the pot on a tray of pebbles that is kept wet. Avoid misting as azaleas are susceptible to fungus.

During the first year and in the summer, give your Azaleas plenty of water. Soak the soil two inches deep twice per week. Three times a week in high heat and drought may be beneficial.

Light

Azaleas thrive in dappled  shade areas, but many varieties tolerate — and some even require it: a few hours of morning sun is ideal, so the flowers don't wilt if a spring day gets too hot.

Planting near south- or west-facing walls should be avoided because radiant heat from the walls can cause moisture loss and stress during hot spells.

Also, avoid placing them just under trees. Trees provide filtered shade, but they also compete for water and nutrients, so plant shrubs near the tree root zones.

Soil

Use an acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. Make sure drainage is good to avoid damaging the roots; they should never be left in soggy soil. Soil should also have good fertility with plenty of organic matter (compost, chopped leaves, etc.) and natural mulch such as pine bark mulch.

Water

Since azaleas have shallow root systems compared to other shrubs, they're very susceptible to water stress. Make sure the soil is evenly moist, so it never dries completely out.  At the same time, it's important not to overwater an azalea, which can cause rot problems. 

Azaleas prefer less water, about two or three times a month, in a more shaded area and cooler climate and once or twice a week if they are planted in a sunnier and warmer climate.

When possible, use drip irrigation or water the soil around the plant rather than the leaves. Fungal diseases are frequently promoted by water left on plant leaves. Water early in the day so that the sun can dry the leaves when they do get wet.

Temperature and Humidity

Different azaleas can withstand various extreme climates, from Cool to average room temperatures (60-70°F/16-21°C). However, if the temperature is too cold, or too hot, it is likely that the buds may not form and flowers may burn from overexposure respectively.

It is not recommended to mist with water because misting can cause fungus. To increase moisture in the air around your houseplants, use a cool-mist room humidifier.
 

Fertilizer

Azaleas, fortunately, require little attention when it comes to fertilising. Use an organic fertiliser, or apply a thin layer of compost to the soil around your plants. During the summer, cover your azalea plants with organic mulch, such as pine bark, to help the soil retain moisture.

Propagation

Can be propagated from stem cuttings, although it is slow to root and the results rarely match the quality of the original plant.

Potting and Repotting Azaleas

Azaleas typically require annual replanting every six months to determine if they have outgrown their pot. Keep an eye out for the fine roots. To repot, simply tap the pot on the counter or the ground to ensure proper soil settling and to remove air pockets and dead material from the roots before repotting it in a larger container with more potting soil as needed.

Water the azalea until the soil is damp but not saturated. Keep an eye on the humidity level. Allowing the soil to dry out or become overly moist is not a good idea. Because azaleas are acid-loving plants, they should be fertilised with a low-nitrogen fertiliser during the growing season.

Pruning

Azaleas, for the most part, do not need to be pruned, but there are times when they can benefit from it. Pruning azaleas  helps to rejuvenate the plant, select a handful of the largest branches and cut them in half or thirds. Cut the remaining branches to maintain the desired plant shape.

Pruning in the spring can help azaleas recover from pests and plant diseases. After the azaleas have bloomed and the flowers have wilted, remove the dead blooms. 

Common Pests

Azalea plants that have succumbed to lace bugs will exhibit yellow to white-looking foliage with clusters of black bugs on the bottom side of the leaves. These are most effective in late spring or winter when treated with insecticidal soap.

Azalea Garden at Nezu Shrine, Tokyo

Best Companion Plants

Azaleas are a low-maintenance plant that looks great when combined with other shrubs, perennials and trees like hydrangeas, astilbles, camellias, etc.

NEXT READ: 9 Types of Azaleas to Grow in Your Garden

 

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