Azalea (rhododendron) is rightfully on the list of the most beautiful indoor plants. Bright flowers bloom during the height of winter, creating a unique atmosphere in the room. However, this beauty is very whimsical and requires constant attention.
The homeland of the azalea (or rhododendron) is the humid high-altitude regions of the northern hemisphere. In nature, the height of these plants ranges from 10 cm to 10 m.
When, in the middle of the 18th century, the Swedish scientist Karl Linnaeus described 3 evergreens and 6 deciduous plants from this family, he attributed the former to rhododendrons, and the latter to azaleas. Since then, rhododendrons that are grown indoors (at home or in greenhouses) are called azaleas.
This plant is quite whimsical. However, all care efforts justify the luxurious flowers that the azalea bestows on its owners.
The stems and leaves of the plant are poisonous, you should protect the azalea from small children and pets.
Azalea blooms very beautifully
|Spring Summer||10–15aboutC. This temperature is difficult in the summer, even in central Russia. Therefore, azalea rarely blooms in summer.||Direct sunlight is unacceptable, diffused light is required. You can take it out into the garden and dig it right in the pot in partial shade.||70-80%. There should be a pallet of damp pebbles or moss under the pot.|
|Autumn winter||In October-December - 6-10 ° C (for the successful formation of flower buds), in January-February - 15-17 ° C (this temperature stimulates flowering).||Diffused light.||Spray every day. The droplets should be small, because large spots remain on the plant. Refrain from spraying during flowering.|
As a rule, azalea is bought or given in bloom. After the plant has bloomed, the plant needs to be transplanted.
Indoor plants are rarely found that need acidic soil with a pH of 4–4.5. For planting, it is better to buy special soil for azaleas (or acidophilic plants, i.e. those who love acidic soil), since it is rather difficult to collect it on your own. Don't forget about the drainage at the bottom of the pot.
When transplanting, tender roots do not need to be freed from the ground
The root system of the azalea is shallow, so you need a pot that is shallow and wide. The roots are very delicate, so the azalea is transplanted by transshipment of an earthen coma. Then they simply add the required amount of earth to the new pot.
Azaleas up to 3 years old are transplanted annually in late spring, and older ones - 1 time in 2 or 3 years.
The soil in the pot should always be moist - not soggy. For watering, it is ideal to use rain or melt water, in the absence of such - settled. Since azaleas love an acidic environment, you can periodically add lemon juice to the irrigation water (5-7 drops per 1 liter of water). Many gardeners use this method of watering: they pour it not into a pot at the root, but into a tray, and the plant itself “draws out” the required amount of water.
There must be a pallet under the pot of the azalea - you need to pour water into it
For feeding, you should use a special fertilizer for azaleas. Top dressing mode: in spring and summer - weekly (you need to prepare fertilizer in accordance with the instructions). In winter and autumn, when buds are being formed, the plant should be watered with a superphosphate solution (15 g of substance per 10 l of water).
The best fertilizer for azaleas is a special fertilizer that can be purchased at a flower shop.
Correct timely pruning of the azalea bush is the key to high-quality abundant flowering. Pruning is done in May. New shoots are pinched in such a way that 4–5 leaves remain on them. If a shoot appears near a flower bud, it is cut off.
You can choose the type of crown - tree or bushy. To get a small tree, you need to choose the strongest branch (this will be the trunk), cut off the rest of the shoots. For stability, the trunk should be tied to a support. When the height of the shoot reaches the desired size, the tip is pinched, after which the plant begins to branch. After that, you need to sometimes turn the plant, pinching the shoots, achieving the shape of a ball.
Pruning allows you to give the plant different shapes
To form a bush, the shoots are pinched at a distance of 10 cm from the ground. For uniform development of the branches, the pot is turned from time to time.
In subsequent years, this form is maintained; it is also necessary to remove weak, too thickening crown and unhealthy branches.
Azalea flowers are magnificent - their decorativeness attracts florists. Cut flowers keep fresh for a long time, one inflorescence may well replace a bouquet. The plant blooms in winter, bringing spring freshness to winter weekdays.
The bud, swelling, releases 2–4 buds. When the flowers wither, they must be removed along with the peduncles, then the bush will delight with flowering longer. You also need to remove the seed pods, as the plant expends energy to ripen the seeds.
Blooming azaleas are an amazingly beautiful sight
In late spring, when flowering ends, a dormant period begins for the azalea. The plant is pruned, transplanted if necessary, harvested in partial shade or taken out into the garden. Watering, spraying and feeding is not stopped.
After flowering, the plant is pruned, if necessary, transplanted, removed in partial shade
|Leaves fall||The balance of conditions of detention is imbalanced - too dry or too humid air, too low or too high temperature||Monitor humidity and temperature|
|Spider mite||If it does not bloom, the plant is often sprayed (the tick does not like a humid environment), when flowering, use a soap solution and chemicals.|
|Leaves turn yellow||Chlorosis develops||Acidify water for irrigation. Monitor the temperature level (15-16aboutFROM). Spray with Ferovit or magnesium sulfate.|
|Scale damage (you can recognize it by brown plaques that appear on the leaves)||Treat with soapy water. With a large amount of scale insects, apply chemicals.|
|Leaves dry||Azalea moth (visible to the naked eye, has the shape of a caterpillar)||Collect pests by hand. Treat the plant with a chemical.|
|Low air humidity||Spray, place on a pallet with damp pebbles.|
|Heat||Observe the temperature regime (15-16aboutFROM).|
|The plant is exposed to direct sunlight||Provide the azaleas with diffused lighting.|
|Insufficient feeding||Adjust the feeding mode.|
|Little light||Provide the azaleas with good diffused lighting.|
|Rot of the root system due to excess water||Reduce watering. You may have to transplant the plant: remove it from the pot, wrap the roots with thin paper to absorb excess moisture, leave it for 2 days. Plant in new soil.|
|Leaves dry during flowering||Not enough water||Provide the flower with more water.|
|Leaves turn black||Thrips (small insect, not always visible to the naked eye)||Treat with Karbofos (according to the instructions).|
|Rhododendron tick damage||Treat with Diazinon (according to the instructions).|
|The plant withers, does not bloom or blooms poorly||Poor quality soil||Transplant the flower into high-quality soil. Adjust the feeding mode.|
|The tips of the leaves turn brown||Watering with hard water||Use soft, settled water for irrigation.|
Photo gallery: problems with growing azaleas
Seed propagation is difficult and difficult, this method is used by professionals.
At home, the best way to propagate an azalea is by cuttings.
Cuttings are harvested after flowering
Cuttings are planted vertically, burying 2 cm into the ground
For better rooting, you need to arrange a greenhouse for the cutting
Azalea grown from cuttings will delight you with its flowering after 2 years.
Azalea can also be propagated by dividing the bush. When transplanting with the utmost care, a 3-4-year-old bush is divided in two and planted in another pot.
The most important rule that I have determined for myself is watering only in the pallet, and abundantly, especially in summer. Now, in preparation for flowering, he drinks water from the sump in front of our eyes in a matter of minutes. And the second is the obligatory removal of dry twigs, yellowed leaves, faded and unblown buds after flowering, and pinching the upper branches so that the plant will again delight you with its flowering. Otherwise, caring for her is not particularly difficult, the main thing is to choose the right place, she does not like dry air, does not like direct sunlight.
Many friends tell me that the azalea does not take root in them, the leaves turn yellow and fall off, they cannot wait for the beginning of flowering. I usually have a pot with this flower in the kitchen, on the windowsill, under which the battery does not pass, and even then in the winter we often have the battery disconnected in the kitchen. Therefore, the flower is comfortable, not hot or cold. And from May to October, the azalea stands on the loggia, as it does not tolerate the heat well, and at night it is cooler there. Azalea requires regular watering, the soil should be moist all the time. Sometimes I put the pot in the bathroom and water from the shower with fine nozzles. When the plant gets too hot, I take ice from the fridge and cover the pot.
Azalea is a very whimsical flower. It definitely doesn't suit me, I have a huge number of plants, but I don't want an azalea. She needs constant, daily care. As a rule, we are all in a hurry and sometimes there is simply no time to take care of. And so the flower is insanely beautiful, there are so many varieties of it, they are all beautiful! My friend has azalea, but she is very meticulous and pedantic in character, she constantly fertilizes and sprays her. And that, in gratitude to her, blooms twice a year with a beautiful big hat. She never waters the azalea, she always pours water into the sump. She also does not recommend turning the plant, in general it is better not to move or rearrange. Azalea is very susceptible to various diseases.
So, the azalea turned out to be a rather capricious plant. However, her tenderness and beauty justify the effort and time spent. A properly organized temperature regime, competent watering and feeding, timely pruning and transplanting - and the bush will give the florist a wonderful abundant flowering.
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The species Azalea belongs to the genus Rhododendron. The Indian variety is also called the Sims azalea. If desired, you can form a tree on a trunk or a bonsai-style composition from a shrub. The height of an adult specimen is 40-50 cm, when grown at home, pruning and pinching are mandatory conditions, so an indoor flower can be much lower.
The leaves are lanceolate, small, dark green in color. Young shoots are covered with reddish or brownish hairs. Flowers are collected in inflorescences and reach 5 cm in diameter. 2-6 buds appear from 1 leaf sinus. Depending on the variety, the petals are double or simple, one-color or multi-colored, edged or variegated. Possible colors of Indian azalea are white, yellow, pink, cream, red.
In garden centers, the variety marked mini is very popular. The plant grows small, the designation mix indicates a different color of the bushes.
If you want to buy a flower of a certain color, it is recommended to buy specimens with opened buds.
Azaleas are very moisture-loving plants, for which drying out of an earthen coma is deadly. At the same time, azaleas do not like the constant stagnation of water in the pan. The main secret of their successful cultivation is proper watering.
Take a 1 liter plastic bottle, fill it with boiled water from a cooled kettle and find a convenient place for it on the refrigerator door. Sprinkle this bottle of cold water on the azalea every morning. Fill the bottle only with cooled boiled water - it contains less salt. Drain excess water from the pan 15 minutes after watering.
So you will provide this cold-loving and moisture-loving plant with an optimal moisture regime and a cool temperature. By touching your hand to the side of the ceramic azalea pot before and after watering, you can easily feel how much colder the pot becomes after watering. It is in such a constantly moist and cool pot that the azalea will feel great, grow well and bloom luxuriantly.
For watering, use only boiled or filtered water, because it contains much less salts and calcium, which inhibit the growth of azaleas. Calcium leaches the soil, removing the acidity necessary for azaleas. That is why the less calcium, chlorine and other impurities enters the soil with water, the better for the plant.
When transplanting, you should be careful, it is better to work with gloves, not forgetting about the toxicity of the plant.
Azalea grows rather quickly and branches intensively, so young plants need an annual transplant. For adults, one procedure is enough every 2-3 years, when the roots are tightly braided with an earthen ball or a layer of moss appears on the surface of the soil. You can transplant the plant immediately after flowering.
The root system of azaleas is superficial, so they do not need a large and deep pot. The best option is a container that looks like a salad bowl or a soup plate.
The azalea pot should be shallow
Azaleas prefer an acidic substrate, which is quite unusual for indoor plants (pH 4.5–5.0). It is maintained at the desired level by watering the flower with a 0.2% citric acid solution or aspirin (a tablet for 1 tbsp. Water) every 5-6 weeks. Other soil requirements are nutritional value, fiber, looseness and good aeration. There is a ready-made soil on sale designed specifically for rhododendrons (most often, pure heather soil), but you can also prepare it yourself from coniferous soil, peat chips and coarse river sand (6: 3: 1).
Azalea soil can be purchased at the store, but experienced flower growers prefer to prepare it themselves.
The step-by-step transplant process is as follows:
Azalea is transplanted using the transshipment method
Florists advise replanting the azalea immediately after purchase. This must be done due to the fact that plants, as a rule, are in the transport soil and are treated with various synthetic substances to preserve their presentation. However, azalea is often bought in bloom, and transplanting in this state is difficult for the plant to tolerate. Therefore, the choice remains with the florist.
When growing azaleas at home, 2 main breeding methods are used: cuttings and dividing the bush.
The best time for such a procedure is spring and early summer. Cuttings (7-10 cm in size) are harvested from a strong semi-lignified shoot. Cuttings are cut obliquely with a sharp disinfected knife and make sure that each cuttings have kidneys. The lower leaves need to be cut to half the petiole, the rest - to half the leaf plate. The cuttings are placed in a lower cut in a solution of "Kornevin" (for better root formation) and incubated for about 6 hours.
Then, in a shallow bowl, the soil is prepared (a little gravel and river sand, and on top is coniferous earth or sphagnum moss with peat). Cuttings are placed in this substrate to a depth of 1.5-2 cm at a distance of 3-4 cm from each other, watered abundantly and covered with a transparent bag to create "greenhouse" conditions. Waiting for the roots to appear, the plantings are regularly watered and sprayed with warm, settled water. To avoid the appearance of mold, daily aeration is carried out for an hour and then covered again. When flower buds appear, they must be immediately removed, and the stretching cuttings must be pinched.
Under these conditions, the cuttings take root in about 1.5-2 months. When the cuttings show signs of the formation of their own shoots, they need to be transplanted into pots.
This procedure is possible only with healthy adult plants, which are already 3-4 years old. It is better to do this in the spring during a period of high activity and the greatest mobilization of the defenses of plants. The peculiarities of the root system of azaleas should be taken into account. - the presence of many small, but important roots and specific microflora around them. There is a risk that cultivation problems will arise with the intervention. The division of the bush is carried out by experienced growers with the utmost care with sharp disinfected tools. New bushes for successful recovery will require close attention and intensive care for a whole year.
There is also a seed method for propagating azaleas, but it is used mainly in breeding work. This is a difficult laborious process, so it is better not to plant azalea seeds at home.
For reproduction, take semi-lignified cuttings with 3-5 leaves at least 10 cm in size, most often obtained by pruning a plant. It is necessary to make an oblique cut under the lower leaf with a bud and cut the 2 lower leaves in half. For better rooting, the cutting is dipped in a root or heteroauxin solution for 6 hours. They are planted to a depth of 2 cm and make a greenhouse regularly ventilating and maintaining humidity in it by spraying. After 2 weeks, the greenhouse is removed and the cuttings continue to be sprayed. It is necessary to ensure that the temperature does not fall below 20-24 ºC. Rooting occurs on average in a month and a half.
Azalea advents glocken.
Most often, plant diseases are the result of improper care:
As a result, such diseases develop:
The main enemies of azaleas among pests are strawberry and spider mites and scale insects. A measure of the fight against them will be the drug "Actellik" and regular spraying of the leaves.
Azalea is incredibly beautiful. Let the cultivation of rhododendron require a lot of effort and attention, but a flowering bush will more than pay off all the investments.