Professional care for azalea in winter: rules and tips
Azalea is an evergreen plant that can rightfully be called the most striking decoration of a home flower garden. This plant was brought to the continent from England in the 19th century, but it was far from immediately possible to take root in the new conditions. Only thanks to many years of painstaking work of breeders, we got the opportunity to grow this capricious, but very beautiful flower in our homes. Caring for an azalea in winter is difficult, but the result will be great flowering at a time when other indoor plants require complete rest.
- Overview of Azaleas
- Optimal conditions for keeping azaleas in winter
- When and how to feed azaleas?
- Secrets of the beautiful bloom of azaleas
- Pruning and shaping the crown
- Azalea pests and diseases
Azalea is a plant included in the genus Rhododendron, it is a direct relative of the heather shrub. Outwardly it is?
- A small shrub with many side branches and small leaves, flowers can be simple and double.
- The color of the buds can be very diverse: these are all shades of pink, azalea can also bloom with white, purple or red buds, and there are both early and late flowering varieties.
Azalea remains a favorite plant in many countries. In the east, from such a bush it is often bonsai formed, which becomes a symbol of prosperity, covered with bright and very beautiful petals.
Azalea is often presented as a gift to lovers of indoor flowers during flowering, and after a few days it completely dries up and dies. This is due to the fact that the conditions of an ordinary city apartment are completely unsuitable for such a flower, and the azalea quickly dies on the windowsill.
In order for this beautiful flower to decorate your home, it will have to create special conditions.
Azalea needs constant care, so you will have to devote enough time to the flower. If you do not have the opportunity to seriously engage in floriculture, it is better to choose less whimsical plants for decorating your home.
Gorgeous delicate azalea requires a special temperature regime. In our apartments it is usually too hot for her, the optimum temperature is + 10-15 degrees. The maximum temperature is +18, if it is warmer, the plant will quickly begin to dry out.
To make the azalea feel comfortable in the room, you can use a few simple tricks:
- The pot in the room can be overlaid with ice cubes. This is the easiest way to lower the temperature for the plant, and it will feel much better. It is important not to overdo it, so as not to damage the roots with cold.
- The plant needs to be watered frequently and regularly sprayed with cool water. It can be just at room temperature, it is advisable to use distilled water. Maintaining the desired humidity regime will prevent the leaves from drying out.
- Azalea will feel good on a loggia and even on an open balcony, if the temperature does not drop below +5 degrees. Flowers will form from October until the very beginning of winter, at which time the plant needs cool weather and humid air. The optimum temperature during this period is + 16-17 degrees.
- It is best to place the plant on the north or east side of the house. It does not tolerate direct sunlight, so partial shade and a shaded area would be the best placement option.
- It is important to maintain a constant watering regime: the soil should be moist at all times, but not too wet. If, for some reason, the earthen lump is completely dry, the pot must be placed in a container of water for several hours, and after three days it will be possible to return to the usual watering regime.
The plant is watered at least 2 times a day, and the higher the temperature in the room, the more abundant the watering should be. In addition, you will have to regularly spray the azalea with water at room temperature. It is undesirable to use tap water: at least you need to let it settle, which will take at least a day.
One of the prerequisites beautiful long flowering - correct feeding in accordance with the regime:
- Mineral fertilizer "Superphosphate" can be used once every two weeks: the dosage is about 15 grams per 15 liters of liquid.
- In a flower shop you can buy complex fertilizer "Azalea": this is a ready-made kit containing a full set of nutrients and special microelements.
- When the buds begin to form, you can speed up the flowering process and make it more lush: for this you need to purchase a complex fertilizer "Uniflor-Bud". It contains potassium and phosphorus, which azaleas need during the flowering period.
- When the azalea has faded and the growing season begins, the azalea will need a lot of nitrogen to build up green mass. During this period, you can use the special fertilizer "Uniflor-micro". It is necessary to read the instructions and strictly dose the drug: an overdose will not only not give a positive result, but can also cause serious harm to the root system.
- There is one more important top dressing - "Iron chelate" (another name - "ferovit"). It allows you to provide the leaves with a sufficient amount of iron if the plant begins to turn yellow. It is also important to strictly follow the instructions to prevent excess amounts of trace elements from entering the soil.
When purchasing an azalea, you should opt for a plant with a large number of buds, which will have only a few blossoming flowers. It is such a shrub that will delight you with flowering for a long time, and the petals, when the right conditions are created, will not begin to crumble.
An important rule of thumb: the warmer the room, the shorter the flowering period will be.
So if the greenhouse room is only 12 degrees, each azalea bush will be able to delight you with flowers for several months, and if the temperature is higher, then this period will be reduced to two to three weeks.
There are several secrets of flower growers that allow you to get abundant and long-lasting flowering:
- Correctly selected soil composition. This is peat, heather and coniferous soil, the substrate should be as light and permeable as possible. Such a soil mixture dries out very quickly, so you will need to constantly monitor it.
- Azalea prefers slightly acidified soils. In order to have a lot of flowers, it is enough to add just a drop of citric acid to the water for irrigation once a month. This will maintain an optimal balance in the ground.
- It is advisable to transplant a flower as rarely as possible. Each transplant is a very serious stress for the plant, therefore young azaleas (up to 3 years old) are transplanted no more than once a year, and older ones - only once every two years.Indications for transplanting may be an overgrown root system or decaying roots. Even after the purchase, you need to keep the plant in the same soil as long as possible, and for transplanting you need to pick up a special soil designed specifically for rhododendrons.
- You cannot loosen the soil. Azalea has very thin delicate roots that are quickly damaged when mixing the soil. Specially selected light soils provide a sufficient flow of oxygen to the roots, so additional loosening can be dispensed with.
In order for the bush to bloom longer, the faded buds must be removed immediately, in addition, the seed pods must be removed. This will allow the plant to retain energy for new flowers.
The flowering period will also help prolong the timely pruning of the plant and pinching the shoots. The more lush the bush, the worse it will bloom, so it is important to pay attention to the correct formation of the crown. Shoot pruning is carried out starting in May. Buds are formed at the tops of the shoots, so you need to make sure that there are as many of these tops as possible.
An azalea can be turned into a small, beautiful tree, like a Japanese bonsai tree, or into a small shrub with lots of side branches.
To form a crown-tree, the largest branch is selected, other shoots are removed. When the branch reaches the desired size, the tip is pinched, and the lateral processes will begin to grow. In this case, the plant must be turned so that the crown forms evenly, and pinch the tops of the overgrown branches. To form a crown-bush, you need to pinch the branches at a distance of 12 cm from the root, and when lateral processes appear, turn the plant regularly. Then the shoots will stretch evenly, and the bush will look beautiful. With each pruning, all diseased and damaged shoots are removed.
Azalea will appreciate your concern: if you control the growth and formation of new shoots, as well as ensure compliance with the temperature regime, the plant will become a real decoration of the flower garden. From the side, the flowering bush is completely covered with buds, and you can't even see the leaves on it, which looks just wonderful.
Unfortunately, any grower can face very unpleasant azalea diseases, which can not only stop the flowering of the bush, but also completely destroy the plant. The most serious threats are:
- Spider mite. It is a common pest who "loves" roses very much, azaleas and other flowering plants. The parasite feeds on cell sap, which is why white dots appear on the leaves, and the leaf blades gradually dry out. The most striking feature is white bloom on the leaves and the formation of thin transparent cobwebs. For a successful fight, you need to isolate the plant, remove all damaged leaves and carry out treatment with special insecticidal preparations, for example, "Kleschevit". Re-processing is required after a few days, as new mites will appear from the eggs.
- The strawberry mite is another terrible pest that can completely destroy the plant. Young leaves begin to curl inward, the buds either do not appear at all, or quickly fall off. Processing will help strong insecticides, for example, "Neoron". The plant itself, the pot and the pallet are processed, the dosage must be calculated according to the instructions.
- Yellowing and dropping of leaves is most often evidence of improper watering. The plant reacts in this way to a lack of water or to its inappropriate composition. Hard water must not be used for irrigation, in addition, the earthen clod must not be allowed to dry. To prevent the plant from suffering in the summer months or in winter after turning on the heating, it must be constantly sprayed.
Although azalea is a capricious flower, it is quite possible to create acceptable conditions for it that will ensure consistently magnificent flowering. It can be made a real decoration of a balcony or a greenhouse; it looks great in a home summer garden.
Azalea easily tolerates outdoor coolness, so the pots can be placed on open terraces in late summer and early autumn.
The main condition for fast growth and excellent flowering is the attention and care of the owner. This plant is sensitive to the attitude of the owner, and with proper care, it will constantly delight you with bright buds. The fragile northern beauty can become a regular in your garden, and you can experiment by growing plants with different petal colors.
More information about azalea care can be found in the video.