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Indian azalea, Sims’s
Azaleas have funnel-shaped
flowers in clustered heads and oblong-to-obovate-shaped,
dark-green leaves. Plants are typically dwarf shrubs that grow
to 1 foot to 1.5 feet tall, but topiary forms also are
Hues include a wide range
of reds and pinks, peach, salmon, white, purple and variegated
With proper care, azaleas
in bud stage can give consumers up to six weeks of enjoyment.
Azaleas in bloom provide two to four weeks of beauty. Getting
azaleas to rebloom indoors can be a complicated process.
Azaleas are available
genus comprises around 800 species, two of which are widely
available as potted plants: R. simsii, which is, by far,
the most common, and R. obtusum (Japanese azalea, Hiryu
azalea, Kirishima azalea, Kurume azalea).
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
Azaleas require bright, diffused light (no direct sunlight).
Azaleas’ potting medium must be kept evenly moist at all times,
using soft water.
Azaleas prefer cool air; 60 F to 70 F during the daytime and 50
F to 60 F at night.
Azaleas like high humidity levels. Misting leaves is helpful.
No fertilization is required, unless you want to try to get
azaleas to rebloom, which can be difficult; in that case, use an
azalea fertilizer that contains iron.
Azaleas prefer a potting medium of equal parts peat moss and
Remove faded flowers promptly, and cut or pinch off any young
green shoots that may extend beyond the blooms.
FALLING OR SHRIVELING LEAVES
Leaf drop or shriveling is most often caused by dry soil.
Submerge the pot in room-temperature soft water, until the
potting medium is thoroughly saturated (bubbles disappear),
every day for a week, and never allow it to dry out again. Other
common causes are too-low humidity, too-high temperatures and
too much sun exposure. If the plant has lost more than one-third
of its leaves, discard it because it will never recover.
This is an indication of either an iron deficiency or the
presence of lime in the potting medium or water. To treat an
iron deficiency, fertilize the plant with an azalea food that
contains iron. To rid compost of lime, treat with MultiTonic,
and water the plant with soft water.
This can be an indication of root rot caused by soil-borne
fungi. Infected plants should be discarded.
Spider mites are the most common pests, and infestations occur
when the air is too warm and/or too dry. Parched or crinkled
leaf tips, with webbing on leaf undersides, is a sign of spider
mites. Prune infested stems, but if more than one-third of the
plant is infested, discard the plant.
Unless you live where winters are short and mild,
Rhododendron simsii plants are difficult to get to rebloom
(unlike the hardy garden Rhododendrons/azaleas). Advise
customers to enjoy their azalea plants as they would
long-lasting flower bouquets.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The genus name “Rhododendron” is derived from the
Greek “rhodon” (rose) and “dendron” (tree).
Rhododendron is a member of the Ericaceae
(heath) family. Relatives include Erica (heath),
Calluna (heather), Gaultheria (salal/lemonleaf/wintergreen)
and Vaccinium (huckleberry/blueberry/cranberry).
HOME SWEET HOME
Rhododendron simsii is native to Southeast Asia and
southern China. R. obtusum is native to Japan.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner
Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
The Complete Guide to Conservatory Plants, by Ann Bonar
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, by Barbara Pleasant
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
The Houseplant Encyclopedia by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
The House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.