Azalea or rhododendron indoor: maintenance and care at home
Azalea is a very beautiful ornamental plant of small size (about 30 cm in height), but, unfortunately, very capricious. Not everyone succeeds in creating suitable conditions not only for flowering, but for the survival of the azalea as a whole.
In forums, and in specialized stores, people often complain that the acquired abundantly blooming azalea at home quickly discards flower stalks, and then dies.
To prevent the death of rhododendron, you need to know the basics of caring for it.
Popular types of indoor azalea
Many varieties of azaleas are known. - some are planted in the garden, others are suitable for maintenance in the house.
Most popular for indoor breeding:
- Japanese azalea;
- Indian plant species;
Japanese Azalea (dull rhododendron)
In Russia, breeding of rhododendron began with several colors donated by the Japanese to Nicholas II. Azalea was originally cultivated as a greenhouse.
However, the Japanese variety feels great in open ground and is able to withstand even frosts down to -25 ° C. The garden version of the rhododendron can grow into a branched bush of decent size (sometimes up to one and a half meters).
Interesting! During the flowering period, which occurs in May, rhododendron looks like a fragrant cloud, as evidenced by numerous photos on the Internet.
In Japan, rhododendron is dull often used as hedges, since plants planted nearby form a dense wall of intertwined branches.
The plant is suitable for cultivation in the style of bonsai. Miniature bushes become real works of art during flowering.
Indian Azalea (Sims Rhododendron, Azalea indica)
India is considered the birthplace of the plant, but Sims azalea is also found in China and North America. Sims began the victorious march through the countries of Europe with England from the end of the 18th century.
Therefore, it will not be cunning to say that indoor rhododendron originates precisely from this type of azalea.
Azalea Knap Hill hybrid
This is a leaf-dropping hybrid bred in the 19th century by breeder Anthony Warter in the Knap Hill Nursery nursery based on Japanese and American varieties of rhododendron.
A feature and main difference from evergreen azaleas is the less exacting hybrid to growing conditions.
Attention! Flowers of this variety cannot tolerate direct sunlight, but they feel great in partial shade.
Classification of azaleas by flowering time
According to the timing of flowering, azaleas are divided into three large groups:
- The early ones. Their flowering occurs in the period from October to December.
- Medium. Release corollas in January-February.
- Late. Gaining color since March.
This variation is due to differences in the resting period and different sensitivity to increased daylight hours.
Early varieties have a mild dormant period, which occurs at a rather high ambient temperature - +18 ° C.
Late varieties, on the contrary, are characterized by a long dormant period, slowly emerge from it. Awakening of plants can be accelerated by lowering the air temperature to 5 ... 10 ° C.
Home Azalea Care
Rhododendron is very whimsical and demanding on growing conditions. But if you organize the right care, then the pet will bloom regularly and grow well.
Not every plant lover has such a whim on the teeth as indoor azalea: home care requires compliance with the watering regime, the right temperature, good lighting.
With no less thoroughness, you need to select the soil for transplantation.
First of all, care after purchase comes down to finding a suitable place for the plant. Azalea is photophilous, but direct sunlight can cause burns on the leaves, after which the plant "bald".
The most suitable for rhododendron will be windows oriented to the east or west, it will feel good in weak partial shade, being a little away from the windowsill.
For the plant a large amount of ultraviolet radiation is necessary only during the period of kidney formation, but lamps for seedlings will help to solve the problem with additional lighting.
Too high air temperature will lead to the death of azaleas. it the plant is not heat-loving, the optimum temperature for the flower is about 16 ... 17 ° C, and during the pasture of peduncles even less - no more than 12 ° C.
If the rhododendron is provided with the correct temperature regime, then it will produce more peduncles, the corollas will be larger, and the flowering period will be longer.
Azalea loves high humidity, but does not tolerate excessive soil moisture: stagnation of moisture in the pot provokes rotting of the roots.
The plant must be sprayed regularly from the spray bottle using cool water. Well, next to the flower, put an open container with water.
During the heating season you need to spray daily or even twice a day. During the flowering period, spraying is carried out with increased care, trying to prevent liquid from entering the petals.
This can cause darkening of inflorescences and their premature death.
How to water
Watering should be taken very seriously. To prevent the death of the plant, you must follow the rules:
- Azalea requires systematic watering, but during the period of production of peduncles of moisture she needs more.
- In no case do not allow the earth to dry out in the pot. If this happened (for example, during a vacation), the flower can be reanimated by putting it in a container with warm water for a couple of hours. The earth in the pot will draw the necessary amount of liquid, and then you can water the plant in normal mode.
- Prevent moisture stagnation - This will be detrimental to the root system, and the azalea will die. All excess water from the pan must be drained. The earth in the pot should be slightly moist, but not moist.
- Do not water the azalea directly from the tap - Let her stand at least a couple of days.
- Perfect melt water is considered to be watering the plant - cool and free of harmful impurities.
Acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 is best suited for growing rhododendron. In flower shops, you can choose the right soil or make up the substrate yourself.
The proportion for mixing is 2: 1: 1; connect rotted coniferous land, sand and moss.
Nipping and trimming
Want to improve flowering, increase the number of corollas? Do not forgetpinch and prune the azalea regularly. This will help to give the bush the right shape and prevent the development of fungal diseases.
It is not necessary to sanitaryly prune all branches: it is enough to shorten too long and pinch young shoots to stop their growth at a certain height.
Important! After flowering, be sure to remove wilted flowers.
Fertilizers and growth stimulants
When choosing a mineral fertilizer for azaleas, pay attention to the composition - it should not have chlorine. This element is able to instantly destroy a healthy plant.
In specialized flower shops you can buy mineral fertilizer in liquid form, designed specifically for azaleas.
Most often, rhododendron is fed in the spring and summer - 1 time per week. In winter, the number of top dressings is drastically reduced: during the resting period of azalea, a vitamin supplement is sufficient once every 30–35 days.
With all responsibility, approach the transplantation of azaleas, since its roots are very delicate, it is easy to damage them. For the first time, a flower is recommended to be replanted when it has flowered.
Use transshipment method and try to keep the earthen clod as much as possible to avoid damage to the root system.
Young plants are transplanted every year, slightly increasing the diameter of the pot (the depth of the pot should be left the same, the roots should be close to the surface of the earth).
After 3 years of life, an adult plant is transplanted less often - 1 time in 2-3 years.
Propagation of domestic azaleas
The most popular variant of rhododendron propagation is cuttings, but a new plant is obtained by growing from seeds and layering.
Effective method to get a new viable plant:
- buds that began to woody are separated from the parent plant;
- place them in the azalea mixture, cover with a jar or bag;
- regularly sprayed and watered.
If flower ovaries appear on the handle, they must be removed. After 2 months, when the stem forms the root system, planting in a separate pot is necessary.
The mother bush is divided into several parts. For the successful implementation of the venture, choose a healthy, strong, well-developed bush:
- The earth is well watered and allowed to drain excess moisture.
- The plant is carefully removed from the pot and cut in one motion. The blade of a long sharp knife is pre-disinfected.
- Separated parts are planted in separate pots.
The method requires a long rehabilitation of azaleas, sometimes recovery takes more than a year.
For growing azaleas from seeds purchased soil will not work, you need to do it yourself. To do this, in equal parts mix turf and leaf soil, sand, peat and humus. Next steps:
- The finished substrate is placed in a container, the bottom of which is previously laid out with a layer of drainage.
- Abundantly watered, allow excess moisture to drain and spread the seeds on the soil surface with an interval of 2 cm. You do not need to fill the seeds with earth.
- The container with seeds is covered with glass or film and placed in a warm, well-lit place.
Usually the first shoots appear in a month.
Diseases and pests of room azalea: ways to combat
Most often, plant diseases are the result of improper care:
- plentiful watering;
- drying of the earth in a pot;
- direct sunlight on the leaves of the flower;
- thick shadow, lack of light;
- the temperature in the room where the azalea is growing is too high;
- improperly selected soil.
As a result, the following diseases develop:
- Leaves turn yellow and fall. The main reason is the drying up of the earth. Regular spraying and systematic watering will help eliminate this problem.
- Gray rot most often provokes stagnation of moisture in the pot. Prevention is the choice of containers with a drainage hole, falling asleep of the drainage layer during transplantation and observing the irrigation regime.
- Fungal diseases (for example, late blight) affect azalea due to the use of transplanted contaminated land or poorly processed tools.
The main enemies of azalea among pests are strawberry and spider mites and scabies. The “Actellic” preparation and regular spraying of leaves will become a measure to combat them.
Azalea is incredibly beautiful. Let the cultivation of rhododendron require a lot of effort and attention, but a flowering bush will more than pay for all investments.