How to care for Azaleas
Azalea encapsulates the beauty of spring.
When fully bloomed, its pink, red, violet and orange hues inject freshness and joy into our homes or gardens.
Did you know that the beauty of this easy-to-grow plant is celebrated in countries like?;
• Hong Kong
• and the USA, where festivals are held annually.
Taking care of an azalea is not too hard, making this plant a top choice for vanquishing drab and boring nooks and empty spaces in our homes.
Here’s how to care for your azalea plant:
Planting and soil requirements
• Azaleas thrive in moist and acidic soils with pH between five and six.
• Good drainage is essential for keeping the soil moist rather than soggy which can trigger rotting in the roots of the plant.
-Dig a hole slightly deeper than the depth of roots and leave about a foot on each side. Ideally, at the bottom, lay a specially formulated low-pH substratum.
-Placing a two-inch layer of organic mulch around the plant will help it retain the necessary moisture. Mulch will also add enough nutrients to reduce the need for fertilizing to about once a year.
HOW MUCH LIGHT DO AZALEAS NEED?
These flowers love locations that are both shady and bright. Exposure to the strong sun at noon should be avoided. Rather azaleas thrive when exposed to the weak morning sun and then remain in the shade for the rest of the day. This makes the eastern or north-eastern areas of your property – if planted outside – ideal for these flowers. If planted inside, place your azalea where it can get light either in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Watering and feeding your azaleas
Keep in mind! : Azaleas have shallow and tender roots, making them vulnerable to water and drought stress, so over-watering and under-watering should be avoided at all costs. Instead, the moisture of the soil should be your pointer whether a watering is due. Keep it moist.
!TIPS FOR WATERING THESE PLANTS! :
• Allow the water to penetrate deeply and leave until the soil dries, then repeat.
• Those plants that are exposed to the sun for longer will need more water, but be careful not to make the soil soggy as it can trigger rotting.
• Mass cultivation with azaleas is possible and could benefit from a well-thought-out surface irrigation system.
• While sprinkling most plants with water leaves them vulnerable to fungus attacks, the azalea flower absorbs water from its leaves to compensate for its weak roots. This is why spraying its leaves with a sprinkler, preferably before sun exposure each day, should be a regular practice.
Fertilizer should be applied once a year, but don’t overdo it as the roots are frail. The azalea’s leaves will turn yellow when the soil has been sucked out of its nitrogen and other nutrients, and this is your green light for a fertilizer treatment. Otherwise, only fertilize during late spring or early autumn, after the blooming has finished.
Azaleas should be pruned to keep them in a beautiful, symmetric form. Don’t be too afraid to cut off big branches or twigs as the plant will recover if all other steps have been done correctly.
The best time to prune: Pruning ideally should be done after the blooming period has finished to avoid harming the flowers or any new buds. Trimming the canopy will encourage it to become denser, which will be a huge pay-off when it blooms in late spring.
If cared for properly, azalea flowers can live up to 40 years and more.
Following this set of instructions will help you enjoy the astonishing beauty of these spirited plants for a long time to come.