Azaleas are very popular flower bearing plants because of its hardy nature. These plants are easy to care for and require minimal intervention to ensure that it thrives. Azaleas bloom white, red or purple flowers, although there are some rare orange varieties available.
Here are some tips on how to care for a potted azalea.
- Place the azalea in a shady area. Azaleas do not need direct sunlight. It thrives best in shady places, such as under a tree or where it will only occasionally get morning sunlight. If you will place your potted azalea indoors, choose a cool room, away from direct hot sunlight such as a kitchen window. It will do better in a room where the temperature is cool to moderate.
- Observe proper watering.Your potted plant will do well when watered every other day. You only need to water the plant daily if it is exposed to direct sunlight. Check the soil to make sure that it is not dry and flakey. You should also have proper drainage in the pot.
- No need for fertilizer. As long as the soil as a good pH level of 5.5 or 6, most azaleas do not require fertilizer to grow. If you do choose to use fertilizer, go for the organic variety, such as cottonseed meal. Also, use the fertilizer during the dormant season, which is around late fall.
- Check the leaves. The leaves of the azalea will give you an indication as to the overall health of the plants. If you find orange spores on the leaves, this is a sign of fungal infection. If the tips of the leaves are brown, it is a sign of improper watering. There may be poor drainage in the pot resulting in the rotting of the roots from constant water exposure. If the plants look listless, it is not getting enough water. It is also on the leaves where you will find any pests that have taken residence in your plant. Remove these by hand whenever possible.
- Prune regularly. After the azalea blooms, prune off the branches to encourage new growth. Cut until you see green parts of the wood. Pruning will encourage new bud growth and help prevent the spread of disease. Check the underside of the leaves. Remove any bugs such as azalea caterpillars. If you see any orange discoloration on the leaves and bark of the plant, you may have a fungal infection.
- Disinfect your tools. After pruning your plant, soak the cutters in a solution of water with some bleach. This will kill off any bacteria, especially those that can be especially harmful to azaleas such as fungus and mildew.
- Repot every two to three years.Observe the growth of your azalea. On an annual basis, you will need to replenish the soil to ensure that it is receiving ample nutrients. When the azalea outgrows the pot it is in, you will need to repot it. Depending on the variety that you have, some azaleas can grow up to ten feet tall. On an annual basis, it grows anywhere between two to ten inches.
If you would like to learn more about these beautiful plants, you can check out the website of the Azalea society of America at azaleas.org.