Azaleas are very popular gift plants sold by florists, just as they are coming into flower. It is wise to buy them just as the buds are beginning to show colour. However, there are two types, needing quite different treatment. The one usually seen at Christmas is the Indian
azalea., which is tender and forced into bloom for the Christmas trade. From late winter to spring, the hardy Japanese azaleas – the Kurume hybrids which are hybrids – are sold. These may also have been gently forced. Both of these azaleas form neat, low-growing shrubby plants and bear masses of glorious flower in rich colours, forming very impressive displays in the home. Indian azaleas are difficult to cultivate in normal home conditions. After purchase. place the plant where it is cool and there are no draughts, but not cold. About 10 deg C (50 deg F) is ideal. Keep the nicely moist. Wide changes of any kind can cause the to drop. In summer, put the plant outdoors where it’s shady, and continue to keep the roots
moist. In autumn, the plant can be brought into a cool room with a minimum of 7 deg C (45 deg F). It is not easy to provide the warmth andachieved by nurseries when forcing these plants, so flowering may be much later than Christmas.
The Japanese azalea is much easier to grow, but they really need to spend most of their life outdoors in the garden, or on aor balcony. The plants are best brought into the home when just coming into bud. and put into a cool. airy room out of direct sunlight. At all limes, shade should be provided, or an outside chosen on the north side of the house.
Whenor , remember to use an acid potting . The plants dislike alkaline or limy composts, and also hard tap-water. This invariably leads to yellowing of the foliage, poor growth, and eventually failure. Use clean rainwater for . Often. erratic can result in and bud drop. This may not occur until some time after the period of maltreatment. Whitefly is the most common insect pest.