Indian Azalea – Azalea Indica

The Indian Azalea is a beautiful dwarf shrub, usually of good shape with slightly domed top. Very colourful when in flower, since almost the entire plant is covered in blooms, it is available in a number of different shades of red or pink, and also in white, making a brilliant splash of colour. The flowers appear before the foliage matures – the early, pale green leaves enlarge to about 11 in long, becoming dark green and slightly glossy.

Indian Azalia

Temperatures:

  • Growing season 22-24 °C (72-75 °F)
  • Minimum winter 12-15 °C (53-60 °F)

Soil: A soil-less compost with good drainage. The sequestrene it needs is stocked at nurseries and garden centres.

Where to position: Keep in a well lit, airy place, away from direct sunlight. Keep out of draughts.

Watering requirements: Use rainwater or soft water, never tap water. Maintain moist soil condition; it should never dry out. The plant needs high humidity from the time the buds form right through the flowering period. Mist-spray the buds daily with tepid soft water. If they become dry they will drop off.

Feeding and fertilizer: Careful watering and cool steady temperatures. Green shoots beside flower buds should be pulled back until they snap off, to avoid sapping the strength of the buds. Feed well-diluted liquid fertilizer weekly. Pinch off dead flowers.

Rest and care: The shoots which appear after flowering finishes must be allowed to grow, as next year’s flower buds will form at their tips. Re-pot if necessary. Keep the plant, well watered, in a cool room, or a shady spot in the garden from early summer until early autumn.

When it looks sick:

  • Leaves fall : Place plant in cooler spot.
  • Leaves become yellow : Tap water may have been used. They are lime-haters and must have soft water. Buds drop : Place plant in cool spot away from draughts. Mist-spray with tepid water.
  • Plant looks dull and dry : Water regularly to maintain a moist soil condition. Good drainage is a must. Pale yellowing leaves : Add a pinch of sequestrene of iron to its next watering.

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