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Indian azalea is a popular ornamental houseplant, which is a small tree or bush covered with bright flowers.
Inflorescences have a wide range of colors - their petals can be white, pink, red, peach or cream.
Azalea is especially popular among flower growers and has won universal love for its interesting and elegant appearance.
In terms of its decorative properties, Indian azalea is superior to many indoor plants. It is distinguished by long and lush flowering, as well as a variety of colors of buds - from white to bright red.
Azalea inflorescences are large and can reach 7 cm in diameter, petals can have double or corrugated edges. In the axils of the leaves, as a rule, there are 5-6 flowers. The plant can grow up to 50 cm in height.
History of origin
Azalea indica is considered the main ancestor of indoor rhododendron varieties, from which the rest of the hybrids were obtained. Azalea was introduced to Europe in the 16th century from China and Japan. By the 20th century, there were more than a thousand varieties of rhododendrons in culture.
Specifically, the Indian azalea was obtained as a result of interspecific and hybrid crosses of the Sima rhododendron. Indian azalea came to Russia as a gift to the royal family and was initially kept exclusively in court greenhouses.
What is the difference from other types of rhododendron?
At the moment, there are several thousand species of rhododendrons. The main difference between Indian azalea and other species is a much longer flowering period, which lasts almost all winter and spring.
Varieties - description and photo
Azalea Mix has small dark green leaves and large inflorescences of red, yellow, white, cream and pink. There is a heterogeneous color of flowers. The central shoot can reach a height of 50 cm. The plant is quite picky in terms of care, which, nevertheless, does not stop gardeners from actively cultivating it.
For the Indian azalea mix, the composition of the soil is of paramount importance - when planting, an acidic soil with a high content of organic elements is used.
Azalea Bicolor is one of the brightest varieties of rhododendrons... The height of the plant can reach 0.5 m. The inflorescences of the Indian azalea are bicolor medium in size and painted in a pink tint, and the leaves are dark green.
White Indian azalea is found in several varieties:
- Weiss Sheme.
The inflorescences of the white azalea are quite large, they can reach 7 cm in diameter. The petals of the flowers are white and slightly light green at the base.
The flowers of the red azalea are double-type and reach a diameter of about 6 - 6.5 cm, and the leaves are dark green. A bright red plant can be grown by planting Knut Erwen.
This azalea variety assumes the presence of double inflorescences that have a neat white-pink color. The duration of flowering is from the beginning of autumn to the end of April. The plant is distinguished by the abundance and brightness of flowers.
Sims bloom in the winter-spring period. The color range of inflorescences is varied - from white to red. The size of the buds reaches 3-5 cm, the petals of the plant are bifurcated and have double or grooved edges.
Indian azalea helmut differs from other types of azaleas in rather bright double inflorescences of purple-red color, the diameter of which can reach about 6 cm.
In our articles, you can learn about azalea species, including Bloumbux, as well as growing in the form of bonsai.
Flowering Indian rhododendron
When and how does it happen?
The active flowering of Indian azalea occurs in the winter-spring period. It begins to bloom in December and can delight with bright flowers until May. A prerequisite for early flowering is the swelling buds that form on the stems of the plant.
How to care?
In order to ensure the most lush flowering of Indian azaleas, it will be useful to perform pinching, which consists in removing young shoots. This should be done so that the plant concentrates its energy on the blossoming buds, and not on new shoots.
After flowering, you should carefully remove all dried buds.
What if it doesn't give flowers?
Several factors can affect the lack of flowering in Indian azalea:
- soil not suitable for the plant;
- lack of nutrients;
- excessively high temperature, which prevents buds from setting.
It is very important to ensure that the plant is in a comfortable environment for it.
Step-by-step instructions for home care
Choosing a landing site
It is extremely harmful for Indian azalea to be in direct sunlight.... It is important that during flowering the plant is in partial shade, in diffused light and in a free place. The best option for a flower would be a window sill located on the west, east or north side.
What should be the soil?
The soil for Indian azalea should have a pronounced acidic reaction. The following proportions are optimal:
- coniferous land - 2 parts;
- coarse sand - 1 part;
- peat - 1 part.
Correctly selected soil will ensure active growth and proper development of the plant.
How to plant?
The container in which the plant is planned to be planted must necessarily have drainage holes. The pot for Indian azalea should be wide enough, but not too deep. The bottom of the flowerpot is laid out with a drainage layer, including small pebbles or expanded clay.
The optimal temperature regime for Indian azalea is about 15-18 degrees in autumn and winter. In summer, it can be 22 degrees. During the period of active flowering, the temperature should be lowered to 10-12 degrees.
The soil in the pot with Indian azalea should be moderately moist. It is important to avoid waterlogging. Azalea should only be watered and sprayed with soft water that is free of chlorine and lime. Periodically, you can slightly acidify the water for irrigation with peat or a couple of drops of vinegar.
Excessive dampness in a pot with Indian azalea leads to wilting of the leaves and subsequently to the death of the plant.
Azaleas are typically fed twice a month from late February to late August. This helps them both in growth and in bud formation. It would be most correct to use specialized fertilizers designed specifically for rhododendrons (azaleas). It is also possible to fertilize with any chlorine-free fertilizers used for saintpaulias and hydrangeas.
Fertilizers that contain iron and magnesium are best suited for leaf chlorosis.
Pruning should be done after flowering in order to form a crown in the form of a tree or bush. It is necessary to remove too long and weak shoots and prune young branches to provide the plant with a more luxuriant flowering.
Indian azalea reacts extremely painfully to damage to the root system. When carrying out a transplant, it is better not to disturb the roots once again, which is why it is preferable to do a transshipment that allows them to preserve their integrity. The pots should not be very deep, as the azalea has a shallow root system. Young plants are transplanted annually, depending on their growth, adults - once every 2-3 years.
When transplanting, drainage is placed on the bottom of the pot. The soil is strongly acidic, intended for rhododendrons (azaleas). It will be useful to put pieces of sphagnum moss on the surface of the soil.
Breeding Indian azaleas at home is not an easy task. Rooting lasts at least 1.5-2 months.
- The length of the cuttings should be about 5-6 cm. The cuttings should be cut in March-June from the shoots that did not have time to woody.
- Before planting, the cuttings must be washed in a pale pink solution of potassium permanganate, then treated with any root formation stimulant.
- The container with the plant is covered with a plastic bag or glass jar on top and placed in a fairly warm, dimly lit place.
- Azalea should only be watered with warm water.
- After a while, the stalk starts to grow, then the container is moved to a more illuminated place, but avoiding direct sunlight.
- Young seedlings need hardening, so the film or glass shelter is raised daily.
Indian azalea is distinguished by its bright and lush flowering, thanks to which it will serve as the main decoration of the home garden. In order for the plant to delight with bright colors for a long time, it is important to provide it with proper and attentive care.