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Indian And Japanese Azaleas - Growing And Care
Indian And Japanese Azaleas - Growing And Care

Video: Indian And Japanese Azaleas - Growing And Care

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Video: Care of Azaleas 2023, January
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Growing Sims' rhododendrons (Rhododendron simsii) and stupid (Rhododendron obtusum) in an apartment

Female beauty symbol

Indian and Japanese azaleas
Indian and Japanese azaleas

According to the horoscope, the following plants belong to the zodiac sign Aries (March 21-April 20): sparkling and striped echmea, garden geranium, fluffy coleria, reed gusmania, dwarf pomegranate, brilliant euphorbia, royal begonia, Indian azalea and Japanese.

Plants of the genus Rhododendron of the Heather family (Ericaceae) are among the remarkably flowering shrubs.

All over the world the pot culture of medium-sized evergreen rhodendrons is called "azalea". However, botanists now commonly use the term "azalea" to refer to only a subgenus in the genus Rodendron.

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Under natural conditions, azalea grows in Asia, Europe and North America. These are evergreen or semi-evergreen erect, abundantly branched shrubs (from 30 cm to 3 m in height). The most famous and popular in indoor floriculture is the Azalea (rodendron) Sims (Azalea simsii) due to its flowering in winter (December-March). Most botanists consider India, Japan and China to be its homeland. In China, for example, the Sims azalea is found in the wild in the mountains (at an altitude of 2500 m above sea level), in dry forests, in the Yangtze River valley.

In Asian countries, azalea is considered a symbol of female beauty. According to some experts, it was brought to Europe at the end of the 18th century, others at the beginning of the 19th century. The first of the European countries, where she got, is called England, where she was called "Indian azalea". Subsequently, it was this species that became the main ancestor of the vast majority of indoor and greenhouse azaleas.

It is officially considered an azalea in culture since 1808. In the 20s of the XIX century, the first varieties of azaleas appeared. Their beauty so fascinated many amateur flower growers of that time that in their countries they began to unite in breeding and breeding clubs for this culture. Even a kind of competition began between English, Belgian, German and French botanists to develop new varieties. It turned out to be so productive that by the beginning of the 20th century the number of varieties exceeded a thousand.

Azalea came to Russia as a gift to Tsar Nicholas II (early XX century), and at first it was cultivated only in court greenhouses and botanical gardens.

In the form of a flowering pot culture, much less often than Indian azalea, Japanese azalea, or blunt rhodendron - Azalea or Rhododendron obtusum is found. This azalea is often grown in the bonsai style. In Japan it is called "a flower intoxicating with lust" and it sounds there: "satsuki" (more precisely, "sats-ki") - in the Land of the Rising Sun it means the fifth month of the year according to the lunar calendar (adopted before 1873). The fifth month is May, when the active blooming of azaleas is observed; all the gardens and parks of cities in this country are decorated with bushes with colorful lights - flowers.

Both of these types of azaleas in room culture are dwarf forms with a height of 30-50 cm. Perennial plants look like low-stemmed crown trees. Their leaves are lanceolate or elliptical-ovoid with dense brownish or grayish pubescence (with bristly hairs), especially on the underside. In azaleas, flower buds are pin-shaped, thick and dense, and are laid at the ends of the strongest shoots. After 2-3 weeks, the integumentary scales surrounding the flower buds move apart and fall off, and buds appear from their middle. If the scales do not fall off by themselves, they are carefully removed.

Simultaneously with the swelling of flower buds, small leaf-bearing shoots sometimes appear at their very base. The latter must be carefully broken out as early as possible (otherwise they will distract the nutritious juices from the buds and a significant part of them will dry out from this process, which greatly spoils the general appearance of the flowering bush). In varietal azaleas, flowers can be 6-8 cm in diameter, semi-double or double, of various colors - from white to pale pink, crimson and crimson-purple. The petals are often trimmed with a border of a different color or covered with stripes. There are varieties with wavy and corrugated petals.

Now breeders have bred numerous varieties and forms of azaleas, differing not only in decorative qualities, but also in the timing of flowering: early ones bloom in December-January, middle late ones in January-March, late ones in February-April. Azaleas have buds half-closed for a long period, as if hiding their beauty from people, but the time of flowering comes, and they flash with bright stars.

Strong, well-groomed specimens of azaleas bloom very profusely: sometimes several hundred flowers appear on one bush at the same time, each of which "shines" for more than two weeks, and the whole plant can bloom for more than two months. Flowering can be so active that the leaves completely disappear under the mass of flowers. By the way, flowering shoots of azaleas cut and placed in water can be perfectly preserved for 2-3 weeks.

You need to know that when grown in an ordinary room, azalea is very moody. It requires specific conditions of detention, among which the most important is the presence of a bright cool room. Of course, it is preferable to keep it in a mini-greenhouse, in a cold greenhouse or in a subtropical winter garden. To successfully grow an azalea and receive its long flowering as a reward, you need to work hard to create the right conditions for it. The florist should provide her with diffused lighting, but it should be bright enough (partial shade is also possible). However, the plant must be protected from the midday sun.

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Conditions required for azaleas to bloom

In the summer, a low temperature is advisable, so it is recommended to take the pot with the plant out into the open air in the shade of the garden - "from cold to cold". By the way, this allows him later to endure well the unfavorable conditions of winter keeping in the apartment. Plants of Indian and Japanese azaleas do not tolerate even light frost (one frosty autumn night is enough for their death).

Then the bark lags behind the wood, they become dehydrated and eventually die. Therefore, flower growers monitor the timely return of plants from the open air. First, the azalea is transferred to a cool room. After all, sharp temperature changes are contraindicated for this culture: if it enters a warm room immediately, it can get sick, start growing prematurely or shed leaves and buds.

Watering and feeding azaleas

Indian and Japanese azaleas
Indian and Japanese azaleas

Watering azaleas - regular; use only soft water without calcium salts (boiled or acidified by adding oxalic or citric acid, which is previously dissolved in irrigation water at a rate of 1 g / l).

Although the soil should be constantly moist, there should be no stagnation of water in the pan of the pot (overdrying the soil coma is also unacceptable). In winter, it is necessary to provide it with watering, which excludes both excess moisture and drying of the soil.

It is advisable to observe high relative humidity (70-80%), therefore, in summer, in clear weather, it is recommended to spray the leaves with water in the morning and evening (using a spray bottle), paying special attention to the thorough wetting of their underside. But during the flowering of azaleas, it is better to refrain from spraying in order to prevent moisture from getting on the flowers, as spots appear on the petals. If during the summer period the plants stretch too much and branch little, then young shoots can be pinched at this time; then the appearing lateral branches have time to ripen and form flower buds even before autumn.

If from April to October, to enhance future flowering, medium-term plants are kept at a temperature of at least 15 ° C, then they bloom from January to the end of March. During the winter maintenance period (October-January), a certain temperature regime is also required: from October to December, when flower buds are laid, the optimum temperature is 6 … 10 ° C, and from January to February, a temperature of 13 … 15 ° C is desirable to activate flowering.

To stretch the flowering a little, at the beginning of March, the temperature can be lowered (watering should be abundant enough). But usually already in late February - early March, plant growth begins, so more often the temperature has to be raised.

For top dressing, a solution of mineral fertilizers of an extremely low concentration is used (for 10 liters of water: ammonium sulfate - 2-3, superphosphate - 3-4, potassium salt - 1.5-2 g), so they are watered instead of ordinary water. Fertilizers of the Kemira group, intended for flower crops, can also be used.

To lengthen active flowering, it is recommended to timely remove wilting flowers. It also keeps the plant from spreading rot infections. After the end of flowering, the pot with the plant is taken out into a cool room, continuing active watering. Flowering is seriously influenced by late spring (from May) pruning of stems - removal of weak and overly dense branches - followed by pinching.

According to experts, the more luxuriant the plant, the weaker it blooms. When the young shoots are pinched, no more than 5 leaves are left. It has been established that after pinching, high light intensity has a great influence on growth and branching. The most active formation of flower buds is observed at 12-hour daylight hours and a temperature of 22 ° C. At this temperature, azalea blooms in nature. From the moment of pinching to the formation of flower buds, it takes about 2-4 months (depending on the variety, plant age and period of the year). A temperature of 10 ° C and below inhibits the development of plants, negatively affects the size of flowers and the intensity of their color.

Since azalea is characterized by a superficial root system, its cultivation is practiced in wide and low containers; the soil is not loosened so as not to damage the roots. At the same time, only light acidic soil is used (soil pH 3.5-4.5), heather soil is better suited for it. The trade network usually sells special soils designed for the cultivation of azaleas. You can make a mixture of acidic peat and coniferous soil (rotted coniferous litter) in a 1: 2 ratio by adding a little coarse sand.

Azalea propagation

The optimum period for transplanting is after flowering (March-April); the plant is transferred carefully, trying not to destroy the earthen lump and not damage its very thin and delicate roots, which are not subjected to even the slightest pruning. When transplanting, it is strictly monitored that the root ball sits in the new soil no deeper than in the old container. It is very important that the base of the trunk is not covered with earth, otherwise the plant will be very sore and even die. The soil is compacted well enough. The transshipment of young plants is carried out annually, adult specimens - after 3 years.

It must be borne in mind that azalea can be self-rooted and grafted. These plants can be propagated by semi-lignified cuttings in two periods: the end of March-May and June-August, but the process of their rooting is very slow and often fails. To accelerate the formation of the root system, experts recommend treating the ends of the cuttings with a stimulant solution, after which they are kept for at least 4-5 weeks in a greenhouse at high air humidity and a temperature of about 25 ° C.

If the cuttings are rooted, for example, in May, then the first pinching is done in July-August, the second in October, the third in April-May of the next year, and the fourth after flowering, in February-March. Among the rooted ones, the varieties Ambarosisna (deep pink double flowers, early) and Enzett Elbe (red double flowers, medium early) are still popular. Vaccinations are carried out in February-March (then the rootstock and scion grow together better) by means of a wedge or in a lateral incision, mainly to a rootstock height of 5-10 cm from the root collar.

Diseases and pests of azaleas

Even with a slight violation of the conditions of its detention, the azalea is sick. The appearance of shriveled and then falling leaves indicates insufficient watering. It is extremely important to notice the dryness of the soil coma in a timely manner. There are often cases when the ground is wet on top, and inside it is completely dry. Then ordinary watering is not able to help: water quickly slips along the walls of the container and comes out through the drain hole, barely wetting the soil surface adjacent to the walls, without saturating it with sufficient moisture.

As a result of irregular watering during the period of strong summer heat, the soil can sometimes dry out so much that the earth will crack, which is why cracks form in the soil coma, between it and the walls of the container. If, before watering, these gaps are not repaired by loosening the soil surface (with its subsequent compaction, especially at the edges), then the water will also pass down without wetting the ground. In order to nourish very dry soil relatively quickly, the pot is immersed in a container of water for several hours (until it is completely saturated, through and through), but then the excess water must be drained. Often in the summer, this technique is even practiced every week for safety reasons.

Other possible reasons for the appearance of wrinkled and falling leaves may be: low air humidity (then the pot is placed in wet peat), too high air temperature or too bright sunlight. The culprit for the short and weak flowering period of azaleas can be a violation of the temperature regime when growing the plant and warm dry air during flowering. The pot is placed away from the central heating radiators.

The reason for the early completion of flowering can also be excessively bright sunlight and insufficient watering. When using hard irrigation water, first the browning of the tips of the leaves is observed, then their yellowing and incessant dropping. When moving abruptly from the room to the greenhouse and vice versa, the plant can experience severe stress: it responds to this by dropping leaves and buds. When the acidity of the soil is above normal, the leaves turn yellow, and the tops of the shoots become lighter.

At high temperatures and low relative humidity, the azalea becomes more susceptible to attack and severe damage from thrips and spider mites, which quickly leads to its death. It is possible that a weevil appears on an azalea - a black bug with a characteristic (elongated into a proboscis) head, 4-5 mm long.

Its larvae live in the soil, feeding on the delicate roots of the plant. An adult beetle does not fly, in the daytime it hides under lumps of soil, and at night it comes out to feed on azalea leaves. The caterpillars of the azalea moth "mine" the leaves of the plant, eating away the inner flesh of their tissue and without damaging the skin. Spraying plants and soil surfaces with actellik solution (2 g / l of water) is used against the listed harmful objects.

For lovers of azaleas, we remind you that the Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg (metro station "Petrogradskaya") is famous for its large collection of this culture. She is assigned a branch of the greenhouse No. 8 "Vereskovye" along the subtropical route. From year to year, by the beginning of spring, azaleas flourish there and amaze their visitors with a variety of selected varieties - their color, bizarre shapes and amazing sizes of beautiful flowers.

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