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Azalea (Azalea), Variety Selection, Growing Conditions At Home - 1
Azalea (Azalea), Variety Selection, Growing Conditions At Home - 1
Video: Azalea (Azalea), Variety Selection, Growing Conditions At Home - 1
Video: Gardening Tips : How to Plant Azaleas 2023, February
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Azalea: types of plants, features of growing at home

“… You need to see the Japanese islands with your own eyes in order to understand why the people inhabiting them consider nature to be the measure of their ideas about beauty. Japan is a land of green mountains and sea bays; the country of the most picturesque panoramas. Unlike the vibrant colors of the Mediterranean, which lies at roughly the same latitudes, Japan's landscapes are composed of soft tones, muffled by humidity.

This restrained range can be temporarily broken only by some seasonal colors. For example, the spring bloom of azaleas or the flaming maple leaves in the fall."

Azalea
Azalea

In winter, we rejoice at everyone, the most modest flower, and if through the glass of the flower salon you can see azalea bushes with shiny leaves and many large, lush, bright flowers that look like roses, it seems like a real miracle!

Azalea usually blooms from December to March and even April, the flowering time depends on the characteristics of the variety, but forcing plants can be found almost at any time of the year. Even more surprising is that any of us can bring this miracle into our home and settle it next to us. Maybe for some it will be the first flower of the home garden. In any case, azalea is a regal flower and requires an appropriate attitude towards itself.

An oriental legend says that a magnificent azalea arose from the sorrowful tears of an orphan boy, whom an evil sorceress, a stepmother, turned into a parrot. According to another legend, in one of the campaigns the soldiers of Ancient Greece, tired of battles and long roads, tried honey collected by bees from flowers unknown to them at a halt. This honey intoxicated the army … It turned out that it was honey from rhododendrons, the progenitors of modern azaleas. The name given to the magnificent flower by the ancient peoples of the Celestial Empire also confirms the special properties of the plant: in China it was called "a flower that intoxicates a goat." Azalea juice is poisonous, with its help in the East in ancient times toothache, rheumatism and even paralysis were treated.

Botanists all over the world call it the Indian azalea (Azalea indica), refer to the Heather family and the genus Rhododendron. This genus has about 1000 species and many hybrids, grown both in open-air gardens and greenhouses.

Azalea
Azalea

Azalea as a subgenus or section of the genus is grown in greenhouses, conservatories and rooms. Strongly branched, semi-deciduous shrubs grow up to 1.5–3 m tall. But we most often buy young, short, forcing bushes. Their young shoots are densely covered with bristly hairs of brownish-brown color. Leaves are bright green, leathery, elliptical-ovate, lanceolate or obovate, 2–5 cm long. Depending on the variety, their upper surface can be shiny, with reddish-brown hairs, or it can be bristly-fibrous, even more hairy below … Spring leaves are usually larger and thinner than summer ones, summer leaves are smaller and denser. The root system of the azalea is superficial, so low, wide containers are used for it. Azalea flowers are apical, almost sessile, arranged in 1–2–6 pieces at the ends of the shoots.Their corolla is broadly funnel-shaped, up to 5 centimeters or more in diameter. Flowers are simple, semi-double and double. Their color is bright and varied: white, pink, red, yellow, purple with many shades, often speckled, white border. There are small-flowered varieties with fragrant flowers.

The history of the culture of this plant is rooted in ancient times. A wild species of Indian azalea grew in deep gorges, on the rocks of the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Honshu. Even then, many varieties of azalea were cultivated in Japan. This country with its own special culture, poetry, religion, philosophy has been closed to the world for centuries. For a very long time, elements of her culture remained unknown to the outside world. An educated person in Japan was supposed to be able to write poetry expressing his feelings about an event, such as a cherry blossom blossom or an autumn flying leaf; master the art of calligraphy, drawing up laconic flower arrangements (it was more of a female art form). Sakura (ornamental Japanese cherry) blossom time is a national holiday. Everyone, from small to large, goes to admire the clouds of flowers,going to the mountains with whole families. And this is not a picnic we are used to - this is a reverent contemplation of the miracle of flowering. It is believed that the spiritual renewal that occurs during communication with this beauty heals a person from many serious illnesses …

The ancient Japanese poetic forms of tanka and haiku, the most famous among us, are elegant and laconic.

Let's go back to the history of the azalea. It was only at the end of the 17th century that this magnificent flower came to Europe, where it was also called the Indian azalea. Very soon, it spread to different countries and became one of the most popular plants in industrial horticulture even before the end of the 19th century.

Azalea
Azalea

In 1808, the Sims rhododendron (Rhododendron simsii) was imported from China to Europe (England). It is native to the foothills of China, where it grows up to 2500-3000 m above sea level. Therefore, the plant prefers humid air and low temperatures. The work of crossing these two species was crowned with great success: numerous varieties and hybrids of azaleas were obtained, which are grown in industrial horticulture. Modern varieties have inherited for the most part the characteristics of the Sims rhododendron.

Rh. obtusum used in hybridization is often called Azalea japonica. It is a profusely blooming, highly decorative species with light pink, lilac-pink, orange-red, bright red flowers with a weak aroma, up to 4 cm in diameter.Differs in two waves of growth of leaves during the period of intensive vegetation: in spring they are large, lanceolate to elliptical, thin and light green. Summer leaves are obovate, much smaller, glossy, dark green, in autumn they are brightly colored and falling, but partially preserved at the ends of the shoots. It occurs naturally in the south of the Japanese island of Kyushu. It is the original parent form for many garden forms and varieties with a semi-double corolla. Since its calyx grows like a corolla, this flower shape is known as a hose-in-hose. The species has long been cultivated in Japan,there are many varieties. It was first exported to Europe in 1844.

Azaleas are currently being bred mainly in Belgium, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands. Now we have flower salons in winter filled with magnificent azalea bushes of the most varied varieties with flowers of the richest shapes and colors.

Azalea
Azalea

Which plant to choose?

It is worth preferring an azalea bush with buds and fully open flowers - in this phase of development, flowering will last longer. The buds, at least half of them, should be colored - this is a guarantee that they will bloom. The store can sell both large and small specimens of azaleas of different ages. Accordingly, they will have a different number of buds and flowers.

The leaves of the plant should be healthy, shiny, dark green, free from traces of diseases and pests. If dry leaves are visible in the crown and on the surface of the soil, this means that the plant has been overdried, and it will not live long. The presence of orange rounded “suede” tubercles on the back of the leaves means that the azalea has been damaged by a rust fungus. You cannot buy such a plant. In general, any new plant is kept separate from other home flowers for several weeks, arranging a kind of quarantine for it in order to avoid infection with pests and diseases that may be present on it. After all, both pests and causative agents of fungal and viral diseases are often microscopically small, it is impossible to see them without a microscope, but they can appear after some time.Fungal infections such as gray mold are eliminated by good ventilation and treatment of plants with copper-containing preparations.

The best ratio of the volume of the crown of an azalea and its container is 2: 1. It is very difficult to keep a lush flowering plant in a tiny pot. Often, such specimens are driven out in foreign greenhouses using a hydroponic method. Transferring them to a peat substrate in the flowering phase is very difficult, often impossible, and the azalea in this case turns out to be a disposable plant that blooms for 1–1.5 months and dies off due to inconsistencies in the conditions of maintenance and the lack of growth of new roots.

What conditions should be created for azaleas in the home garden?

The new plant is placed in a bright, cool place (16–20 ° C), but not in direct sunlight. The east, north, west window will be suitable. On the south side, you will have to make sure that the warm spring sun does not burn flowers and leaves, does not dry out the soil and air. On sunny days, light tulle shading is needed.

Azalea
Azalea

The main feature of azaleas is the need for constantly humid air and substrate: it does not tolerate dry room air and dry soil and immediately drops leaves, flowers and buds. Water the azalea boiled or thawed, warmed to room temperature, with water (melting the ice from the refrigerator, which, however, is troublesome). Using snow and ice from city streets is risky due to the poor environment. Since azalea needs an acidic soil environment, the irrigation water should also be slightly acidified to a pH of 4.5–5.5. This is achieved in the following ways: 1–2 handfuls of sphagnum peat or half-mature pine needles are added to 1 liter of boiled water, mix well and infuse water for a day. After straining, the water is used to water the azalea. (To take advantage of this advice, you must prepare for an admission to the azalea house in advance,at least from the summer.) But it can be done much easier: 1-2 times a month, the azalea is poured with boiled water, slightly acidified with any of the organic acids (citric, ascorbic, oxalic) at the rate of 0.3-0.4 g per 1 l of water. More often, such acidified watering is not recommended so that the substrate does not become too acidic (pH below 3.5). In ecologically clean areas, during the flowering of azaleas, snow irrigation is practiced, when a little pure snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the temperature of the substrate at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.slightly acidified any of the organic acids (citric, ascorbic, oxalic) at the rate of 0.3-0.4 g per 1 liter of water. More often, such acidified watering is not recommended so that the substrate does not become too acidic (pH below 3.5). In ecologically clean areas, during the flowering of azaleas, snow irrigation is practiced, when a little pure snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the substrate temperature at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.slightly acidified any of the organic acids (citric, ascorbic, oxalic) at the rate of 0.3-0.4 g per 1 liter of water. More often, such acidified watering is not recommended so that the substrate does not become too acidic (pH below 3.5). In ecologically clean areas, during the flowering of azaleas, snow irrigation is practiced, when a little pure snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the substrate temperature at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.when a little clean snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the substrate temperature at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.when a little clean snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the substrate temperature at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.

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