Indoor Azalea

An33February 20, 2012

Someone suggested on the Azalea forum that I take my inquiry to this area so here it is:

Hi there ^.^

I'm thinking about getting an Azalea in the Spring. I was looking for some info on here but can't quite find what I need seeing as I'll be looking after a potted one, not planting one in my garden.

So there's a few questions I have...

1. I don't have air conditioning, I live in Ontario so it gets pretty damn hot and humid here in the Summer. I know Azaleas like it cool... would it be enough if I kept a fan on it?

2. How much watering does it need?

3. What are the light requirements? Does an indirect source from an east facing window suffice?

4. When do the flowers bloom? How often in a year?

5. How long do the flowers last?

6. How do I guarantee it will bloom again?

7. If I want to repot it, how? With what kind of medium?

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birdsnblooms

Howdy, An33,

My two oldest Azaleas were approximately 10-years before they died.
In summer, they were placed outside, under a tree..'shady.'
To be honest, if they hadn't been summered outdoors, I doubt they'd have lived half as long---or bloomed.

An, never aim a fan on any plant. Rotating fans work fine, but won't compensate for summering outdoors.

Do you live in an appartent? If so, do you have a window ledge on the outside? Particularly north facing.

How much watering?
Watering varies..depends on heat/cold, pot size, soil, pot material, etc.
Generally, Azaleas need more water during summer months, 'hot, sunny days,' less in winter.
Plants should never be watered by schedule.

light?

During summer, Azaleas are best suited in shade/semi-shade. Wintering indoors, any bright light window will do.
An east-exposure would be fine for foliage..
What do you mean by 'indirect source?'

Bloom:

My Azaleas were kept outdoors from late spring until autumn. Around Sept, flower buds formed. I allowed Azaleas to stay out until first frost, then brought inside, in a very cool room..east and some south windows..plus artificial light.
Flowers are long-lasting. Azalea will bloom month after month..If buds open in Oct, flowers can last well into May. Faded bloomed must be removed..Cut with scissors, not plucked or pinched.
Azalea require a short rest after last blooms. 6-weeks. Once new growth forms, plant should be repotted in a larger container. 1 size large pot. Too large will prevent autumns blooms.

Re-blooming.

In my plants' case, allowing Azaleas to stay outdoors until first frost promoted buds. Worked like a charm..
I can't recall if short days, 'like Poinsettas and some Kalanchoes,' help with flowering.
Perhaps someone else has the answer and will chime in.

Repotting. I already answered the time to repot.
Azaleas need semi-acidic soil. The mix I made was well-draining, but not as porous as succulent mix. Some people might shout out, 'No, No Peat, lol,' but one ingredient was Spaghnum Peat or Peat Moss. If you decide to purchase an Azalea I'll fill you in on other ingredients.

If you can find an inexpensive Azalea, give it a try, but honestly, without being summered outdoors, caring for Azalea will require effort and work.

After my two Azaleas died, I purchased another, but it too died. Lost my Azalea touch, lol.
Home Depot has standard, 'tree-shaped' Azaleas for 20.00, but I chose not to kill another. If by chance price is reduced I will try once again.

With proper care, Azaleas are beautiful plants. Gorgeous. However, without proper environment, they do poorly.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best, Toni

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 12:26PM
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An33

Thanks so much for your advice. Looks like I might have some trouble with this task...

I live in a town house, I have no ledge on my window but maybe I can build one... but then I would need to take the screen off. The houses are attached by the corners so I don't get much light since three sides of the backyard are houses so I don't always get the best of light...

If I keep my azalea outdoors... what about rainfall? Should I be taking it inside when it rains? Not sure if I should be worrying about how much water it gets. Like if I need to water it one day and the next it rains.

& by indirect source I just mean indirect sunlight. My bedroom window is east-facing and I rarely get very bright sunlight and pretty much never direct since there's another house in the way (the window is facing the backyard)

Anyway... I may still try it. I'd really like to get a mandarine one. =]

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:28PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi An,

An unobstructed east window is fine.

Rain is great for plants, as long as pot has drainage. Even if an Azalea is flowering, rain will not damage leaves or blooms.

Azaleas cannot take direct summer sun, so indirect is fine. Outdoors, they do well in semi-shade.

Forcing flowers is similiar to forcing Holiday Cactus or certain Kalanchoes.

Keep outdoors until first frost..Buds will set. By November, buds open into beautiful flowers.

However, flowers will not last long in a room that's too warm. They might open, but fade fast.

After hauling Azaleas indoors, I'd place on treys with stones and a little water.

Sometimes, blooms lasted until spring..which was a problem. After flowers fade, they need dead-heading. If roots are tight, repotting one size up is necessary. They were potted in acidic soil and fertilized with Azalea/Rhodo fert.

Ohh, Mandarin sounds lovely. If the price is right, I'd go for it..lol..Toni

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 4:38PM
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