Azalea tree as a house plant?

gretchen658May 14, 2012


I just received an azalea tree for Mother's Day. It has a little braided trunk, and it looks as though it's being marketed as a house plant. I always thought these were supposed to be planted outdoors...can they do well inside? I'm usually just a cactus girl when it comes to house plants, so I was wondering if this was out of my league. lol I'd love to keep it inside, but I'm afraid it might do better if I planted it outdoors. Are these high maintence if you keep them indoors? Thanks!

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Hi Gretchen,

As indoor plants, Azaleas are very high maintence, but with effort can be grown as a house plant.

Before planting outdoors, in the garden, you need to find out if your Azalea is hardy.

There are hardy Azaleas and Florist Azaleas. Florist Azaleas are non-hardy; hardy Azaleas cannot be grown indoors, lol.

Reread the tag. There should be a botanical name/type in print.
If there isn't, contact the store your gift plant came from, ask to speak to someone in charge of plants.

Another option is, look for the 16-digit code number on the tag. Google the number. Information on the plant should pop up, unless it's not on file.

Since it's braided, I'm assuming yours is a Florist Azalea, but every so often, stores sell hardy, 'outdoor' braided Azaleas, too.

If you find yours is a Florist Azalea, respond back. Toni

PS: You're so lucky. Tree Azaleas are gorgeous.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:20PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

"Reread the tag. There should be a botanical name/type in print."

HAH! These are the days when plants are labeled as " tropical plant", "flowering plant", etc. If our plants come from one of the big box stores, and they so often do, we can also pretty much forget about getting any information from anyone. It's a pain!

I'd like to know where Gretchen lives (general location)...and maybe even see a picture of the azalea. In many parts of the country, evergreen azalea standards (that's what this one is) are sold for ornamental outdoor planting. In other locations, they are considered a 'greenhouse' plant.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 6:37AM
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Thanks, guys!

Wow, that's confusing. I'm glad I asked before planting. I found the grower on the sticker and found their website. I didn't see my tree, but they said their potted azaleas are the florist type and can't be outdoors under 30 degrees. I live in Central Indiana, and it does get colder than that in the winter. I'm posting a link to a picture of my plant. It really is pretty. I thought the flowers were fake until I got closer!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:37AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Yes, that looks like a cultivar of Azalea indica, the tender florist's azalea, as mentioned above. It can go outdoors in the summer but needs to be frost free in the winter.

However, it is not a tropical plant and needs cool indoor conditions with good light and not a dry atmosphere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caring for indoor Azaleas

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Those flowers are incredible! Great gift!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Not that it matters, but I don't believe it to be a Southern Indica. That 's a big group of wonderful azaleas very commonly grown in the warmer climates. Indicas can tolerate sub -freezing temperatures with little problem as long as it doesn't drop into the low twenties for very long.

Gretchen, your azalea is gorgeous! To keep it at its best avoid direct outdoor sunlight. I'd take it out of that florist 'hat ' when you water so that you can allow every bit of water to drain.

If you have a bright, chilly room in your home, you have a better chance of keeping your azalea alive over the winter.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 5:01PM
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Gretchen..Your Azaleas flowers are a beautiful color. Every so often that particular color is sold here, but in bush form. If only they'd sell one like yours. lol

Yours is definately a florist Azalea. Rhizo is right about keeping in a chilly room during winter months.
Since you're in IN, any bright window will do in winter, but after Feb/Mar, keep in indirect-sun.
An east window is perfect.

During summer place outdoors, in shade. Make sure it's not in direct sun. Leaves burn.
Soil should be moist 'not muddy' throughout summer months..In winter, soil needs to dry a little between waterings.

After flowers fade, cut them off. Dead head. If you'd like your Azalea shaped a certain way, after flowering is the time to prune.

Before placing outside in spring, 'if needed' pot in a container, one size larger. Repotting should be done every other year..again, if needed.

I used an acidic fertilizer, and every three-months added Iron.

For now, please, remove the paper/foil..Yes, it's pretty, but if water sits inside, roots WILL rot and your beautiful Azalea will die. I've come to detest foils wrapped around plants. It does so much damage.

Good luck, Toni

PS. My gorgeous Azalea lived about 10-yrs. Guess it got tired because one year it went kapoot.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Thanks, everyone! Toni, I will definitely remove the wrapper. It seems really wet...that's probably the problem. Sorry to hear about your plant! That happens every so often to me. I will have something that does great for years, and then it will just die on me. It always makes me sad. This seems like it will be a challenge, but I will try my best to keep it happy. :) I always do great with this stuff in the spring and summer, but keeping them happy through the winter is tough. My house gets very dry. I should probably invest in a humidifier for my sun room. I think it would help.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:14PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Hi rhizo - you probably know far more about azaleas/rhododendrons than I do. I was just calling it A indica because that is the name usually used over here for the tender ones sold as indoor plants. They certainly won't survive outdoors anywhere in the UK. I've not heard of Southern indica azaleas. Are they the same as A indica or are they a group of tougher hybrids?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Howdy Gretchen,

When I see plants in those 'wrappers,' I want to scream! lol

Two Home Depots had beautiful Crown of Thorns. Each were wrapped in foil. As I approached the Crowns I noticed an awful odor. Stagnant. I lifted a couple with flower colors I don't have. The stinky water flew up in the air, on the floor and all over my hands and shirt. Yuck. Honest to God I got sick to my stomach.
A few weeks later or so I returned to HD, only to find ill-looking Crowns. Most were rotted. The stands were no longer in front for customers to view, they were off to the side, lol.
I asked to speak to a garden manager, explained, only to have him shrug..They don't care.

That wasn't the first time a store/nursery had wrappings, and won't be the last. Too bad, huh?

Gretch, yes, please get a humidifer. You'll really notice a difference once the heat is turned on.

We have two humidifers, two indoor fountains. I place little cups filled w/water in-between tropicals. Daily misting, and 'attempt' weekly showers.

For misting, I 'finally' bought a pump sprayer. 6.99. It works great. I actally purchased two, but returned the more expensive sprayer. It didn't work half as goos plus it dripped. Ended up buying a second 6.99 mister..used for plants upstairs.

There are numerous humidifers on the market. Depending on your schedule/available time, go with a humidifer that holds more than 2-gallons of water.
The consoles are great, but filters are impossible to find.
My downstairs humidifer holds 10-gallons. The smaller, filterless humidifer upstairs holds two gallons. Both need daily filling, but it's worth the effort.

Not only are humidifers good for plants, they're great for people, too. I can't breath when air is dry, and my skin feels like sand paper. A big difference running a humidifer.
Using a humidifer in winter is half the battle keeping plants alive.

Azaleas aren't the easiest plants to grow indoors. I really hope yours's beautiful.
Sometimes it takes a a few tries before Azaleas lasts. It's too bad you didn't grow them before your Mom's Day gift.

Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 4:39PM
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