Indoor blooming Azalea

yugoslavaJune 25, 2012

The Azalea flowers for as long as 4 months. After about 5 years I thought moving it to a larger pot would be good for my Azalea. It was very pot bound. From a plastic pot I moved it to a bigger clay pot. It doesn't look sickly but I wonder if there is a better way. I water it with leftover tea. I think it needs tips pruned back. As for fertilizing, I'm not quite sure how to proceed. It starts to flower in late November and even in early March there are a few flowers left. Would nitrogen be good for now to promote growth and at the end of summer higher middle number. I mean potassium to promote bud formation.

Advice please.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

First off, kudos to you for having such good results with your plant for such a long time! Not one of the more common "house plants."

A better way than using a bigger pot? Not sure what you meant by that, sorry. Five years is a long time to go without a change of soil. When you moved your plant to the bigger pot, did you remove any of the old soil? Were the roots in a solid circle around the bottom?

I used to do the tea thing too. You may feel differently after reading this discussion.

Not ignoring your other questions, just not areas I feel qualified to delve into regarding your particular plant.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Hello Yugo,

Repotting was necessary, but your Azalea would do better in plastic.
The difference is, you 'might' have to water more.

Azaleas need acidic soil..what did you pot in?

Clip off dead flowers and branches. Can you summer your Azalea outside? If so, set in a shady spot. Keep out until first frost.
Indoor/Florist Azaleas are hardier than most people think. They can endure temps as low as 35-40F. By then, new buds should form.
Once Azalea is brought back in the house, place in a bright, cool room. First frost and cool, brightness keep buds from dropping.

If you haven't outdoor access, place in a bright, 'east window is ideal,' no-direct sun, cool room. High temps can invite Spider Mites, growth is etoliated, and sometimes detains, if not halts flowering.

Oh, add fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Follow directions on package. Actually fertililzing three-times a year, during growing season is best.

This is optional. Apply Iron Chelate or Iron Sulfate every 4-months.
If water is too alkaline, leaves develop chlorosis. Meaning, color pales to light green w/dark veins.

I had an Azalea a little over 10-years until it tired and died. Every autumn it'd bud, then flower well into March.

Congrats, on your 5-Year Azalea...Toni

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I used peat moss and a little compost. Yes, the roots were all encircled. Somehow, I feel clay pot isn't good for some reason. Perhaps repotting in a larger plastic pot? I keep it outside from April to early November. As soon as I bring it indoors in the fall the buds start showing up. It's a very nice peach colour. One thing I've learned is not to let it dry out and not to over water. I should use a little sulfur to help it along. What I've noticed is that lower branches are bare and branch tips have nice green growth. The bushy growth it had when I brought it home isn't there and I just don't know how much cutting can the plant tolerate. Thank you for your advice.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 12:19AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

I bought my mom an keepsake azalea a year ago. She cherished it but it became my job to maintain it! It bloomed again this year but when I was at school one day it was dry so she accidentally watered it with the vinegar that she thought
the bottled water I use to water my plants. It died a week later. They like acidic soil but that is a little much

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Anything can happen. People grab something thinking it's water, somebody in my house used mineral spirits once for watering. The strongest word I can use here is "Darn". Something that can help if you over fertilize is to put the pot under a faucet and let water trickle for several hours to dilute whatever was used. In your case it was vinegar. You can also use this in the garden. Unless you wish to wash out the plant completely, use low pressure. It also depends how soon it's done.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

...the roots were all encircled. This sounds like the primary problem, that the roots need to be trimmed, the old soil removed and replaced.

I used peat moss and a little compost. Is there anything else mixed with this? If not, that's a recipe for disaster, a mucky, muddy mess with no air in it that can't get wet again if it gets really dry.

Feels like a good point to paste some of Al's roots instructions but don't want to be inappropriate and/or choose which of his words to put "in his mouth" without any experience trying to grow an Azalea in a pot personally.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Yugo..Peach flowers sound lovely. I've never seen a peach flower Azalea.
Do you have a picture of your Azalea in bloom?

I too added Peat to the soil. It helps w/acidity.

Yep, I agree..too much or too little water will kill an Azalea. Although, during winter, I kept my plant in a large trey with stones and water..the water sometimes hit the bottom of pot. Even for a day or two. However, I kept a light on, above the Azalea, about 5 hours each night, so soil dried faster.

About repotting. How tight are roots? If your Azalea is completely rootbound, to the point water runs through and you're watering daily, maybe you should repot.
In a container one-size larger.
Azaleas bloom more when roots are tight-fitting.

About sulfur. If the soil is too acidic, your Azalea will look better but can grow slower. They're not the fastest growers to begin with. Well, they might grow a little faster in your location??
Do you have a pH guage? If so, check soil pH. If it's 6.5 or higher add a little sulfur, but be careful w/the amount you add. Too much and goodbye plant.
Using sulfer w/outdoor/in-ground Azaleas is safe, but using in potted plants, well, I'd be careful. \

Instead why not mix Orchid soil to your regular Peaty mix?

I miss my Azalea. It was inevitble flowers would show each year.
If I see a standard or braided Azalea locally, I'd like to get one. At a reasonable price of course. lol

Teen...Wow, a bottle of vinegar. The amount is enough to kill any plant, lol.
Sorry about your Azalea, they're lovely plants.
Hope you told your mom not to water anymore??? :)

Do you keep a bottle of vinegar near your plants? If so, you should label the bottle.
I do this w/spray bottles and water containers. One has vinegar, the other Rubbing Alcohol, a third has home-made insecticide. Those not marked are used to mist or water regularly.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Hi, no picture. I just couldn't believe it was doing so well in the middle of winter. I think your suggestion to use orchid mix is good. It would keep soil from compacting. I like standards but paying for a gorgeous Azalea that may last one season does not sit well with me. I put sulfur on my plants in the garden. Haven't used it on potted plants. It would be like sprinkling salt very lightly. I think I can do that.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Hi Yugo.

Orchid bark will decrease pH a little.
Before adding sulfur check pH. Too low/acidic might do more harm than good.

Yep, it's always surprising when certain plants over-winter well indoors. Like your Azalea. Especially, when they re-bloom.

Every so often big-box stores lower Standards' costs, but by that time, plants are half-dead.
Home Depot had beautiful Azalea standards with and without braids..they wanted 29.99. No way! Evenutally the price dropped to should have seen these poor Azaleas. I'd have bought one at 5.00, but not 18. Chance of survival, very rare.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:35PM
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It took me a while to find this post. I'm happy to let you know Azalea is doing very well. I trimmed the branches and roots, fertilized it several times during the summer and noticed the leaves, while small, look very shiny. I brought it in at the end of October and it had 2 flowers already. What was surprising, the flowers are large, much larger than they have been in the last several years. Obviously the effort has paid off and I'm seeing many buds. Really nice.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:36PM
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