The azalea is a plant with colorful and very cheerful flowers. For this reason its cultivation is widespread.
This plant is very popular for garden decoration, as it tends to bloom in spring and its flowers can last several weeks, giving a special atmosphere to the outdoor space.
At the moment it is estimated that there are about 10,000 different varieties of azaleas cultivated by humans all over the world. Each one is different in size, colour and type of flowering and thanks to the many varieties present you can easily find the one that suits your garden.
Below is a list of gardening products that we have chosen for you (and that you can buy online), which will allow you to put into practice, right from the start, the indications contained in this article.
Exposure Of The Azalea
Exposure of azaleas should preferably take place in shaded areas. If the azalea is exposed to the sun, it should not suffer, but you will notice a higher leaf production and a less lasting flowering in spring.
As far as the climate is concerned, this plant can survive well outdoors even during the coldest months, except for some tropical species that need to be grown at home or in a greenhouse. The azalea suffers much more from the summer heat, especially when grown in the south. For this reason it is essential to choose a shaded area in order to ensure the conservation of the plant in the following years.
How To Water The Azalea
The azalea is a plant that needs to maintain good humidity levels throughout the year.
For this reason it is good to irrigate it constantly taking into account the climate, the lighting level and the season. If the azalea is properly irrigated during the autumn, it will then tend to produce numerous buds that will bloom the following spring, enriching your garden.
When you intend to proceed with watering, it is of fundamental importance to check that the soil has not been wet since the previous irrigation in order not to cause water stagnation and subsequent root rot. As far as the water to be used is concerned, it would be better to use water that is not rich in limestone, such as demineralised water, or rainwater, while tap water should be avoided.
The Soil For The Azalea
As regards the soil suitable for growing azaleas, it must be rather acidic with a pH of around 5.5 or 6. If the substrate on which the plant is to be placed is not sufficiently acidic, solutions can be adopted, such as the addition of pine needles or sphagnum peat.
Alternatively, the hole in the ground may be filled with soil from coniferous forests.
As for potted azaleas, the problem does not exist because you can use the type of soil you prefer. Of fundamental importance is the addition of draining and organic substances that can filter the irrigation water because the azalea is a plant very sensitive to water stagnation.
In order to avoid this problem it is also good to make a mulch that can absorb water gradually.
Fertilizing the Azalea
Fertilisation of the azalea must take place during the beginning of the spring season, i.e. when the plant starts flowering. The fertilizer to be administered must be specific to acidophilic plants and rich in the three basic chemicals: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can also proceed using granular slow-release products that will be placed in the soil and changed about every 3 or 4 months.
If you choose to administer the fertiliser in liquid form, it will be dissolved in the water used for irrigation and applied once every 3 weeks.
Azalea Parasites And Diseases
The main problem with the azalea is radical rot, caused when water stagnation occurs due to excessive wetting. These stagnations could also lead to attack by fungal species such as Exobasium Rhododendri, which causes the formation of spongy galls on the leaves of the azalea.
Some types of parasites can infect the plant, such as cochineal, which causes brown spots quite visible on the stem and leaves. It is usually possible to remove this parasite manually with alcohol-soaked cotton. It is possible that the plant is also attacked by aphids and the red spider mite, which must be defeated by means of the appropriate pesticide products.