Azalea indica belongs to the family Rhododendron and originates from China and Thailand. Azalea flourishes as garden shrubs but they do well as indoor and outdoor plants. The myriad color of the flowers of azalea brings a freshness and soothing feeling to the house and gardens. The following article is all about how to take care of Azalea indica.
Varieties of Azalea
1. A. indica
Most easily available ornamental plant. needs a good humid environment and therefore should be sprayed with water. It has rich green leaves of up to 1.5 in. long with hairy undersides and the flowers are open and bell-shaped. It is forced into a flower for winter color and can bloom up to three times in one year (1).
2. A. obtusum
Have attractive foliage of white, pink, red, or salmon color. This is a dwarf evergreen azalea having small hairy leaves. This plant grows well under part shade and part sunlight (2).
How to take care of Azalea indica
Take care of Azalea indica requires good humidity and sufficient watering. Healthy plants are not so prone to pests and insects.
This plant needs a huge amount of humidity and water therefore it is advisable to mist the plant daily in order to avoid any drooping. Also, water or submerge the plant pot in a bucket of soft tepid water. Let it rest there for some time then take it out and leave the plant aside to drain. As insufficient humidity and water cause the wilting of the leaves and flowers.
These plants love cool temperatures of between 10-15 degrees celsius (50-59 degrees F). As this temperature is favorable for flowering.
As said earlier this plant needs sufficient water in order to prevent it from wilting. Always check the topsoil of this plant and never let it dry out.
Commercially prepared azela lime-free compost is the best medium to grow this plant. Potting should be done in the spring season and press the composed especially around the root section.
After the first season and when the plant has outgrown the pot, repot again in spring.
5. Pest resistance
Long-term health is usually not affected by pests. But soft new leaves may be attacked by aphids. it is therefore advisable to control them with a soapy spray at least three or four times a day.
Healthy young shoots of around 3 inches can be rooted during the summer season. Use only lime-free compost and keep moist the young plant with distilled water.