Beautiful Azalea

March 14, 2011 0 Comments

I got an email from Ronda the other day about an azalea plant that she received from her grandmother’s funeral. She said the blossoms are starting to dry up and drop off and would like to know what to do.

First, Ronda, my condolences go to you and your family.

Next, azaleas are not usually winter hardy here in Iowa.  Some are hardy to zones 7-9 while a few may be hardy to zone 4. You can keep them as a houseplant pretty easily, though. After the plant is finished flowering, put the azalea in a sunny east or west window.  Make sure that you water it properly since that is extremely important to the health of the plant. When the soil surface is dry to the touch, thoroughly water the plant.   Pour off any excess water.  If the soil is allowed to get too dry, wilting and leaf drop may occur. Wet soils can lead to root rot. Fertilize monthly with an acid-type fertilizer while the azalea is actively growing.

You can move the azalea outdoors in late May. Put it in a site with partial sun with morning sun and afternoon shade being the best.  Don’t remove the plant from the pot.  Just dig a hole and put the pot in the ground up to the rim. Be sure to water the plant during dry weather. Don’t fertilize after mid-summer.

It may be difficult to get the azalea to bloom again, but it is possible. The prompting for the flowers is in late summer/early fall when the temperatures start to cool.  Bring the plant indoors right before the first hard frost. Place it in a well-lit and cool location, keeping the soil evenly moist. If the plant is happy, meaning it gets the proper care, it should bloom sometime in winter. 

Click here to go to the Azalea Society of America’s FAQ page to find out more.

Dig it!

Filed in: General, Houseplants

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