Azaleas: [Planting, Care, Irrigation, Substrate and Diseases]

Important points when planting azaleas

  • When? A specimen should be planted in the garden, between spring and autumn to ensure a spectacular flowering between January to March, or a little earlier.
  • Where? It needs to live in ventilated, well-lit and humid spaces in the house, when it is grown in a pot and in acidic soil, and in semi-shade, without direct light, when it is grown in the garden.
  • How do we prepare the land? Acid pH soilsare preferred. The ones with ground pine bark, peat and sand are wonderful.
  • How do we sow? Its roots are very fine and delicate. potted,
  • How do we pay? It should be done every 15 days in a pot and twice a year in the garden.
  • When do they bloom? The spectacular nature of its flowers can be seen in spring and when winter comes, there are varieties that flower in November, December and January.
  • Ideal temperature? They live very well in environments with temperatures between 12 -22ºC.
  • How do we water? Use the water dish technique so that the roots absorb the water daily, for about 5 -10 minutes. And in the garden, do not water on branches and flowers.
  • Diseases and pests? He suffers fromiron chlorosis. It is avoided when rainwater is used in irrigation.

What is the Azalea?

Azaleas are shrubby plants of the rhododendron or rhododendron genus, with a very elegant appearance and abundant flowering, with currently more than 10,000 varieties of evergreen and other deciduous leaves, and hybrids, with flowers of intense colors.

Its origin is ancient, dating back to time immemorial. They have been venerated by the Greeks, who baptized them with that beautiful name that means «The Rosebush», but they are also adored by the Japanese, who always keep them in a place of honor inside the house, in spectacular arrangements and in the gardens, where they are protagonists of floral compositions.

Precisely, one of the most famous species is the Azalea japonica. Very striking species also come from China.

They come from the beautiful mountain systems that stretch from Europe to the Himalayas and Japan.

Large bell-shaped flowers always stand out, in white, pink, fuchsia, orange and red tones of great value as ornamental products, but it is demanding in its care.

In fact, a bush that fully develops can reach about 2 meters in height and in pots they remain at an ideal size for indoors, as long as the care it requires is lavished.

Where should we plant the azalea?

The azalea can live in a light space in the garden, but in semi-shade.

It can also be grown indoors, as long as the light, temperature and humidity conditions are optimal to guarantee its growth and flowering.

Another detail when planting this shrub is the quality of the soil. He hates calcareous.

When should azalea be grown?

When growing Azaleas outdoors, it is essential to choose a section of our garden where sunlight never falls directly.

Since they come from mountainous sites, they need cool places. That is why they always bloom in rainy periods.

With little natural light it dies and with a lot of light it also perishes.

The ideal is to cultivate it in spring. And in early fall is another good option.

How do we prepare the land?

One of the best combinations for a good substrate is to add peat, ground pine bark and sand in equal parts, to obtain well-drained and loose soils, very aerated and prevent their leaves and flowers from withering quickly, derived from planting. on unsuitable land.

How to plant azalea step by step?

by cuttings

  1. Prepare the pot with oak soil, very loose. Moisten the soil with enough sprays with a spray bottle loaded with rainwater.
  2. Take cuttings from a mother plant. Select new shoots, the new tips and cut them with great care. Two will be enough for a small pot.
  3. Remove the upper leaves to prevent them from robbing the cutting of strength and do not cut the lower part of the stem straight, but ascending so that it germinates quickly.
  4. Dip the cuttings in a solution of water with cinnamon powder to stimulate them.
  5. The bare cuttings are planted in the pot filled with moistened substrate.
  6. Sprinkle with rainwater every day and keep it in semi-shade.
  7. In a month and a half or more, the first roots will germinate, which take a long time to appear.

by layering

This method is very effective for azalea roots to germinate. A plastic bag is opened and cut into a rectangle about 15 centimeters long by 6 wide, approximately.

  1. The plastic bag cutout is filled with a handful of very moist substrate and placed on a stand.
  2. Stems from the mother plant that have nodes are selected, without trimming them. Leaves are not removed either. They are delicately opened downwards, so that they remain in a horizontal position to come into contact with the soil that is on top of the bag, tying it just at the nascent part of the elbows, from where several stems come out.
  3. The idea is that the elbows of the selected stems are completely covered with soil when we proceed to tie the ends of the bag. Tie down tightly and return the plant to its normal upright position. There will then be a bag full of soil attached to the elbows of selected stems.
  4. Holes should then be opened on the outside of the bag of soil, attached to the selected stems of the mother plant.
  5. Spray the outside of the bag hanging from the stem of the mother plant with water, so that it is well moistened.
  6. Keep the bag moistened daily with sprays, until roots come out.

In the garden, the chosen place must have the conditions of semi-shade and acid soil already described, but if two or more specimens are planted (in buttons, not flowered) acquired in nurseries, then a distance of 1.5 meters must be respected between each one..

What care does the azalea need?

It is a plant with a unique, spectacular floral presence that, however, requires special care so that it can fully develop. Here are some tips that can help a lot.


It requires abundant lighting, so it must be constantly receiving indirect sunlight for its flowering to be spectacular.

If the solar radiation is strong and affects its foliage, it does not survive, it dries up. Living in partial shade is ideal for this bush with large flowers.


They do not tolerate hot or too dry climates, so you should know how to take care of them both in the garden and in the house, because they need temperate climates and very good ventilation.

It does not tolerate sudden temperature changes either, so it must be protected from wind and frost.


Expert gardeners in floral species recommend that the Azalea receive irrigation with rainwater. And it should be avoided that the water falls frequently on leaves and branches, because that also damages them. Then the irrigations do not come in sprays, nor towards the base of the plant.

An infallible technique to help it assimilate nutrients, while keeping its environmental humidity high, is to place a plate of water at the base of the pot where we grow it, for about 10 minutes, each day. In this way, the roots are strengthened and we avoid waterlogging of the substrate, because excess water is one of its worst enemies.

In the flowering season, it is necessary to avoid that the water falls on the flowers.

Finally, water rich in lime is very harmful to the plant.


An Azalea does not support calcareous soils. Those that are slightly acidic help it to breathe well, as long as the soil is loose, permeable and well drained.

Combining peat, sand and ground pine bark in equal parts is ideal for healthy and strong growth.


With the help of an expert gardener, it is good to look for the best brand of fertilizer rich in potassium and iron, minerals that will protect it from all evil.

Long-release acid fertilizers suit you very well. Those that are high in iron and potassium for acid substrate greatly improve their floral production.

Applying them as soon as spring says goodbye is positive because it will have a dose of nutrients that will help it to get through the summer heat with better resistance.

It should never be fertilized before flowering, because then the foliage will be very dense and the typical flowering it lavishes will be frustrated.


It is necessary to remove the withered flowers of the Azaleas, once the flowering period begins, because in this way the appearance of new ones is stimulated.

During the rest period, it should be used to carry out a more intense maintenance pruning, aimed at avoiding excessive growth that could affect it because it will need more nutrients that it cannot satisfy in the winter season.

They should never be pruned in the month of June, because the following flowering would be affected.

Growing azalea in a pot indoors

There are some must-have tricks that help her stay beautiful around the house.

  • In autumn and winter they should be located in a place where the temperature is between 4-13ºC, so that it can fully bloom the following spring.
  • It needs a ventilated, fresh, illuminated and humid space. It should not be near heat sources, such as heaters, fireplaces and kitchens.
  • Fertilizing them every 15 days is mandatory inside the house.

What pests and diseases does it have?

The disease that most affects azaleas is iron chlorosis, according to the experience of expert gardeners and farmers. It is evidenced when the leaves begin to turn yellow, although their veins remain green.

Iron chlorosis is associated with the great need these shrubs have to live on acid soils.

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