Azalea, how to cure

Water Azalea

Azalea grows best in consistently moist soil as long as it has excellent drainage. To this end, if the soil substrate is too clayey, peat or, alternatively, sand can be mixed with it. Watering varies according to the climate and the period, but should not be neglected even with the arrival of autumn: a good irrigation, in this season, results in an extraordinary spring flowering. You should never exceed with water, to avoid rotting the roots or asphyxiating the plant. If possible, it is best to irrigate the azalea with decalcified water (rainwater is also fine). At the end of flowering, the azalea should be pruned, eliminating the dry branches: it is good to remove the flowers as soon as they wither, so as not to waste energy in the production of the seeds.

Cultivation of azalea: cuttings or seeds?

The multiplication of the azalea plant can take place with the “cutting” or with the seeds. The first method is the most recommended and consists in taking a portion of the branch from the mother plant, about a year old, in June. The cutting can be treated with “rooting hormones”, after which it should be planted in a pot filled, in equal parts, with sand and peat. The container with the cutting must be placed in a humid area protected from the sun, waiting for the “adventitious roots” to form. To thrive, azalea needs acidic soil. Soils with neutral pH must be acidified in this way: – prepare a hole, place “non-woven fabric” for plants on its bottom and fill it with soil for acidophilic plants;

How to fertilize azalea

The fertilization of azalea must be concentrated during the vegetative period and can take place with slow-release or liquid granular fertilizers: both products must be specific for acidophilic plants, therefore rich in “magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, iron and phosphorus”. The granular fertilizers should be placed at the base of the plant every three months, while the liquid ones, diluted in water, can be distributed on the soil every two or three weeks. The adaptation of the azalea to the climate depends a lot on its variety; in general, it is a plant that tolerates cold well but not as well intense heat. It is therefore advisable to place it in the shade, perhaps under the canopy of a tree or close to a hedge, avoiding exposing it to direct sunlight.

Azalea, how to cure: Azalea diseases and remedies

Azaleas can be affected by fungi and molds such as Phytophthora, Exobasidium rhododendri and Botrytis cinerea. The first is a fungus that attacks the roots in case of water stagnation, the Exobasidium forms spongy growths on the branches and leaves that must be removed manually, while the Botrytis (or “gray mold”) creates a fluffy layer on the whole plant. These diseases must be fought with specific fungicides, while parasites such as aphids, weevils, lepidopterans and red mites must be eradicated with acaricides and pesticides. If you notice a discoloration of the leaves, it is necessary to intervene by acidifying the culture medium. It may be sufficient to supplement it with mud peat or pine needles, or it can be added with a fertilizer based on “chelated iron”.

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