Azalea (Azalea), variety selection, growing conditions at home - 1
Azalea: types of plants, features of growing at home
“… You need to see the Japanese islands with your own eyes in order to understand why the people inhabiting them consider nature to be the measure of their ideas about beauty. Japan is a land of green mountains and sea bays; the country of the most picturesque panoramas. Unlike the vibrant colors of the Mediterranean, which lies at about the same latitudes, Japan's landscapes are composed of soft tones, muffled by air humidity.
This restrained range can be temporarily broken only by some seasonal colors. For example, the spring bloom of azaleas or the flaming maple leaves in the fall ”.
V. Ovchinnikov, Sakura and Oak.
In winter, we rejoice at everyone, the most modest flower, and if through the glass of the flower salon you can see azalea bushes with shiny leaves and many large, lush, bright flowers that look like roses, it seems like a real miracle!
Azalea usually blooms from December to March and even April, the flowering time depends on the characteristics of the variety, but forcing plants can be found almost at any time of the year. Even more surprising is that any of us can bring this miracle into our home and settle it next to us. Maybe for some it will be the first flower of the home garden. In any case, azalea is a regal flower and requires an appropriate attitude towards itself.
An oriental legend says that a magnificent azalea arose from the sorrowful tears of an orphan boy, whom an evil sorceress, a stepmother, turned into a parrot. According to another legend, in one of the campaigns, the soldiers of Ancient Greece, tired of battles and long roads, at a halt tried honey collected by bees from flowers unknown to them. This honey intoxicated the army ... It turned out that it was honey from rhododendrons, the progenitors of modern azaleas. The name given to the magnificent flower by the ancient peoples of the Celestial Empire also confirms the special properties of the plant: in China it was called "a flower that intoxicates a goat." Azalea juice is poisonous, with its help in the East in ancient times toothache, rheumatism and even paralysis were treated.
Botanists all over the world call it the Indian azalea (Azalea indica), refer to the Heather family and the Rhododendron genus. This genus has about 1000 species and many hybrids, grown both in outdoor gardens and greenhouses.
Azalea as a subgenus or section of the genus is grown in greenhouses, conservatories and rooms. Strongly branched, semi-deciduous shrubs grow up to 1.5–3 m tall. But we most often buy young, short, forcing bushes. Their young shoots are densely covered with bristly hairs of brownish-brown color. Leaves are bright green, leathery, elliptical-ovate, lanceolate or obovate, 2–5 cm long. Depending on the variety, their upper surface can be shiny, with reddish-brown hairs, or it can be bristly-fibrous, even more hairy below ... Spring leaves are usually larger and thinner than summer ones, summer leaves are smaller and denser. The root system of the azalea is superficial, so low, wide containers are used for it. Azalea flowers are apical, almost sessile, arranged in 1-2-6 pieces at the ends of the shoots. Their corolla is broadly funnel-shaped, up to 5 centimeters or more in diameter. Flowers are simple, semi-double and double. Their color is bright and varied: white, pink, red, yellow, purple with many shades, often speckled, white border. There are small-flowered varieties with fragrant flowers.
The history of the culture of this plant goes back to ancient times. A wild species of Indian azalea grew in deep gorges, on the rocks of the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Honshu. Even then, many varieties of azalea were cultivated in Japan. This country with its own special culture, poetry, religion, philosophy has been closed to the world for centuries. For a very long time, elements of her culture remained unknown to the outside world. An educated person in Japan should have been able to write poetry expressing his feelings on the occasion of an event, such as a cherry blossom blossom or an autumn flying leaf; master the art of calligraphy, composing laconic flower arrangements (it was more of a female art form). Sakura (ornamental Japanese cherry) blossom time is a national holiday. Everyone, young and old, goes to the mountains to admire the clouds of flowers. And this is not a picnic we are used to - this is a reverent contemplation of the miracle of flowering. It is believed that the spiritual renewal that occurs during communication with this beauty heals a person from many serious illnesses ...
The ancient Japanese poetic forms of tanka and haiku, the most famous among us, are graceful and laconic.
Ki-no Tsurayuki (X century):
“The autumn view is not eye-catching.
You will not meet anyone in the mountains now.
Flowers fell ...
And only maple leaves -
Like golden brocade at night. "
"Spring fog, why did you hide
Cherry blossoms that are now flying around
On the slopes of the mountains?
Not only shine is dear to us, -
And the withering moment is worthy of admiration! "
Let's go back to the history of the azalea. Only at the end of the 17th century, this magnificent flower came to Europe, where it was also called the Indian azalea. Very soon, it spread to different countries and became one of the most popular plants in industrial horticulture even before the end of the 19th century.
In 1808, the Sims rhododendron (Rhododendron simsii) was imported from China to Europe (England). It comes from the foothills of China, where it grows up to 2500-3000 m above sea level. Therefore, the plant prefers moist air and low temperatures. The work on crossing these two species was crowned with great success: numerous varieties and hybrids of azaleas were obtained, which are grown in industrial horticulture. Modern varieties have inherited for the most part the characteristics of the Sims rhododendron.
Rh. obtusum used in hybridization is often called Azalea japonica. It is a profusely blooming, highly decorative species with light pink, lilac-pink, orange-red, bright red flowers with a faint aroma, up to 4 cm in diameter.Differs in two waves of leaf growth during the period of intense vegetation: in spring they are large, lanceolate to elliptical , thin and light green. Summer leaves are obovate, much smaller, glossy, dark green, in autumn they are brightly colored and falling, but partially preserved at the ends of the shoots. It occurs naturally in the south of the Japanese island of Kyushu. It is the original parent form for many garden forms and varieties with a semi-double corolla. Since its calyx grows like a corolla, this flower shape is known as hose-in-hose. The species has long been cultivated in Japan, there are many varieties. It was first exported to Europe in 1844.
Azaleas are currently being bred mainly in Belgium, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands. Now our flower salons in winter are filled with magnificent azalea bushes of various varieties with flowers of the richest shapes and colors.
Which plant to choose?
It is worth preferring an azalea bush with buds and fully open flowers - in this phase of development, flowering will last longer. The buds, at least half of them, should be colored - this is a guarantee that they will bloom. The store can sell both large and small specimens of azaleas of different ages. Accordingly, they will have a different number of buds and flowers.
The leaves of the plant should be healthy, shiny, dark green, free from traces of diseases and pests. If dry leaves are visible in the crown and on the surface of the soil, this means that the plant has been overdried, and it will not live long. The presence of orange rounded "suede" tubercles on the back of the leaves means that the azalea is damaged by a rust fungus. You cannot buy such a plant. In general, any new plant is kept separate from other home flowers for several weeks, arranging a kind of quarantine for it in order to avoid infection with pests and diseases that may be present on it. After all, both pests and causative agents of fungal and viral diseases are often microscopically small, it is impossible to see them without a microscope, but they can appear after a while. Fungal infections such as gray mold are eliminated by good ventilation and treatment of plants with copper-containing preparations.
The best ratio of the volume of the crown of an azalea and its container is 2: 1. It is very difficult to keep a lush flowering plant in a tiny pot. Often, such specimens are driven out in foreign greenhouses using a hydroponic method. It is very difficult, often impossible, to transfer them to a peat substrate in the flowering phase, and the azalea in this case turns out to be a disposable plant that blooms for 1–1.5 months and dies off due to inconsistencies in the conditions of maintenance and the lack of growth of new roots.
What conditions should be created for azaleas in the home garden?
The new plant is placed in a bright, cool place (16–20 ° C), but not in direct sunlight. The east, north, west window will be suitable. On the south side, you will have to make sure that the warm spring sun does not burn the flowers and leaves, does not dry out the soil and air. On sunny days, you will need a light shade of tulle.
The main feature of azaleas is the need for constantly humid air and substrate: it does not tolerate dry room air and dry soil and immediately sheds leaves, flowers and buds. Water the azalea boiled or thawed, warmed to room temperature, with water (melting the ice from the refrigerator, which, however, is troublesome). Using snow and ice from city streets is risky due to poor ecology. Since azalea needs an acidic soil environment, the irrigation water should also be slightly acidified to a pH of 4.5–5.5. This is achieved in the following ways: 1–2 handfuls of sphagnum peat or half-mature pine needles are added to 1 liter of boiled water, mix well and infuse water for 24 hours. After straining, the water is used to water the azalea. (To take advantage of this advice, you need to prepare for taking azaleas to your home in advance, at least from summer.) But you can do it much easier: 1-2 times a month, the azalea is poured with boiled water, slightly acidified with any of the organic acids (citric, ascorbic , oxalic) at the rate of 0.3-0.4 g per 1 liter of water. More often, such acidified watering is not recommended so that the substrate does not become too acidic (pH below 3.5). In ecologically clean areas, during the flowering of azaleas, snow irrigation is practiced, when some clean snow is placed on the surface of the substrate. Lowering the substrate temperature at this time slows down the course of physiological processes in the root layer, thereby prolonging flowering. But it is impossible to abuse this technique, so as not to cause hypothermia and death of the roots.
The ending follows
Rules and recommendations for growing vegetables and herbs in flower pots
- Universal rules for growing vegetables at home
- The main features of planting vegetables in pots
- The choice of planting material
- Basic recommendations for the care of vegetable crops in pots
- Potted Vegetables
- Growing cucumbers in a pot
- Growing a tomato in a pot
- Sweet pepper "Paprika"
- Green onions - spicy greens on the windowsill
- Growing greens on the windowsill
- Pros of growing vegetables in pots
- Cons of growing vegetables in pots
For a city dweller, one of the most affordable, successful and effective ways to enjoy fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs during a festive feast is to grow it with his own hands on his windowsill. Experienced gardeners are very responsible for this process, they prepare in advance the necessary containers in the form of spacious containers or boxes, arrange a place on the balconies or verandas of their homes, insulate the premises as much as possible and install additional lighting.
But, an ordinary city dweller, who does not even have a summer cottage, and the skills in growing vegetable products leave much to be desired, uses ordinary flower pots to implement his venture in order to get not only greens, but also vegetable crops. They are simply installed on the windowsill, sometimes without even considering the presence of heat and sunlight. It is precisely for novice gardeners or just lovers of fresh vegetables grown with their own hands at home, we will describe the main features and tips for growing a "garden" in pots.
How to transplant at home?
One of the guarantees of a successful transplant is the correct timing of the procedure. It is worth focusing on climatic conditions. In most regions, this is spring, before the start of the active growing season. Then, by winter, the azalea will recover and bloom at the right time. In regions with hot spring-summer weather, it is better to postpone the transplant until late summer or early autumn.
Buying the right soil
The soil for growing azaleas has a special composition. The root system of the culture is supplied with fungal microorganisms - symbionts. Azaleas grow and develop normally only as long as they work and help get nutrients from the soil. The vital activity of symbionts is provided by an acidic environment. Soil for growing azaleas is needed with acidity values ranging from 3.5 to 4.5.
Special soil mixtures for these plants are widely available for sale. They contain all the nutrients for the comfort of azaleas. Manufacturers offer mixtures for sowing seeds, rooting cuttings and transplanting adult plants. This feature is worth paying special attention to.
The transplant mixture includes:
- coniferous land
- high peat
- river sand
- set of minerals.
Experienced growers advise choosing the following brands of soil mixtures:
- Garden of miracles
If you can't get ready-made soil, then the mixture can be composed independently from the following components:
- 2 hours coniferous earth
- 1 teaspoon peat
- 2 tsp leafy soil
- 1 tsp coarse river sand
- 1 tsp heather land
- 0.5 tsp perlite.
Any soil mixture is disinfected before use. To do this, it is heated in an oven or in a water bath for 30 minutes or treated with Fitosporin. If this procedure is neglected, there is a high risk of contamination of the azalea with fungus or insect pests.
Which pot should you plant?
A new pot is purchased after measuring the diameter of the old one. The container should be 2-3 cm wider than the previous one and 4-5 cm in height. The material of the pot does not matter. However, experienced gardeners recommend choosing ceramic containers without glaze. The porous structure of this material will prevent the roots from waterlogging and provide them with the right amount of oxygen.
Decided to transplant - pruning of roots is required
An old, overgrown bush needs a radical pruning to update the root system. The earthen lump is cut off by one third from all sides. It looks like an egg. The soil is gently gutted from the resulting lump. Because it has already compressed and lost all the nutrients.
Splitting and landing
The division procedure can only be carried out with plants that are 3-4 years old. The most favorable time for her is spring. During this period, the azalea is at its peak of activity and the greatest mobilization of protective forces.
During division, it is worth taking into account the peculiarities of the root system - a lot of small, but important for the development of the plant, roots and specific microflora between them.If the procedure is not carried out correctly, the plant may die.
The division is carried out with the utmost care, with a sharp, pre-disinfected instrument. After cutting the roots into two parts, each is planted in pre-disinfected pots. A layer of drainage with a height of 3 cm is laid on the bottom. Pieces of pine bark are placed on it, which will increase the acidity of the soil.
The transplant process consists of the following steps:
- On the surface and on the sides of the earthen coma, incisions are made with a depth of 0.5 cm, so that subsequently the nutrients reach all the roots.
- The roots, together with an earthen lump, are dipped in a solution of biostimulants: Kornevin, Heteroauxin. This will rid the plant of excess accumulated salts.
- The flower is removed from the solution, the water is allowed to drain and placed in the center of the pot. Then the roots are gradually covered with soil, tapping on the edges of the container to compact it.
The seeds of this crop are too small. Their number in packages is different. It all depends on the variety of strawberries, as well as on the production costs of producing seeds.
Depending on the climatic region in which the site is located, there are periods for the preparation and planting of strawberry seeds. In addition, due to serious climate changes in the last decade, it is better to take into account the experience of experienced gardeners.
- On the Kuban they begin to sow strawberry seeds in the last decade of February or in the first decade of March.
- Gardeners middle band of the Russian Federation start sowing seeds in early - mid-February.
- IN Siberia - in the first ten days of February.
Some gardeners sow seeds at the end of January. In this case, the seedlings will get stronger by the time they are planted in a permanent place.
The most serious problem with planting seeds during the winter months is the lack of daylight. For this reason, many sprouts do not survive or develop poorly. Young shoots need daylight for 10-12 hours. Therefore, additional lighting is created for them, which should not overheat the seedlings. The lamps are turned off at night.
Important! 30-45 days before sowing seeds, it is necessary to carry out stratification.
Diseases and pests
In nurseries, plants are brought to the stage of flowering artificially (special temporary additives are added to the soil to maintain the freshness and flowering of plants). In transport pots with a small amount of soil mixture, the root system almost does not develop, so a newly acquired azalea bush will require close attention from the first days. It is not surprising that when you move from the store to the room on the windowsill, a seemingly fragrant bush can wither after a short time, flowers and leaves begin to dry out, the plant gradually fades away, and its resuscitation becomes impossible.
A novice grower in a similar situation mistakenly creates the opinion that azalea is a disposable flower and it is extremely difficult to grow it at home, but this is not so. With proper preparation and proper care, the beauties of azaleas actively grow, bloom profusely and for a long time and delight the owners with their luxurious appearance.
Ideally, if you follow all the recommendations for growing azaleas, the plants will not hurt. But in real conditions it is not always possible to create all conditions of detention in accordance with the recommendations, providing complete care according to the rules. We will tell you what "misfortunes" can happen to azaleas in the process of growing them. Improper care: insufficient or excessive watering, exposure to direct sunlight, insufficient illumination, high or low temperatures, unsuitable soil, untimely feeding will inevitably lead to deviations in the development of the plant.
- The appearance of withered yellow leaves will indicate insufficient watering. Adjust the procedure as soon as possible, check the water quality, spray, check the illumination - the problem will disappear.
- The appearance of rust and gray rot on the leaves speaks of non-compliance with the temperature regime in the room. Correct the situation - optimize the heat regime and remove spoiled leaves from the plant. This will restore the flower's defenses.
- Excessive moisture in the soil can lead to late blight disease and to the complete loss of the plant.
- Yellow spots on the edges of the leaves - a sign of chlorosis in plants due to a lack of iron and magnesium in the soil. It is necessary to feed the flowers with appropriate fertilizers and microelements.
Let's talk about the disease separately fusarium... If the edges of the leaves (and sometimes the stems) turn black, this is fusarium caused by a fungal or viral infection with improper care (excessive humidity, temperature fluctuations). Blackening of leaf tips can cause insect black thrips. Affected leaves fall off, leaving completely bare branches.
It is possible to save the azalea only with early detection of the problem. Immediately get rid of parasites by treating with special agents (emulsion "Karbofos", "Fundazol"), for better efficiency, treat the area surrounding the flower (glass, frame, window sill, pallet).
Cut off the remaining affected leaves without touching the branches (even bare ones), carefully check the roots, transplant the plant into new soil (disinfect the soil before planting) and place the pot in a room with a temperature of +20.22 degrees in diffused light without sunlight. Providing proper care and conditions in the future, one can hope for a successful flower recovery.
Unfortunately, a plant with a late stage of Fusarium will not be able to recover.
It is also possible damage to azalea bushes by various pests (spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, scale insects)... Insects suck the juices from the leaves and stems of plants, gnaw them, causing serious harm. First, you can try to treat the bush with soapy water, but if this does not work, use special chemicals (Aktellik, Fitoverm, Aktara, Karbofos).
Features and rules of care for large species groups of plants have many similar elements. Illumination, temperature, humidity - these are the "three whales" on which the whole range of measures for growing plants rests. The correct agrotechnical complex of care will help to minimize problems with plant diseases.
When you accidentally meet a blooming azalea (in a store, in a greenhouse, at your friends') imagination involuntarily transfers it to the interior of your house or apartment. In addition to its extraordinary beauty, azalea is remarkable in that it blooms in the cold season. Most indoor plants at this time are dormant and do not bloom, outside the window there is a dull monotony, there is an acute lack of bright colors and positive emotions. Azalea blooming magnificently at this time looks gorgeous, and its fragrance will give you double joy more than once.
For information on how to properly care for an azalea, see the next video.
Like all beauties, azalea is very capricious and demanding. She instantly reacts to improper care by dropping buds and yellowed leaves. But, having adapted, you can tame this whimsical flower, which will decorate the house not only with beautiful flowering, but also fill it with an extraordinary aroma.
Video - tips for caring for an azalea.
The most important thing in azalea care is watering. Its root system can dry out very quickly and does not recover later. Watering the azalea in the summer and during flowering is necessary every day and very abundantly, after a while, removing excess moisture from the pan. It makes sense to arrange a bath for the plant - immerse the pot in a bowl of water for 1-2 hours so that the roots are completely saturated with water. Use only settled water. Sometimes you can add a few drops of lemon juice.
To place an azalea pot, it is best to choose a well-lit space without direct sunlight, which is detrimental to the flower. In the summer, it can be taken out into the street or dropped in the shady part of the garden.
Not only flowering, but also the life of the plant depends on how correctly the temperature regime is provided to the plant. In the summer months, it needs warmth (at least + 22- + 25 degrees), and in the winter months - in a cool room, where the thermometer will not be higher than +15 degrees.
During the heating season, the azalea must be sprayed. This should be done with settled water from a sprayer with fine jets.
Soil and pot
Azalea is also original in choosing the optimal substrate - it needs acidic soil, which is absolutely unacceptable for many other indoor plants. It is best to use peat with the addition of sand or a special potting soil mixture for acidophilia. The pot for the plant should be chosen shallow, but wide and spacious enough to allow it to grow actively.
Azalea must be cut and pinched, otherwise it will not actively bloom. As soon as young shoots appear next to the flower bud, they must be removed so that the plant does not waste energy on the development of the bush, but sends them to flowering.
Successful cultivation of rhododendrons is impossible without taking into account the requirements for the soil. What do you need to know about this in order to grow a beautiful and flowering plant?
When planting azaleas in ready-made soil, you must choose a specialized substrate specifically for these plants. In addition, you need to pay attention to the shelf life, in old soil, the chemical composition can change significantly. The soil is not suitable for seedlings either, since it contains a minimum amount of nutrients.
The soil should have an acidic reaction, since the symbiont fungi living on the roots of azaleas, which help to assimilate trace elements from the soil, die due to the high alkali content, and after them the death of the plant itself occurs. Examine what the soil is made of on its packaging.
The composition of the substrate must include coniferous soil, and the required acidity must correspond to the parameters of 3.5-5.5 pH.
If you compose the soil yourself, then observe the correct proportions: 2 parts of coniferous land, 2 parts of leaf land and 1 part each of peat, sand and heather land. For more looseness of the soil, you can add perlite or vermiculite, and for increased moisture capacity - hydrogel.
Now there is no need to select the fertilizer yourself. You can buy a specialized one, which is called “Azalea”. It is produced by various manufacturers. In the summer and spring months, rhododendrons are fertilized once every 7 days, in the autumn and winter months - once a month.
To stimulate flowering, fertilizers with a high content of potassium and phosphorus are used the day before, for example, Kemira Lux or Uniflor-Bud. During the period of growth of new shoots, nitrogen should prevail in the composition of the fertilizer.
As long as the azalea is doing well in the old pot, it is not transplanted. If the plant has stopped growing, and the soil in the pot dries up quickly, this is a signal that it is time to transplant. This is best done immediately after flowering. The root system of the azalea is shallow, so it makes no sense to take a deep pot - let it be slightly wider than the previous one.
A layer of expanded clay 3 centimeters thick is laid on the bottom; clay shards can also be used. A layer of pine bark is laid on the drainage, it increases the acidity of the soil. Then the plant, along with a lump of earth, is taken out of the old pot and soaked for a short time in Kornevin's solution. This helps to wash out the accumulated salts. After the procedure, the azalea is placed in a new container and the roots are covered with fresh substrate, slightly crushing it. It is impossible to deepen the root collar during planting.
After transplanting, the plant is watered with the same water in which it was soaked and placed in a slightly shaded place. The first time after transplanting, the flower is periodically sprayed with zircon and in no case fertilized. As soon as the azalea gets stronger and grows, you can return to normal care.
Note to flower growers:
- An unusual specimen for decorating a home is a small bush with abundant greenery.
- In winter, the azalea begins the flowering process, which many other flowers cannot please the home.
- The plant has large, bright, colorful buds. Simple and double inflorescences are of different colors: white, pink, red, purple, orange, lilac.
- The aroma of bred indoor species is weaker than in natural conditions.
- The flowering period lasts approximately two months. Indoors, the flower requires compliance with the temperature regime, a certain humidity, lighting. Subject to the rules for caring for the plant, the azalea will delight others for many years.
- Rhododendron is used in the interior of botanical gardens, schools, kindergartens, shop windows, as well as for home decor.
- An interesting decor option is the formation of a crown so that the flower over time resembles a bonsai.