Bonsai trees

The Azalea bonsai



Latin name


Rhododendron

Common name


Azalea

Description


It's a little bit difficult to grow this tree. Once you succeed, this bonsai will find a way how to say 'thank you' by very beautiful and coloured flowers. The azalea can be a challenge for ordinary gardens so this is increased when trying to grow a bonsai from this species. They belong to the Rhododendron family and as such prefer acidic soil but some specimens may tolerate a soil with a slightly more alkaline composition.

The flowering season is between may-june and they are indeed a spectacular sight when in full bloom.

Type


indoor

Maintenance


Light: Keep at sunny places.

Temperature and exposure


The Azalea requires shady, cooler places during the dormancy period. Recommended temperature is about 12°C. The dormancy period starts in Autumn and ends when December ceases and January takes over in the calendar year. It's good to find a half-shade place for this tree during Summer and when the azalea is in flower rainfall can damage the delicate flowers so some form of cover is ideal during the rainy months such as May.

Pruning and forming


The best method for pruning is breaking down. After losing blossoms remove all new sprouts. Then remove secondary sprouts wisely in order to white-out the tree's top until midsummer. The lower branches tend to have a stronger growth pattern compared to the higher branches so more extreme pruning in the lower areas may be required.

Soil and replanting


Needs acidic soil with pH = 4. You must have soil with good water permeability. Try to use soil with peat and crushed needles in ratio 1:1. Add sand into the mixture. Azalea should be planted into bonsai pot after five years. Then replant it every two, or three years. The roots are very delicate so take extreme care when root pruning.

Watering and fertilization


The soil should be kept moist and never allowed to dry out, excessive water in the soil can also damage the azalea so a constant moist level is sufficient. Needs a lot of water during the bloom period. Azalea can live only if water hardness is low. If you have hard water you must decrease hardness of water or use rain water. Fertilize every week after it loses blossoms untill end of July. When Azalea blooms, fertilizer should contain higher amount of potassium.

Reproduction


I think that reproduction of Azalea at home is useless. You can buy many Azalea trees, which are ready for forming into a bonsai tree in shops. Many nurseries have had success with cuttings and even some experienced gardeners have managed to propagate the azalea this way but it is very much hit and miss. All cuttings definitely require a plastic cover to prevent a humid atmosphere and to prevent evaporation.

Styles


Is suitable for all styles except broom. Can grow in any size.

Pictures


This is a place for pictures of real Azalea bonsai trees. If you have any, send us them and they will be published with your copyright and link to your site if necessary.

Azalea bonsai


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