Propagation and care for azalea at home
Due to its beautiful appearance and lush, pleasing to the eye in winter cold blooms, azalea is one of the most attractive indoor plants, but very capricious. In order to prevent the flower from drying out, it is necessary to correctly and timely carry out various agricultural activities, one of which is reproduction.
At first glance, a simple procedure can lead to the death of the plant, if we neglect the basic rules and conditions of the content of azaleas in this period. In this article, we will consider a brief description of the flower and a suitable microclimate for its cultivation, methods of plant propagation, as well as care after cuttings and possible difficulties that may be encountered during this process.
Short flower description
Azalea is a dwarf evergreen plant that came to us from Asia, but today it is no less common in South America and in Western Europe. Indoor subtype of flower botany belong to the genus of rhododendrons. Azalea, that is, translated from the ancient Greek “dry”, got its name in honor of appearance, since it is a squat dry bush.
In our latitudes, the plant settled only at the end of the XIX century and at first it was grown exclusively in greenhouses or arboretums. In total, there are about 360 species of azaleas in nature, but for breeding at home they are suitable and the most popular, as a rule, only two species are Indian azalea and Japanese azalea.
Did you know? In addition to its attractive appearance, azalea is also famous for its healing properties, in particular, the elimination of various inflammatory eye diseases and even a hangover. It perfectly relieves fatigue - just sit down in front of the plant, and in a matter of minutes you will feel a surge of strength and energy that will stay with you for a long time.
The leaves are dark green, relatively small in size and can be both terry and regular even. When choosing an azalea for growing a house, pay attention to the number of unopened buds: if there are more than half of them, it is likely that such a flower is adapted for quick adaptation and will delight the hosts with incredibly spectacular and fabulous blooms for much longer. Do not be too lazy to check the plant for the presence of diseases and pests - just carefully inspect the bush, and if you find dry or completely wilted leaves, then the azalea is sick or just undergone inappropriate care.
Suitable microclimate for growing
Despite the fact that the azalea can bloom for quite some time, one can often hear the complaints of gardeners that after some time after buying a flower, it fades for no apparent reason. This is due to the fact that azalea is a very capricious plant in itself and needs a special approach and conditions. If you properly take into account some of the features of its cultivation and the requirements of the flower, it will certainly reward you with an abundance of its amazing and inimitable flowers.
- temperature condition. Since azalea is not among the heat-loving plants, a temperature of +14 ... + 17 degrees is suitable for its maintenance, which, during budding, will still need to be lowered by 3-4 degrees. Only a properly selected temperature regime will give the plant the opportunity to bloom for a long time and impressively. It is extremely important to monitor the desired temperature in the summer. To do this, it is recommended to move the azalea to the balcony, but not to its south side, but with air conditioning to keep the temperature no higher than +18 degrees. If the flower was in the garden in the summer, you must definitely bring it into the room before the cold snap;
- humidity. No less demanding flower and high humidity. At the very beginning of the heating season, the plant begins to experience stress due to dryness, so high humidity is achieved by regular spraying. It is necessary to spray azalea with cool water and with great care, since the flowers are quite sensitive to water and quickly darken. The best way out of the situation is to arrange small containers of water around the flower. In the warm season, it is enough to simply move the plant to open air, but in winter you should deal with this issue more thoroughly;
- lighting. After acquiring the azalea, the first thing you should do is choose the right place for it. Despite the fact that the plant is quite photophilous, it does not tolerate direct sunlight, therefore, for its maintenance, it is worth orienting yourself on the eastern or western sides of the house. Azalea feels great both in diffused light, and even in the shade, and during the formation of buds (that is, in autumn), care should be taken to artificially illuminate the plant with lamps.
Learn how to plant indoor flowers in a pot.
Home breeding methods
Azalea is propagated in several ways: by cuttings, dividing the bush and seeds. The latter is a rather painstaking process, most in demand, most likely, among experienced gardeners for creating new varieties. However, having mastered all the subtleties of this procedure, it is possible to achieve full adaptation of the flower to home conditions and to improve the quality and duration of flowering. Let's consider each method in more detail.
Video: Azalea breeding
Propagation of azalea by stem cuttings is usually carried out in the summer, approximately in August.
Important! To prevent drying of the soil, it is recommended to periodically place the azalea in a spacious container with warm water and leave for several hours. So the soil absorbs the maximum amount of moisture, which in the most positive way will affect the development of the bush.
The technology of grafting is simple:
- First you need to cut the cuttings, leaving at least 6 leaves on each shoot.
- Next, the selected cuttings are washed in a plant growth stimulator, for example, Agrosole or Zircon, and are disinfected in a solution of pink manganese before the planting procedure.
- Treated cuttings are planted in weakly acidic soil, 2-3 pieces each, deepening by 2 cm. The capacity is not of fundamental importance - it can be both pots and disposable cups. It is recommended then to cover it with a dark colored cloth, but a bag or jar is also suitable.
- In order for the plant to take root well, it is necessary to maintain an appropriate temperature - at least +20 degrees. Watering, as well as spraying, need regular.
Video: Azalea cuttings
Another way to reproduce azaleas, which does not take much time and effort, but will require a careful approach. It is suitable exclusively for old bushes with a huge number of shoots.
The standard procedure is as follows:
- After the azalea has faded, the bush must be pulled out of the pot and placed on a flat surface.
- Using a disinfected knife, carefully cut the lumps of soil, including the roots, in half. As a result, at least one branch should remain on each part. Since the root system of the flower is quite sensitive and easily injured, it is necessary to act with extreme caution and provide proper care to the roots immediately after the procedure.
- The resulting segments must be placed in previously prepared soil and pour warm water. For the next week, azalea should be kept in a dark and cool place.
Azalea can also be propagated by seeds, however, this procedure is much more complicated and time-consuming than the others, and is fraught with a number of difficulties:
- self-collecting seeds is almost impossible, since a plant growing in a house has almost no ability to set fruits;
- seed ripening can only be achieved through pollination;
- Azalea grown in this way most often does not retain its varietal advantages, and it is highly likely that it will acquire the characteristic features of a hybrid.
In order to sow a flower in this way, you must do the following:
- Perform planned sowing of seeds in early March, in no case sprinkling with soil from above, otherwise tender seeds will not germinate. Spray the substrate from the spray gun.
- Cover the seeds immediately with glass.
- Place the seed container in a bright and warm place.
- Every day, the room containing the container with seeds must be ventilated. Watering shoots need not frequent, but plentiful and exceptionally warm, protected water.
- Given the fact that shoots appear without a clear schedule, it is difficult to say about the timing of this process, but most often it takes at least a month to grow.
- After several leaves form on the shoots, it is necessary to make a pick.
- At first, the seeds should grow in containers, but by the beginning of September they will need to be moved to a separate container.
Care after cuttings for indoor plants
After carrying out such an important procedure, you should take care of the condition of the plant, try not to expose it to excessive stress and provide the most comfortable conditions for further development. Care for azalea must necessarily include such standard agrotechnical measures as watering and feeding, bush formation, transplanting, as well as protection from diseases and pests. Consider each item in more detail.
Watering and feeding
Watering the azalea should be done with extreme caution, since this procedure is the basis for the successful growth and vegetation of the plant.
Did you know? In Japan, they especially respect the azalea, calling it the "flower of the sages." In the same place, the plant is used to create bonsai, as it tolerates the negative effects of the environment and in general serves as a wonderful decorative decoration.
Given the requirements of the bush, proper watering should look like this:
- it should occur stably regularly, special attention should be paid to its abundance during the budding period of the plant;
- the soil must not dry out or accumulate excessive amounts of water, since both of these substrate conditions will be harmful to the plant. Ideally, the soil should be slightly moist;
- absolutely any water is suitable for watering the azalea, which is strongly recommended to acidify by adding a few drops of lemon juice to maintain and maintain the desired acidity of the soil;
- water temperature is also very important - it should be warm, but not icy;
- during the fall, watering procedures are reduced.
Read more about what and how to feed indoor plants at home.
Trimming and shaping a bush
In order for the plant to have an attractive shape and lush flowering, it is necessary to ensure proper care for azalea, periodically removing excess shoots, pre-pinching them. The essence of this procedure is to provide an attractive appearance to the shrub due to the voluminous crown and to achieve uniform distribution of buds. It is very important to carry it out in a timely manner - starting from the end of April, otherwise the process of budding will be sluggish.
Pruning is highly recommended by secateurs. It is not necessary to eliminate all branches, but only too elongated. Literally in two to three weeks the procedure will have to be repeated, since the leaves will begin to form again.
Azalea transplantation is also an integral part of caring for the plant, because too long being in one container depletes the soil and in the most negative way affects the health of the flower.
Important! Loosening the soil is strictly prohibited, since there is a high risk of damage to the delicate roots of the plant.
- The bush has its own requirements for this procedure:
- transplantation is carried out immediately after the plant fades for the first time, often by transhipment method;
- it is extremely important to act carefully, without damaging the earthen lump, since the root system in azalea is very sensitive and can easily be injured in the process;
- transplantation is carried out in a tank of not very large depth so that the roots are located not far from the soil surface;
- the frequency of this procedure for young azaleas is not more than once a year, and it is recommended that old bushes be replanted only once in four years;
- before transplanting, dried-up stems, shoots and branches are required to be removed.
Video: how to transplant azalea
Often, even the most experienced flower growers, who have gained a hand in the cultivation of azaleas, are faced with the occurrence of such troubles as diseases and plant pests. Azalea can get sick due to adverse environmental effects, so it is doubly important to observe the proper conditions for caring for the plant.
It is possible to determine that the flower is sick by the following signs:
- Azalea leaves suddenly turn yellow and fall, which is most often the cause of insufficient light and moisture. In this case, you should carefully monitor the watering and location of the plant, and then the problem will be eliminated;
- Fusarium and powdery mildew are the main enemies of azalea, as a result of which its rapid death occurs. A measure to combat ailments is the creation of an optimal temperature regime for the existence of a flower, as well as an urgent pruning of diseased leaves;
- by such signs as the rapid wilting and falling of flowers, it can be determined that the plant is watered with unsuitable water . Preliminary boiling of water with the addition of fertilizers will contribute to the disappearance of the problem;
- rotting of the rhizome is one of the most common problems arising from the accumulation of excess moisture. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to periodically drain the accumulated water from the sump.