Bonsai Training Information

Rhododendron indicum
Azalea

It is an evergreen which in the wild grows as a small shrub (up to six feet). There are hundreds of azalea cultivars. The azalea used to be considered a separate genus from the rhododendron, but has recently been reclassified.

Styles:

Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Clump

Location:

Outdoor

Position:

Rhododendron indicum is a woodland undergrowth plants and hence prefers a dappled shade location. Sunny locations especially in hottest parts of the year can damage azaleas roots, which are mainly surface growing trees. Most cultivars are not very frost hardy so are best protected in a cool glass house to overwinter.

Watering:

Water well during the growing season, do not let the pot dry as this will the plant. They prefer and acidic soil so use rain water when ever possible. Use organic pH conditioners like seedweed to correct pH balances, inorganics may juts increase salt imbalances and burn the fine azalea roots.



Feeding:

Whenever possible use an inorganic feed. Feed biweekly in spring till flowering and then switch to a monthly feeding regime till late autumn.

Leaf and Branch Pruning:

Prune after flowering. Leave only 2 or three new shoots at each node whorls, in the directions that you would like your branches to grow. Root pruning normally encourages a lot of back budding on older wood. If the plant has opened up too much now is the time to prune back hard to allow new growth to develop.

Re-potting & Growing Medium:

Repot every two years for younger plants, 3-4 years for older plants. If pH imbalances occur frequently because watering. salt imbalances, you many need to repot more regularly to introduce fresh soil to the tree. Use a Humus rich well draining soil, 1 Part Akadama, 1 Part Pumice and 1 Part Humus or Leaf Mould. Repot in spring, but then do not allow the plant to flower as this may stress the fragile root system.

Wiring:

Not normally necessary as shaping is normally carried out with branch and shoot pruning. If wiring be aware as older azalea branches and very hard to bend and snap easily.

Notes:


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