As some of you know, yesterday I purchased two Azalea Tree’s. I saw them at Meijer and thought it would add some color to my houseplant collection. The Azalea tree is part of the Rhododendron family. Since the azalea is a custom to the warm climate, it makes a great houseplant, where the temperature can be controlled. The azalea is not for a beginner but if you’re up for a challenge this plant is for you! I have never grown an azalea tree before so we will see how it goes.
The needs of an Azalea Tree
After you purchase an azalea tree, find a place in your home that will give at least four hours of indirect sunlight. The azalea tree can take temperatures 45 to 55 degrees at night and likes 68 degrees during the day. The indoor azalea like moist soil but not soggy, so during the winter when the heat is on, you might want to check the tree daily, if the soil is dry in the first inch of the soil.
If for some reason the plant has become completely dry you will want to do additional watering and possibly, placing the pot in a pale of water and fill half-way up, then allow the plant to suck the water up from the bottom. Keep the plant in the water until the soil is moist but don’t let this happen too often as the plant will not tolerate multiple times of wilting. The soil should have a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 but 6 will also work.
The Azalea tree needs to be fertilized once a month for acidic plants. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer based on the size of your plant. If you are in a cold climate zones 1 thru 7, these trees will need to be indoor plants. If you live in zone 8 thru 10, they can be planted outside. There are some hardy azaleas that start at zone 5. I am going to check them out to see about adding them outside to our property. They would make a nice addition to any flower garden.
How to make your own Azalea Fertilizer
This is for Azalea’s that can be planted outdoors. Take four cups of used coffee grounds, using two sheet pans to spread the coffee grounds to a thin layer on both pans. Put the pans in a place to air dry for a few hours, around five to six hours. Once dried, transfer the coffee grounds to a bowl that’s non-reactive, like stainless steel, glass, glazed ceramic and enamel.
Add 1 cup of bone meal and 1 cup of granite dust, mix until evenly mixed. This can be stored in a seal-able plastic storage container until ready to be used. For indoor Azalea’s use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer, follow the instructions on the container.
If you are living in zones 8 thru 10, and have them planted outside, rake the mulch and debris from the bottom of the tree. Feed your Azalea in the spring or autumn depending on if the soil test shows it is needed. Sprinkle around the root base, 3 tablespoons of your homemade fertilizer, around the outer most length of the branches.
Work in the fertilizer in the top 2 inches of the soil, and mulch, keeping away 3 inches from the base all the way around. Water the plant for about three minutes to let the water soak into the fertilizer.
Greenhouse Azalea’s to Rebloom
Having a greenhouse azalea tree will re-bloom but it will take some work. They are so beautiful, it’s worth trying to make them re-bloom. Once the flowers have gone, give the plants more light and fertilizer. Use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer, that is slightly acidic, every 2 weeks. This plant thrives on acidic soil.
During the summer reshape the azalea tree, of stragglers, to keep the round shape. After the weather warms up you can take the azalea tree outside in a semi-shaded area or keep inside in a semi-shaded area. If the plant is outside, bring back in before the first frost of the autumn.
This is where the tricky part comes in for greenhouse azaleas. Re-pot the azalea in the next size pot, with 2 parts peat moss and 1 part commercial potting soil, and 1 part perlite. Between the months of early November and early January, greenhouse azaleas need cool temperatures between 40 and 55 degrees, at night.
You can use an unheated porch, if its sunny and doesn’t freeze at night. The reason this is important for greenhouse azaleas, is because during those cold temperature months, that is when the blooms set for the upcoming season. During this time, keep giving it enough water, but not too much and no fertilizer during this time, give it some mist daily from a mist bottle.
In January, bring back in the house to a spot that will still get nighttime temperatures of around 60 degrees. Move the plant back to the sunny spot when you see buds. In a few weeks, flowering should start.
For the most part of what I have gathered in my research is make sure the plant stays moist but not soggy. This is definitely not a plant that is just beginning to grow houseplants. The azalea trees are very beautiful if you have the patience to grow them and follow the directions for them to re-bloom the following spring. I am so excited for spring to get here. I have so many projects that I want to do here on our property of 20-acres. It’s just killing me to be in the house all winter.
What are your thoughts of growing an Azalea Tree?
Do you currently have one? Indoors or outdoors?
What are you doing to keep the cabin fever away?
Comment below and let me know your thoughts!