Scientific name: Rhododendron
Another common name: Azalea Japonica
These beautiful flowering plants are native to Asia, Europe and North America. In nature, these plants bloom in May to June, producing very vibrant and beautifully colored flowers. Naturally flowering seasons are altered by growers in nurseries, to produce flowers off season like Christmas and New year. These shrubs were manicured into beautiful bushes to decorate Japanese emperors’ gardens. Japan has a flower festival celebrating these flowers.
Azaleas are highly toxic if ingested. In Turkey, some bees are deliberately fed on Azaleas to produce a mind altering medicinal honey, called mad honey. These flowering plants are easy to look after, you should be careful if you have kids or pets not to munch on these plants.
Like most flowering plants, these plants will need plenty of light, as far as it is not a direct sun. Put them as close as possible to the window, all the time.
Azaleas prefer cool room temperature (15C to 25C). The higher the temperatures, the faster the flowers will bloom and die. These plants grow better when placed in a humid atmosphere.
It is one kind of a plant that people cannot kill by overwatering. Azaleas just love water.
Feed Azaleas at a frequency of 10-15 days, during their flowering season, then every 2-3 week intervals, during their growing season. Stop feeding when no new growth appears.
Once flowers are over, prune branches back, shaping the plant to your liking, you can even train it with wires to become a bonsai, both indoors and outdoors.
Do not repot Azaleas while they are blooming, wait until flowers are off. Be careful with the roots since they are very fragile.
Varieties of Azalea available in store