As the azaleas begin to bloom in my yard, I'm remembering from the days of working at a florist, how popular a beautiful potted Azalea was to give as a gift in the springtime. With Mother's Day coming up soon, there are bound to many of these prolifically blooming gems sold.
Azaleas have been grown for commercial floral sales for about 100 years and have graced many homes with their lovely flower masses, for a few weeks indoors. After blooming, depending on where you live, they can become an addition to your garden, if you have a semi-shady spot for one.
It is possible to keep an Azalea as a houseplant but it requires almost the same conditions as a greenhouse would provide. It likes full sun, some humidity and air circulation. It can also be used as a bonsai and if you want to attempt that, I'd recommend a class in this specialized art and science, out of respect for these living things.
- Direct sun is best; it must have full sun after blooming, if you want to keep it growing. It does tolerate lower light for a little while, if you want to display it in less light for the holidays.
- Water thoroughly when the top of the soil is dry..
- Plants in a 6" (15cm) pot should take about 1 pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water. Plants in an 8" (20cm) diameter pot should take about 1 quart or almost a liter of water, when necessary.
- If they wilt, they can be revived. It is probably best to put your plant in the sink or bathtub and really soak it, then let the water drain out for a few minutes before returning it to its place.
- A daily mist of water would be helpful.