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Particularly popular in landscape design is a deciduous or evergreen type shrub with flowers similar to roses - this is rhododendron or also referred to by gardeners as azalea.
This plant is so loved by gardeners precisely for its flowers, which differ in size, shape and color depending on the variety. However, not every owner of such a shrub knows how to properly care for it during flowering and for what reasons it may not bloom.
Plant life cycle
The life cycle of a rhododendron that grows naturally in open ground is subject to the change of seasons: its growth, flowering and rest are closely interconnected with the seasons.
Rhododendrons are mainly distributed in the Northern Hemisphere (Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Japan, South China, North America) and this plant grows mainly either in the coastal zone of water bodies or on shaded rocks and forests.
- Before flowering. In October-December, flower buds begin to form in the plant, so during this period it is necessary to maintain a temperature of 6-10 degrees. After (January-February) when the flower buds are formed, the temperature should be raised to 16-18 degrees to stimulate flowering. You will also need good diffused lighting, otherwise the rhododendron can shed the kidneys.
- During flowering. At this time, the most careful care should be provided, since the plant invests all its strength in flowering. At the right temperature (13-16 degrees) and lighting, the flowering period can last two months, but in some cases the azalea can bloom a little more than two weeks.
- After flowering. In summer and autumn, when the bush has already bloomed, all conditions should be provided so that it regains strength and prepares for the next flowering. During this period, the temperature should not exceed 25 degrees, the room should be well ventilated (the houseplant can be taken out to the balcony or garden area). Also at this time, pruning and transplanting is carried out, if necessary.
What do rhododendron flowers look like: photo
Rhododendron translated from Greek means "tree with roses" or "rose tree". During flowering, the bush is completely covered with flowers that look very similar to roses.
The first flowering of garden varieties should be expected only 3-4 years after planting in the ground.
The flowers themselves, depending on the variety, can have a variety of shapes, sizes and colors:
- in size, flowers can be from miniature (1 cm), which are characteristic of small-leaved low-growing varieties, to huge ones - their diameter can reach 20 cm;
- the shape of the flowers can also be varied - pion-like, bell-shaped, wheel-shaped, funnel-shaped, tubular;
- the color palette of flowers includes all the variety of pink, burgundy, purple, white, beige, yellow and other shades.
Flowers of some varieties of this plant can be collected in inflorescences from 1-3 to 15-20 flowers. Flower petals can have a slight doubleness, corrugated or wavy edge, and can also be complemented with a pattern in the form of specks or borders. The number of petals in a flower varies from 5-6 to 30 pieces. Also, some varieties of rhododendrons have a pleasant floral aroma.
Check out the photo of a luxuriously blooming rhododendron, which is provided with competent care:
Bud opening period: how long does it take?
This shrub plant blooms once a year., while the duration of this period is 2-11 weeks. If this is a home flower, then it begins to bloom already in winter, and if the rhododendron grows in the garden, then the first flowers can be seen only in May. It is at this time that the flower can be rearranged and moved and this will not harm it.
Flowering directly depends on the conditions of the plant during the dormant period.
It is better to buy a rhododendron during this period and choose a bush on which there are a few already opened flowers and many still unblown buds.
Lack of this process
Since azalea is a capricious and whimsical plant, the very first sign that it is not satisfied with the conditions of care, for example, the wrong location, high / low temperature or humidity, improper watering, excess / lack of fertilizers, is the lack of flowering. At the same time, for shrubs planted in open ground, it is worth panic only for 3-4 years. Also lack of flowering can signal that the azalea is sick.
Caring for the plant during the appearance of buds at home and in the garden
Consider what care a rhododendron needs in a pot during flowering at home and how to care for a blooming azalea on the site. This demanding plant needs special care during flowering.
For azaleas, both a window or balcony and open ground are suitable. In winter, a closed loggia or balcony is suitable for azaleas, the temperature at which should not be lower than 5 degrees, in the summer - can be taken out into the shade on the garden plot or on the balcony.
If there is no balcony, then southwest or southeast windows are preferable, but then special attention should be paid to temperature, lighting and humidity.
During flowering, this plant needs a lot of light, but it should not be bright direct sunlight, but bright diffused light or partial shade. In winter, when the duration of daylight hours is short, you should additionally use a phytolamp.
Azalea also does not tolerate dry air., therefore, it needs to provide sufficient moisture. The plant should be sprayed regularly, while in the summer it should be done daily.
During flowering, the plant should be sprayed carefully, because if water gets on the flowers, they will rot and fall off.
Also, at home, you can increase the humidity in an azalea in a pot like this: water is poured into the pan, a layer of expanded clay or pebbles is laid and a pot is placed that should not touch the water. The best option is an air humidifier, which is useful not only for the plant, but also for humans.
Temperature conditions are especially important for blooming azaleas.... The most comfortable temperature in winter is +10 - +15 degrees, and in summer up to 25 degrees.
In winter, you can take the azalea out to a non-freezing loggia or balcony, and in the summer, for example, take it out to a garden plot.
You can also artificially cool the soil by placing some ice on the surface and sprinkling it with cold water. If the house has an air conditioner, then there will be no problems with maintaining the desired temperature.
When and how to water?
Azalea is hygrophilous and especially during the flowering period needs a lot of water - the ground should always be moist. Water for irrigation must first be defended and filtered - it must be soft.
It is also possible to use melt water or rainwater. It is useful to acidify water sometimes by adding a couple of drops of lemon juice to 1 liter of water.
The plant should be fed from the beginning of spring to July, making them once a week.
Since rhododendron requires acidic soil, it is necessary to choose mineral fertilizers that will not disturb the reaction of the environment.
It is recommended to use liquid fertilizers as fertilizers. for this culture "Azalea" or for orchids, in which all the necessary trace elements and nutrients are selected. The main thing is not to overdo the dosage. During the appearance of buds, to make the rhododendron more luxuriant, you can use fertilizers such as "Zircon" "Kemira-Lux".
How to understand that rhododendron is fading?
It is impossible to skip the moment of the end of flowering in an azalea, since its flowers begin to wither, become faded, dry up and crumble, while some may remain in a dried form on the bush.
Outwardly, the bush looks like this: some of the leaves have dried up, some have changed color (turned brown), most of the flowers have dried up and fell off, but a small amount of them remained on the bush. Such dried inflorescences should be removed.
Also, some types of rhododendron, after the flowering period ends, can shed not only flowers, but also leaves. In this case, the bush remains completely naked. After flowering, the azalea should be prepared for a dormant period.: prune and, if necessary, transplant.
Young plants (up to 3 years old) are recommended to be replanted once a year, adults - a maximum of once every two years.
Find out what to do with the azalea when it faded here.
Problems and solutions
Rhododendron is very picky about the conditions of detention, therefore, if they are violated, the following problems may arise:
- Buds, flowers and leaves fall off... The reason may be insufficient air humidity and high temperature, therefore it is necessary to increase the humidity and lower the temperature to the norm of 10-15 degrees.
- Flowering is poor, the leaves turn yellow... In this case, the reason may be the wrong soil and too hard water. It is required to pick up soil with an acidic environment, and water it with soft and always settled water.
- A cobweb appeared on the leaves... The plant lacks moisture and coolness and is susceptible to pests (spider mites). You should wash the azalea with soap under a warm shower and create the necessary humidity and temperature.
Mealybug, scale insect, spider mite, bug, weevil, rhododendron fly, slugs and snails are the most common pests of this plant.
- Dry spots on the leaves. This is what burns look like. Therefore, the rhododendron must be immediately rearranged and protected from direct sunlight.
- Leaves curl and turn white, buds crumble... The cause is Fusarium disease, which occurs due to high fever. The plant must be treated with a fungicide and the temperature normalized.
With a timely solution of the problems that have arisen, it is possible to prevent the death of the rhododendron.
Azalea or rhododendron refers to those plants that are demanding on the conditions of keeping. Particular attention should be paid to temperature, humidity and lighting both during dormancy and during flowering, and then the rhododendron will become an excellent decoration for a garden plot or window.