Azalea is a species of ornamental shrub that belongs to the genus Rhododendron, which has two subgenera known as Pentanthera and Tsutsui, from the family of the Ericáceas. The different species of azaleas are currently widespread throughout the world, although they are native to the Himalayas and Nepal.
It can be a perennial shrub or deciduous, depending on the species.
Depending on the azalea species, its size varies. The smaller ones measure 10 to 20 cm, while the highest ones can reach 3 meters high.
The leaves of the azaleas can be small and others large, depending on the type of species and are arranged in a spiral.
Some azaleas have a cover of scales or villi on the underside of the leaf.
It produces flowers of very striking, varied and pleasant colors.
Its flowering can occur in large clusters of flowers.
The azaleas of the Alps have very small flowers.
In tropical areas, azalea grows like a quasi-parasite plant, which is mounted on another to develop.
The flowering period occupies the months from January to March, including spring.
Types of azaleas
- Pink Azalea (Rhododendron Blaauws Pink or Kurume) Japan
- Azalea Cristina (Rhododendron Christina Girard)
- Azalea Karen (Rhododendron Karen)
- White Azalea (Rhododendron Pleasant White)
- Mountain Azalea (Rhododendron ferrugineum)
To maintain their flowering and good appearance, these plants require permanent care. If the care and maintenance of this plant are deficient, it will weaken, lose its flowers, and its appearance will be unattractive. These four aspects are the key to maintaining the beauty of this plant:
Location: Azaleas tend to suffer in dry and hot climates. These plants grow both outside and inside and you must take into account the deficiencies of the climate when planting it in a garden or keeping it unventilated in a closed room.
Temperature: These plants do not tolerate sudden temperature changes. The environments they need should be tempered and well ventilated. If they are outside they must be protected from low temperatures and inside they must be protected from moisture.
Luminosity: Azaleas require a lot of light, but avoid direct exposure to the sun since their leaves will wilt. The best option is to place it in a semi-shaded area.
Irrigation: Rainwater is ideal for watering this plant, at the time of watering it should be placed in a container with water for 5 to 10 minutes so that the roots collect the water they need and thus avoid water logging of the plant.
At the time of growing this plant, we must remember that the semi-shade or shadow areas are the most suitable, especially outside, in addition, the areas of deep shade cause damage to the plant since they need a lot of light. They must also be protected from extremely cold climates.
It is important to know that azaleas suffer from calcareous soils, for this reason, the idea is to grow them in slightly acidic soils. The soil must have good drainage and remain loose, this helps to prevent its flooding. It depends on the variety you are going to grow, its payment must be made less or more frequently.
Plagues and diseases
The most common disease in azalea is iron chlorosis, it is fought by adding high potassium and iron fertilizers. Mold may also suffer from water accumulation in branches and leaves.
The insects that most attack the azalea are spider mites, caterpillars and lace bugs.
The toxicity of azalea
All plants that make up the Rhododendron genus contain in the pollen and nectar a toxin called Grayanotoxin, which is highly poisonous to humans.
Avoid placing beehives near areas where there are azaleas crops because if bees produce honey from these flowers, it will not be suitable for human consumption. The stems and leaves of the azalea are also toxic.