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House Plant Index

AZALEA

Flowers Winter & early spring in house
Potting or re-potting time Immediately after flowering
Position in garden during summer Light shade
Potting Mixture 5

These flowering shrubs and trees of the heath family are familiar to all. A tremendous number of species and horticultural varieties are available, many of which may be grown as pot plants. Azaleas form flower buds in late summer and autumn, and bloom in the spring. Gentle forcing will produce flowers in the house during the winter and very early spring.

Potted azalea plants are usually purchased at Easter when they are a mass of buds and flowers. The garment of color is retained for weeks if the plant is kept constantly moist. Generous watering is necessary, and it should be supplied from the bottom. After flowering, the plant should continue to receive water, and in June it may be plunged in the garden where it is watered every day. Keep after red spiders which will work havoc unless constantly washed off the leaves-leaves which are most essential while buds are forming. In September the azalea is returned to the house and placed in a sunny window. Here, according to species or variety, it will come into flower from Thanksgiving to March.

While many azaleas serve admirably as house plants, perhaps the most satisfactory are the Kurume hybrids. They are small in stature and the flowers literally blanket the plant. The color spectrum ranges from pure white through all shades of pink to cerise, and some of the hybrids have flowers, which are lined and flaked. As garden plants they eventually reach a height of 5 feet; as pot plants they bloom when only 8 to 10 inches tall.

It is not advisable to prune azaleas too rigorously, yet ambitious green shoots may be removed to keep the plant symmetrical.

In addition to Kurume azaleas, Azalea japonica with orange to scarlet flowers, and Azalea yedoense with purplespotted, lilac flowers-usually double-are grown in the house or conservatory. The latter plant is also sold under the name Azalea yodogawa.

Azaleas are grown from seed and propagated by stem cuttings. The amateur gardener will not have much success in increasing his stock by either method. It is better to buy new plants, as they are needed.


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