Azalea: Discover How to Take Care of This Beautiful Plant

The azalea is a beautiful shrub that you can use to decorate different spaces inside and outside your home. Get ready to learn everything you need to know.
Azalea: Discover How to Take Care of This Beautiful Plant

Last update: 25 June, 2022

The Azalea belongs to the Ericaceae family. It originates from Asia, but we can also find species in northern Europe and North America. A medium-sized shrub, it’s recognized for its colorful and varied blooms. However, the pink color predominates.

For the Japanese, the Azalea has great meaning. Having it in the home is said to bring good luck and fortune to the people who live there. They also offer it as a gift to express good wishes towards someone. It’s often given to sick relatives, pregnant women, and couples who are about to marry or to newlyweds.

In this article, we’re going to tell you about its characteristics, the species, and growing recommendations. Take note and enjoy its beauty!

General characteristics

The size of azaleas varies according to their species. We can find them at heights that range between ten and twenty centimeters. Its flower can have many petals and is characterized by lush growth. Although the colors are very light, there are some mixed shades from pale pink to deep red.

Although the azalea is a beautiful plant and ideal for decorating every corner of your home, you should exercise some caution. This is because it’s toxic to humans and pets when consumed. 

According to research, its consumption causes transient burning of the mouth, redness of the extremities, dizziness, respiratory issues, depression, and contractions of the diaphragm. Bradycardia, drop in pressure or increase and loss of consciousness, among other symptoms, are also reported.

These reactions are attributed to the concentration of diterpenoids, such as grayanotoxin. This is a cardiotoxic and neurotoxic compound.

Types of azaleas

There are, on average, 10,000 varieties of azaleas in the world. The most common are those that originate in Japan, such as the pink azalea, the white azalea and the Christian azalea japonica. We can also find varieties such as rosebud, crimson, and Karen.

They all vary in their size, color and geographical distribution, among other details. Next, we’ll tell you more about them.

The white azalea represents purity. It's a nice detail.
The white azalea represents purity.

White azalea

The white azalea has white petals, as its name implies. This species is ideal for growing indoors because it doesn’t become too large, which means it’s perfect to grow in a pot. With sufficient care it lasts for several years, and white in the home symbolizes peace and serenity.

Christian azalea japonica

The Christian azalea japonica has a vivid deep pink flower. It can measure up to 90 centimeters. It’s grown more frequently in outdoor spaces due to its size and because it’s resistant to sunlight.

Rosebud azalea

The rosebud azalea is a variety that’s often seen in large gardens. With the respective care, it can reach a height of two meters and be preserved for up to 40 years. The tone of its petals varies according to the season and they can turn yellow in autumn.

Azalea care

Now that you know more about the azalea, you’ll want to complement the information with its care. Before delving into this, you need to identify the type of species you have at home, how big it’ll become, and if it adapts well to a pot. Once you know this, you can then care for it in the following ways:

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is one of the most important aspects to preserve the azalea. This plant needs acid soil to flourish properly. It’s necessary to use a special nutrient-rich fertilizer, this can be every one or two months, as required by the plant itself.

The azalea soil should never be parched and should have good oxygenation.

Location

The place where you grow your azalea depends on its type. Some adapt well to interior environments and others to exterior. Most of them share one fact, and that is that they don’t grow in extreme heat. Rather, they tend to wither and die. 

It’s advisable to sow and cultivate it in temperate climates, where it doesn’t receive direct sunlight, or in spaces where there’s high humidity.

The azalea is a very beautiful and easy to care for plant.
The azalea is a very beautiful and easy to care for plant.

Temperature

To have a beautiful and lush azalea, you must keep the shrub in a balanced, warm temperature and in a well-ventilated space. Be careful with excessively cold weather, as it directly affects its growth.

When winter comes, it’s best to protect them and bring them inside if they’re potted.

Brightness

The azalea needs abundant light, but as we’ve mentioned, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight.  Preferably, it should be planted in a shady spot, at the same time as having contact with the outside and the vitality of the indirect sun. It can be located on balconies or window ledges that meet these conditions.

Irrigation

The azalea loves humidity. But, if it’s not watered every day, the plant will wilt. Irrigation must be abundant and daily, without drowning its roots.

The immersion method is also recommended, in which a bowl of water is placed underneath the pot for around ten minutes, so the roots can take what they need.

Are you ready to have an azalea at home?

We’ve given you some fundamental details about the azalea. The characteristics, colors, types and care that should be given to them. Start implementing these tips and enjoy the best of their beauty.

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  • Azalea. Monografías de plantas tóxicas. Instituto de Salud Pública, Ministerio de Salud, de Chile.