Azalea is the new indoor-plant for the month December. Azalea’a are mostly available from August until April,and some species until May. They come during this periode in large numbers and colors from white to pink and purple.More than 1000 varieties of this genus,wich originally are Rhododendrons and not Azalea.
Azalea comes from the greek and means arid and dry. Rhododendron means Rhodo = Rose and dendron = tree . The one we keep in our homes is Rhododendron simsii . Rhododendron comes from Japan and China .
The Rhododendron we can buy in december had a special treatment to bloom in december, the temperature in the greenhouses is raised to 18-23 gr.celc. and the amount of water doubled. In the garden they bloom from februari to march and april. In nature they grow as groundcover on hills and in the shade of trees.
In our homes the Rhododendron likes a temperature between 15-23 gr.celc. They prefer a spot with much light but no direct sun. Water from the tap contains to many calcium so they prefer rainwater.The soil must feel like a wrung sponge, wet but not too wet.Dipping (Baptism) the plant in a bucket of lukewarm water is the best way to water a Rhododendron.
If leaves plenty of branches fall this indicates that the plant is too hot and / or too dry. Dipping the soil is the best solution.
Most of the Rhododendron’s that we buy in the Garden-center or florist are grown in Belgium,this country is famous for it’s Rhododendron cultivation.