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Rhododendron (azalea): 65 photos

Rhododendron (azalea): 65 photos

Thanks to their lush and vibrant flowering, rhododendron bushes instantly attract attention in the garden. From a distance they resemble cumulus clouds illuminated by the setting sun – white, yellow, orange, red, purple, pink of all possible shades and shapes. Close up, it is noticeable how numerous five-petal flowers, similar to miniature bouquets of lilies, completely cover the plant, leaving not even the leaves in sight. And although the genus Rhododendron has more than 600 species, the azalea, a popular ornamental shrub that is often found in landscape design, and dwarf varieties, also in indoor floriculture, use a special location for gardeners..

General characteristics of rhododendron (azaleas)

The natural habitat of most rhododendrons is high-mountain meadows and woodlands in a temperate climate zone. In the wild, these shrubs can be seen mainly on the mountain slopes of the Northern Hemisphere from the Alps to the Himalayas. Some species also grow in Siberia, China, Japan, certain regions of North America and even Australia, where the National Park of Rhododendrons was created..

In summer, the abundant flowering of azaleas against the background of the surrounding velvet greenery looks especially impressive. Tall bushes are usually placed in partial shade of trees, creating cozy alleys and park compositions. Compact low-growing varieties decorate flower beds, paths, exteriors and interiors of houses. In the role of indoor or greenhouse flower, a miniature evergreen azalea is used, which, with its decorativeness, successfully competes with the most capricious exotic plants.

Yet growing rhododendron, especially in an apartment, cannot be called safe. All parts of this culture (branches, leaves, petals) contain the toxic substance andromedotoxin glycoside, which provokes poisoning of people and animals, including with prolonged inhalation of volatile ethers from the air. Even honey collected by bees from azalea flowers becomes unusable – eating it can cause extremely serious consequences, up to and including death. To avoid getting the juice on the skin, it is better to look after these bushes with gloves, and keep the plants themselves away from children and pets..

Rhododendron (azalea) - General characteristics Rhododendron (azalea) - General characteristics

Rhododendron care

The natural environment of rhododendrons influences their preferences for weather and basic biological needs. Mountain shrubs form a shallow but extensive root system that develops well only in acidified soils in the absence of large trees nearby. Surface roots are not able to fully provide the plant with water, therefore leaves are actively collecting moisture – they attract H2O molecules from the air, and then the resulting droplets flow down the smooth surface to the branches and trunk.

Lighting

Like many abundantly flowering shrubs, azalea loves well-lit areas, although the larger the plant, the better it tolerates partial shade. There is no point in planting a rhododendron in a completely shaded place – it is unlikely that you will be able to wait for the buds there. Leaves can burn under the scorching rays, so in the southern regions it is advisable to shade the plant or choose cooler areas of the garden.

The best neighborhood for him is formed by coniferous crops: pines, larch, thuja, cypresses, but trees with a lush crown and shallow fibrous roots should be placed as far as possible.

Rhododendron Care - Lighting

Temperature

When choosing a variety for planting on the street, you must first of all pay attention to frost resistance. In the middle lane, deciduous and Japanese azalea are most often cultivated – species that can tolerate short-term frosts down to -27C (if there is shelter). The optimum temperature for indoor rhododendrons is + 10 … + 15C in autumn-winter and + 15 … + 20C in summer. Garden bushes also prefer freshness and do not tolerate heat very well..

Rhododendron Care - Temperature

Watering

Moisturizing is especially important for dwarf and young azalea bushes. To prevent the plant from dying, it is impossible to allow either complete drying out or excessive marshiness of the soil, ensuring regular moderate watering. It is advisable to spray the leaves of the rhododendron with settled water from a spray bottle, and in the garden it will benefit from short-term rains and fogs.

Rhododendron Care - Watering Rhododendron Care - Watering

Pruning

Both outdoor and indoor azaleas should be pruned after the flowers wither. At the same time, dry and excess side branches are removed, and in general, about a third of the total height is cut off. This shortening saves the strength of the plant, due to which more flower buds are laid in it for the next year..

Rhododendron Care - Pruning

Planting a rhododendron

As a rule, the first planting of a rose tree (this is how the name “rhododendron” is translated from Latin) is carried out from a purchased seedling. At the same time, for garden and home species, the recommendations for the composition of the soil are approximately the same. Light acidic soil with sufficient nutrient content is suitable for all types of azaleas. A mixture of rotted needles (can be taken in a pine forest), peat and black soil in approximately equal proportions is well suited. Also, it will not hurt to fertilize the earth with organic matter in the form of humus or compost from plant residues..

The capacity for indoor rhododendrons is selected depending on the volume of the roots – usually it is a fairly wide pot with a margin for growth of about 5-8 cm. A hole is dug under the garden bush about 60-80 cm wide and 40-60 cm deep. It is imperative to lay up to 10 cm of drainage on the bottom, then pour the prepared mixture and plant the plant together with an earthen lump well-saturated with water, without deepening the root collar.

The optimal time for rooting azaleas outdoors is from early April to mid-May and August to early October. It was during this period that the temperature and humidity outside are quite comfortable, so that the young plant has time to adapt to the new environment by the beginning of flowering or by the first frosts..

If the climate in the region is cold in winter, then with minimal risks of freezing of the soil, rhododendrons should be covered. Around November-December, the land around the bush is watered abundantly, and then mulched with a layer of dry vegetation (10-15 cm) – hay, leaves, coniferous litter – and sprinkled with earth. Heat-loving varieties need shelter for the entire plant, along with the trunk and branches. For this, special wooden structures are used, but by no means a film, since it blocks the access of air. In spring, during warming, the protection is removed gradually, at first only in the morning and evening hours, so that young leaves do not burn out in the bright sun.

Rhododendron (Azalea) - Landing Rhododendron (Azalea) - Landing Rhododendron (Azalea) - Landing

Reproduction of rhododendron

There are several methods of propagation of azaleas: seeds, cuttings and dividing the bush. The first method is very painstaking, therefore it is used mainly in nurseries for the mass cultivation of seedlings. Young sprouts need a constant temperature of + 20C, regular watering and additional lighting in winter, which creates a lot of difficulties for amateur flower growers..

Rooting the cuttings is a faster process, with its help it will be possible to get a young bush in a year. To do this, a part of a branch with several buds that is not completely stiff is chosen, cut to about 12-15 cm and buried 3-4 cm into well-moistened peat. It is important to ensure constant soil moisture and a warm, about + 20C, climate. To create a greenhouse effect, the sprout can be covered with a plastic bottle or glass jar. After rooting, transplant to a permanent place, as described above..

The division of the bush is carried out during transplantation. To do this, an adult azalea is divided into several parts, each of which is planted in a separate container or pit. The first few weeks, the plants are watered abundantly with the addition of Kornevin or another drug that stimulates the development of the root system.

Rhododendron (azalea) - Reproduction Rhododendron (azalea) - Reproduction

Rhododendron (azalea) – photo

In the photo gallery collected on this page, we propose to see the options for using rhododendron (azalea) in landscape design. We present to your attention high-quality pictures of the most beautiful parks and gardens, where its profusely flowering bushes can be seen in the greatest possible splendor..

Also, delicate azalea inflorescences look beautifully on window sills, verandas, in greenhouses and greenhouses. To admire the bright bouquets of rhododendron, now it is not necessary to climb the tops of the mountains – you just need to find inspiration in these pictures and plant an alpine “rose tree” on your own plot.

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