Home garden design > Ornamental Plants > Azaleas planting and growing

Azaleas planting and growing

Azaleas are excellent outdoor and greenhouse shrubs, and are sometimes seen in windows. They are less grown in this country than in Europe, largely because of our hot, dry summers and severe winters.

There are two common types or classes of azaleas: the hardy or Ghent azaleas, and the Indian azaleas. The latter are the familiar large-flowered azaleas of conservatories and window-gardens.

Ghent azaleas thrive in the open along the seacoast as far north as southern New England. They require a sandy peaty soil, but are treated as other shrubs are.

The large flower-buds are liable to injury from the warm suns of late winter and early spring, and to avoid this injury the plants are often protected by covers or shades of brush. In the interior country, little attempt is made to flower azaleas permanently in the open, although they may be grown if carefully tended and well protected.

Both Ghent and Indian azaleas are excellent pot-plants for bloom in late winter and spring. The plants are imported in great numbers from Europe in fall, and it is better to buy these plants than to attempt to propagate them.

Pot them up in large-sized pots, keep them cool and backward for a time until they are established, then take them into a conservatory temperature in which carnations and roses thrive. They should be potted in a soil of half peat or well-decayed mold and half rich loam; add a little sand. Pot firmly, and be sure to provide sufficient drainage. Keep off red spider by syringing.

After blooming, the plants may be thinned by pruning out the straggling growths, and repotted. Set them in a frame or in a semi-shaded place during summer, and see that they make a good growth. The wood should be well ripened in the fall.

After cold weather sets in, keep the Indian or evergreen kinds half dormant by setting them in a cool, dull lighted cellar or pit, bringing them in when wanted for bloom. The Ghent or deciduous kinds may be touched with frost without injury; and they may be kept in a cellar until wanted.