Monday, February 9, 2009

TAKING CARE OF FLORIST AZALEA



Common Name. florist azalea
Scientific Name. Rhododendron spp.
Bloom Season. The florist azalea blooms from
early to late spring and is most commonly sold
during the Easter season and for Mother’s Day.
Flower Color. The florist azalea comes in
all flower colors except blue.
Foliage. The foliage ranges from small and
rounded to large and pointed. The leaf is ciliate
(has small hair-like structures coming out the side
of the margin) and slightly pubescent (has hair-like
structures coming out of the upper side of the leaf).
Flowers. The flowers range from small to large,
single, semi-double, and double forms. The petals of
the flower are fused together in a star shape.
Plant Selection. Check the following list
when choosing a florist azalea:
• Foliage all the way to the base of the plant
and no long shoots coming out of the top of the
canopy of the plant.
• No more than 25 percent of the blooms open.
• A plant that has not been crowded out by
other plants; crowding gives a flat side or yellowing
areas.
• A plant that can support its own weight and
does not need string or wire supports around it.
• A plant without disease or insect
problems—disfigured or discolored new as well
as established growth (shriveled or yellowed
leaves), or damaged stems, leaves, or flowers.
Plant Care. After bringing the plant home,
you need to take several steps to keep it healthy
and flowering. While all plants and flowers
have a limited life, you should enjoy a florist
azalea for 2 to 3 weeks by following these
recommended care and handling tips.
L i g h t—B r i g h t , i n d i r e c t s u n l i g h t i s
recommended to keep the plant growing
without fading the blooms.
Water—Water daily or more often as the plant
needs it, when the potting mix becomes visibly
dry. Irrigate with enough water to allow some to
come out the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to
allow the potting mix to become too dry, as it will
not easily become wet again.
Fertilizer—Fertilizer will not be needed on
florist azaleas.
Maintenance—Remove all dead leaves and
faded blooms and keep the foliage dry to help
prevent disease and insect problems.
Usage. The florist azalea is a nice accent to
almost any part of the house. The main concern
is to keep the potting mix from drying out

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