The Azalea

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The Azalea Indica, or Chinese Azalea, is of Asiatic origin. The varieties are innumerable; but the most common and longest known variety is that from which others are but hybrids, Azalea Indica. It is a strong growing plant, with long, coarse, evergreen leaves, producing in clusters of three or more, at the end of the branches red flowers marked with dark spots. This plant may be grown in great perfection, and, as well as all the varieties, is admirably adapted for a window plant.

The habit is shrubby, and the flowers are produced in great profusion. A. Indica alba has white flowers, and is a fine old variety. A. Indica purpurea is a variety with blossoms of a light purple color; a profuse bloomer, and of rapid growth. There is also a double variety. A. Indica coccinea is bright scarlet. From these all the fine varieties of the greenhouses have been produced.

To grow the plants in perfection good drainage is essential. Fill the pot one quarter full of broken potsherds, then fill the soil to within half an inch of the top; soil, a dark peat three parts, one part of loam, one half part of silver sand. If the gardener plans on growing these plants among any garden waterfalls, the proper drainage is even more critical.

Frequent re-potting conduces to the health of the plants. As a general rule, re-pot when the roots run among the crocks at the bottom of the pot. Do not sift the soil; break it into small pieces. Frequent syringing is beneficial, but over-watering must be carefully avoided. Give full sunshine to the plant, but lay a little moss over the pot if the sun is very hot, to protect the roots. Keep the plant about the temperature prescribed for camellias.

As soon as the flowers fall growth begins. Give plenty of air and sun, for on this growth depends the bloom of the next year. It should be short, close, and the flower buds be set at the end of each branch. Set the plants out of doors in the summer, maybe close to any large water falls as prescribed for camellias.

Azaleas may be pruned into any shape. This operation should be performed after the flowers have dropped, or after the plant has made its season's growth. The Azalea is subject to rottenness of the roots, produced by a sodden soil, the effect of over-watering. The remedy is simple: re-pot the plant, and water moderately. Excessive dryness, the other extreme, produces yellow leaves and a general unhealthy appearance. Although it was previously mentioned to be wary of garden waterfalls producing too much moisture, some kind of patio water feature will ensure that the plant is getting enough water.

The following varieties are of proved excellence, and very distinct. All will succeed in the house. Azalea amoena, a lovely variety; flowers double purple; produced in great profusion in midwinter. Indica lateritidia salmon; Danielsiana, bright red; Per-reyana, scarlet; Murreyana, rose; Indica alba, whiter
Purpurea, purple; Coccinea, red. Iveryana, pink and white; Variegata, rose and white; Gledstanesii, white, striped with red. This list might be increased an hundred fold.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author:
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in gardening and home improvement. For a great selection of large water falls or garden waterfalls, please visit www.garden-fountains.com/.

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