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Azalea mistake

Posted by paul_cronin 6 BOSTON MA (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 9:29

I'm cross-posting this from the Azalea forum as I'm not sure how active that is.

I�ve kept a small azalea (approx. 20" tall) in a container since last spring as I wait for it to grow for landscape use. During the recent cold spell, I brought it inside to a sunny location to ensure it didn�t get damaged, with the idea to move it back to a sheltered spot once the weather warmed up, but the weather has been so cold, I�ve kept it inside for the past 10 days. You can guess where I am going with this� I came back from a trip away last weekend to find the buds breaking dormancy. Once I saw the buds open, I figured I couldn�t return it outside, so I�ve kept it in the house this week, and now it�s about 30% in-bloom.

I�m assuming once the bloom is over, it�s going to start showing new growth. As this is early in the year, is that ok? How long should I keep it indoors? I don�t want to damage any new growth, but I know this is a fairly hardy plant. What�s the best path forward here?

Thanks!
Paul


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Azalea mistake

Hi Paul, I 've been hoping someone who has some experience with this situation would respond, but I thought I'd at least give you my two cents worth, that is based on limited knowledge and no experience. (g)

I would probably keep it in the house and care for it like a houseplant until I could safely put it outside in the spring. Of course, you won't get any bloom on it this year in the spring, I would think. Now that might be entirely the wrong thing to do. So I would look for more input.

If no one here can answer, you might try the houseplants forum. It's fairly busy this time of year and a lot of people there try growing all kinds of things indoors. I would think surely someone there has tried to grow an azalea as a houseplant. You might also ask on the shrub forum because they would have more knowledge than I do for sure. Good luck, I hope it works out okay for you.


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RE: Azalea mistake

Like PM2 I haven't actually done this with a rhodoendron, but this is what I would do with a tender perennial that had inside. I would put it on a pan of gravel with water to increase the surrounding humidity without saturating the soil and put it in the brightest window in the coolest place, perhaps with some supplemental light as close as possible to the leaves without touching.

When there start being days that are warmer, set it out in shade to harden off, but bring it inside if it will get below 35 degrees or so. Plant when danger of frost is past. You won't get blooms this year, and you may lose some foliage if it isn't hardened off enough.

If the leaf buds haven't started swelling, I would probably put it back outside in whatever sheltered spot you had it in and sacrifice the flowers for this year.


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