Specie: Rhododendron Indicum
Botanical Name: Satsuki Azalea
Satsuki Azaleas are native to Japan and originate from the Rhododendron indicum specie, which is part of the Rhododendron genus (Rhododendron is a genus of over a thousand species). Satsuki Azalea produce small glossy dark green leaves, which are appreciated in Bonsai art. However, what makes azaleas so popular are the magnificent flowers that this specimen produces during the summer in a variety of colours (white, pink, red and purple).
This plant material is suitable for all formal and informal styles.
Location and Position
Satsuki Azaleas enjoy semi shade expositions. It needs protection from the sun, rain and wind, which could easily contribute to the deterioration of the beautiful flowers. This specimen tolerates light frost, but it needs some shelter during the winter.
Satsuki Azalea will require soft water (rain water) as it can’t tolerate lime deposits in soil, or it will perish. Soil must be kept moist at all times as this shrub dislike drought.
Use fertiliser for ericaceous plants every two weeks from the growth period until flowering (feed needs to be suspended during this period). After flowering, return to feed once a month until autumn.
Pruning and Pinching
As soon the flower petals start to wilt, remove the central ovular stem to prevent fungal issues and avoid exhaustion. Structural pruning can be addressed after flowering. Pinching needs to be moderate during summer or it will cause no flowering for the following year.
Repotting and Soil
Repot every two years after flowering or as soon as the roots fill the pots. Use lime free soil such as ericaceous compost or Kanuma.
Attention is required as branches are very brittle and can easily snap. To avoid scars, I prefer to wire in autumn.