Azalea care after trip

akhater

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Since there no chance to find satsukis in my part of the world a friend of mine was nice enough to agree to carry one for me with him from abroad.

The thing is that the plan was shipped to him 3 days ago (1st travel) and it will be with him for the next 6 days in a hotel and then one more trip (1 day) in the plane to reach me

now assuming all goes fine I should get it in a week from today and was wondering about the care it should get for the first week or two to recover ?

1. bud removal ? (i think the answer would be yes but is it absolutely necessary ? I'd llike to see them you know :) )
2. repotting if the soil is bad ?
3. fertilizers ?

thanks
 

buddhamonk

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Hopefully you're not in the US or your friend could get in trouble. Is the plant bare rooted or in a pot?
 

akhater

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I live in Lebanon and no my friend is not in the US but, out of curiosity why he could have trouble ? it is illegal to take plants out of US ?

the plant is in a pot

thanks
 

woodguy

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I live in Lebanon and no my friend is not in the US but, out of curiosity why he could have trouble ? it is illegal to take plants out of US ?

the plant is in a pot

thanks


It is usually not legal to import plants into the US without proper permits and such. Some other countries have similar laws.
 

akhater

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actually he won't be importing rather exporting since he would be leaving US :)

anyway he is not in US, any advise for the plant ?
 

Harunobu

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It's more of a question if the azaleas will do well where you live. I have seen people with satsuki in Hawaii or southern California, so maybe they will.

But generally I have been told that azalea need a cold period to go dormant to trigger developing flower buds. I think satsuki don't do this in those hotter climate but bloom flower by flower during many months.

Also, you will have to take a lot of care to water it well. Azalea roots can't dry out or leaves will be damaged. This happens fast if the azalea is in a pot an sits in the bright sun. Especially if the potting mix contains little organic material.

Out of all azalea the Hirado are considered most heat resistant since they are R.scabrum hybrids.

Maybe for the middle east new azaleas need to be developed that are more adapted to the climate there. My local nursery has R.scabrum species. If that plant is crossed with a satsuki and a lot of seeds are grown by you, maybe that will be a start.

But that's not bonsai but azalea hybridization.


As for the plant, since your friend takes it with him he will be able to keep it from drying out. So it shouldn't be damages or stressed.

If the tree arrives in good condition there is nothing special you should do. And even if you ideally want to repot, I think you should probably wait for the month that has generally cool weather.


Also, do you actually prefer satsuki flowers to other azalea? Is that your reason for wanting a satsuki. Do they sell azalea in plant nurseries in Lebanon? Which cultivar?
There are people out there that prefer western flowers to Japanese flowers (solid colour flowers vs variegated different flowers on the same plant) but think they need satsuki to make bonsai. Of course almost all azalea bonsai are made using satsuki because outside of Japan no businesses seem to grow them from scratch. And Japanese prefer satsuki for bonsai.
 

Bill S

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actually he won't be importing rather exporting since he would be leaving US

True as far as the US goes, but are there laws against this in Lebanon, because it would be importing to there. The airport isn't a good place to find out if you are breaking the law.
 

akhater

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It's more of a question if the azaleas will do well where you live. I have seen people with satsuki in Hawaii or southern California, so maybe they will.

I surely hope so :D

But generally I have been told that azalea need a cold period to go dormant to trigger developing flower buds. I think satsuki don't do this in those hotter climate but bloom flower by flower during many months.

Any idea about how cold is cold ? Where I live temp drop to ~ 6 to 8 degrees celcius during winter is this cold enough ?

Also, you will have to take a lot of care to water it well. Azalea roots can't dry out or leaves will be damaged. This happens fast if the azalea is in a pot an sits in the bright sun. Especially if the potting mix contains little organic material.

Will do my best

Out of all azalea the Hirado are considered most heat resistant since they are R.scabrum hybrids.

Maybe for the middle east new azaleas need to be developed that are more adapted to the climate there. My local nursery has R.scabrum species. If that plant is crossed with a satsuki and a lot of seeds are grown by you, maybe that will be a start.

But that's not bonsai but azalea hybridization.


As for the plant, since your friend takes it with him he will be able to keep it from drying out. So it shouldn't be damages or stressed.

If the tree arrives in good condition there is nothing special you should do. And even if you ideally want to repot, I think you should probably wait for the month that has generally cool weather.

He will water it every other day and keep it next to a window for light I do hope I will get it and in good shape

Also, do you actually prefer satsuki flowers to other azalea? Is that your reason for wanting a satsuki. Do they sell azalea in plant nurseries in Lebanon? Which cultivar?
A lot of azaleas are sold here in Lebanon but no idea about what cultivar no one will ever answer this question here :)

The reason I am looking for satsuki because I read that "common azaleas" will not build trunk for bonsai

THanks a lot for all this input
 

Harunobu

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Cold treatment that is use to greenhouse force azaleas is about 6 weeks in the 0-6 degrees. It seems your climate still has distinct seasons so I guess it will develop flowers in sync with the seasons.

Some more info here.


As for satsuki having nicer trunks. Surely some azalea cultivar will have less nice bark than some or maybe even most satsuki. But satsuki weren't developed for bonsai. They were developed to be late blooming potting plants. They were styled, but not as bonsai as that was not possible without metal wire.
They were also often selected for sporting and variegated flowers which makes them different from western azalea.


Are the azalea cultivar for indoor use or are they garden plants? I do think that florist/indica azalea, which are based on R.simsii, usually don't have very nice foliage and are therefore not ideal for bonsai.
 

akhater

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thank you for all that info, i still need it to survive the summer and the winter before reaching next spring and know if it will bud or not
 

akhater

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Just a quick up, I just got the plant it looks a bit tired with a couple of leaves turning yellow

Let's hope it will recover quickly
 

Harunobu

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Azalea as an evergreen lose old leaves when they are old as they don't renew all their leaves each year. They will turn yellow or red. Individual old leaves turning a colour and dropping is not a problem but part of naturally renewing. This mostly happens during autumn, but also during spring.

With new leaves it is a different issue. I don't know what climate it was in, but during spring time new growth will be obvious compared to old growth. If there is no obvious new growth, it probably still has to grow.

Drought damage is obviously different from old leaves dropping.

Remember, satsuki grow before flowering while kirishima, kurume and indica azalea bloom first.

I can show pictures of my non-bonsai to clarify.
 
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akhater

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@Harunobu thank you for all these details, yes pictures would surely help

I am including picture from the azalea so I can get more help, it really look tired with some dead branches and a few new shots. (sorry for the bad phone pics)

I have decided to sacrifice the flowers this year so I removed all buds. we are having mild temperatures here this week in the 16 degrees Celsius and overcast.


The soil it is in looks fairly draining and I prefer to avoid repotting it this year if possible, should I water it only when the surface dries or shouldn't wait that much ?

Also should I put a plastic bag on it for a couple of weeks ?

Finally I guess better not to put any fertilizers for the next month or so am I right ?

Thank you for any insights
 

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Dav4

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That azalea is looking quite weak. The pics of the soil show what looks like kanuma particles near the trunk, which is then surrounded by a heavy, bark-based soil in a pot that is a bit too big. I'm wondering if the tree is stressed from overwatering, as I suspect the majority of the soil is very water retentive. Still, in Lebanon, that might be a good thing. I'd be very careful with watering for now, until you see how the tree and the soil responds to your climate. Good luck.

Dave
 

akhater

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hi Dave,

Thanks for the reply,

It seems it was raised in pure kanuma and was split repotted in a bigger pot with that soil, it does look like retaining a lot of water but well draining. I can be carefull with watering but I dont know what it means... Should I water only went the soil is dr p
 

Harunobu

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It's hard to judge but it indeed doesn't have a lot of foliage. But some evergreen azalea drop a lot of leaves during autumn to protect themselves against winter. It also looks that most branches were pruned.
The soil indeed looks wet and mostly organic material. I can also see some of the roots.
I don't see new spring foliage.

It does look weak but it doesn't have to be unhealthy per se.

Shows a yellow leaf, dark green leaves from previous years and light green new growth.


Obvious contrast between old and new growth


Satsuki in winter, might be the same as the first two pictures:


Kozan with lots of new growth a few days ago:


Here in the Netherlands weather is hotter right now than your in Lebanon. Spring is going fast, and Kozan and Ai no Nishiki seem to leave dormancy way early.
Can you see new growth developing already?


I would probably cover up the root ball a bit more. No bag, it is moist already. You just don't want leaves to be burned into hot sun. I assume morning sun is not very strong even in Lebanon. If so, give it some sun. Maybe get a shade cloth. 16 degrees doesn't sound like weather that will quickly scorch it. You need sun to help it grow, but you need to keep the root ball from drying out while the leaves are exposed to bright sun. The soil can dry up a bit, just not too much. And when it is dry when leaves lose water, leaves will get damaged. Drying out in the shade because of a lack of water is different from drying out in bright sun.

With all azalea and rhododendron you walk a fine line between too wet and too dry. The roots are susceptible to root rot, but drying out will quickly cause leaf damage when in full sun. The latter one is not as big a problem as the first one.
When roots start to rot, there is no good solution.

Right now I wouldn't water at all. Let the soil get drier first. It seems mostly organic which does retain a lot of moisture. No fertilizer. Azalea don't need a lot of fertilizer and this plant is in organic material already.

I can't really tell if the leaves look brown. At some leaves it seems they have brown spots? That single yellow leaf does look like a leaf the plant decided to drop as part of getting rid of older leaves. If you touch it gently it should immediately fall.

I think the label reads 'Kaho' but I don't know if 'Kaho' is late or early to go out of dormancy.
 
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akhater

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@Harunobu
Thanks for the detailed reply much much appreciated!

I will try to be very careful for it to see how it will react, no plastic bag for now and will see how it goes in a couple of days.

No in fact I have very few new shots it looks a lot like the one you put "Satsuki in winter"

Leaves are not brown they are green only 1 or 2 turning yellow not more, but it is not vigorous you know what I mean ? Nothing like the a last pic you posted
 

Harunobu

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Not all my azalea are out of dormancy either. It still has to put out new growth. I assume that it will, even in the case that it is not healthy.
 

akhater

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one week later my azalea still looks exactly the same as the day I got it, no new shots no signs of waking up but not worth either...

I have to say weather here lately didn't help a lot, we had rain and cold temperatures (for the season) for the past 10 days or so.

I keep hope
 

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