My new Azalea project. First attempt from starter stock.

Chub

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Was at a Lowes today just looking around and this little azalea caught my eye. The bottom half or so just looked like it was a tree to me. And for $7 why not give it a shot. So I decided to embark on my first potting attempt and took a little ride to get the bonsai soil. I figure I could cut it back pretty much right where the first two pictures end. Anyone have any suggestions/ advice ?
 

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digger714

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Be careful doing too much to a tree this time of year. I would work on the top now, and prune and repot next spring. Im through repotting anything this year. Are you planning on chopping the top and rootpruning to put into a bonsai container? If so, then be careful how many roots you take off this close to summer.
 

Chub

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Be careful doing too much to a tree this time of year. I would work on the top now, and prune and repot next spring. Im through repotting anything this year. Are you planning on chopping the top and rootpruning to put into a bonsai container? If so, then be careful how many roots you take off this close to summer.
Thanks..Thats the kind of info I'm looking for. Would time of year make a difference if it's kept inside under lights? By the way, do you think that it has a decent shape to start off with?
 

digger714

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Azaleas are outdoor trees, and need to stay outdoors. They can be brought in for a day every now and then. I bring mine in for an evening sometimes, but back outdoors. There is no way, well without spending a small fortune to duplicate their needs. There are some indoor trees that can stay inside all the time. Look for some tropicals. Even them i put outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall. If you want the tree to get larger, then it needs to be put into a larger container, or better in the ground. But if your happy with the size of the trunk, then put some wire on it to get some shape into it, and then start deciding which branches/ you want to keep, and chasing the foliage back in towards the trunk. You will have to get something in mind before you can go too far. Yes, i think it has some nice movement and shape. Does it have any surface roots under there?
 
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jk_lewis

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He's in New York so isn't as close to summer as we are here in NC. He can still do some work, though I'd concentrate on the top for now. Be careful when you cut, though, and don't leave a stub without some green leaves on it.

Over the winter, I would carefully remove all flower buds, then next year, I'd repot with root work in early spring.
 

Joedes3

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I live in the Boston area. What do you consider early in the year ( for this area ) for working on the roots? I was thinking about picking up an azalea also. Thanks Joe
 

Chub

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Cut it back a bit. This is what I came up with. I would like to go back a bit further, but I'll wait for more to leaves further down like Digger suggested. Made sure each branch I trimmed had some leaves developing before I cut it.
 

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digger714

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Sounds like a good plan. I tend to be more cautious with my trees, but you are right about being in such a different climate zone, you can do more later there. Do your azaleas loose their leaves every winter? Ive not worked with this type of azalea before. I think i have one in the yard at a rental house i have. The flowers are awesome. They are very large flowers though, so you will probably want to go with a taller tree so it all looks in proportion. Usually we work with a 6 to 1 height to trunk ratio, but those rules have to be broken, so if it looks good to you, then do it. Like JKL said, take off the flower buds this year, so they wont put the energy into flowers but into leaves / growing next year. Good luck with it. Nice tree.
 
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biglou13

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chasing it back is a good idea. however ive seen azaleas stumped come back vigorously. i live in florida so azaleas have different needs down here, (grow like weeds). i've chopped them from spring to mid summer.

make sure it gets right amount of sun, some are full sun,partial, shade. they like an occasional dose of iron. some just put a few nails in pot and rust does the trick. i found some cheap off brand iron additive. i also have been giving them a diluted dose of fertilizer regularly, along with occasional foliage misting.

i'm also concerned about wintering your azalea. but then again i'm in florida, locals will be able to provide u more info.

what are your goals with this?

think trunk= ground growing.

also check out other threads on azaleas in flowering section.
 

Chub

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According to the tag it's an Orchid Lights Azalea (N.lights)

Rhododendron "Orchid Lights" (Orchid Lights Azalea). Introduced 1986 Orchid Lights Azalea is a hybrid of Rhododendron canadense and Rhododendron x kosteranum. The orchid-colored flowers are 1-1/2 inches across and are sterile, so seed capsules are not produced. Flower bud hardiness is rated at -45 degrees F. The compact plants of Orchid Lights will mature at an average height of three feet and a spread of three to four feet.
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG2386.html


As for sun the tag says it's "part sun" morning sunlight only.

Where do I want to go with it? I think it's a good starting point for this style.
 

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Harunobu

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Your azalea is deciduous. Just so you know.
 
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Bill S

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This one is hardy, you might want to consider planting it in the ground, it will get you to your future tree much quicker.
 

Chub

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This one is hardy, you might want to consider planting it in the ground, it will get you to your future tree much quicker.
Instead of that, how about just a very large container? Say a 3 or 5 gallon with a good potting soil. Would that be pretty much produce the same results? I really have no where to plant where the conditions are right for it. Not without my dogs runner cable destroying it.
 

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It's best to prune azaleas after flowering, not during.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Instead of that, how about just a very large container? Say a 3 or 5 gallon with a good potting soil. Would that be pretty much produce the same results? I really have no where to plant where the conditions are right for it. Not without my dogs runner cable destroying it.
Overpotting it would pretty much produce root rot and a dead little tree...best off getting it into the ground if you can find a spot the dogs won't mow it down or dig it up.
 

Bill S

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I was going to say what Ryan did, you could stay ahead of it by continually up potting till you get to the size you are lookng for, like the nurseries do. A bit slower but it works. These shouldn't be too fussy about where they grow, if you have a spot that doesn't get sun baked it would probably work, they shoud be hardy as well, assuming you bought it at a local nursery.
 

Chub

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Thanks for the help. I'm curious. What would cause root rot in an oversized pot? Either it's in the ground with plenty of room, or in a pot with plenty of room. I don't see the difference.

Did a bit of wiring. Pretty much one of my first attempts. It's not pretty but it worked..lol. Just moved each wired branch a half inch or so. Wanted to open it up a bit.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Thanks for the help. I'm curious. What would cause root rot in an oversized pot? Either it's in the ground with plenty of room, or in a pot with plenty of room. I don't see the difference.
Brent states it best in his article here:

"When a downward moving table of water reaches an impermeable layer (in this case the plastic pot bottom) it will not drain until the layer just above the impermeable layer (pot bottom) is saturated."

And:

"Most of the water in the pot is removed from the pot by absorption by the roots and not by evaporation. If you overpot, it will take a long time for roots to colonize the bottom of the container and consequently it will take much longer for the saturated layer to become fully aerated (the only factor at work is evaporation). Overpotting will generally lead to too wet conditions and eventually root rot. "

For more reading about the related phenomenon he calls "soil collapse", read here. Not light reading, but very enlightening.

Anyone who has gone to repot a tree and felt that sickening feeling when half of the soil soggily remained in the pot as the tree was removed has experienced this lack of root colonization and resulting soil collapse. It's usually followed closely with the smell of rotten roots and a few choice expletives.
 

Chub

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Interesting reading so far. Now would this solve the root rot problem?

#1. Not watering heavily.
#2. Drilling plenty of holes in the pot including the sides.
#3. Have maybe a 2-3 inch base of gravel in the bottom of the pot.
 

Bill S

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#1 not so much, you will run into days it's too wet, but worse there will come a day that because some is dry the water you put in will run around the outside of the soil and out the holes, on a hot /windy day this spells dead azalea. Possible but tricky, this is the time to be conservative rather than liberal:D;)

#2 &3 will help, but I still would sugget the up potting routine if you really can't get it in the ground. By the way Ryan did it too me again, Brents, the earth isn't a pot article is God these days.
 
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