"Pink Ruffles" Azalea

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Alhambra,IL
I bought this with the intention of planting it in the garden, after it finished blooming. After doing some research, I discovered it is an evergreen variety of a Rutherford hybrid, that is only cold hardy to 20 degrees. I suck at azaleas in pots, but it will die for certain if planted in the ground. I have come up with a basic plan, from reading all of the azalea threads here. After flowering, I will prune it back a bit, just to shape it, nothing after June. I am considering repotting into something smaller, come August/September. Will that give it sufficient time to recover for its' winter in the garage? My prior experience with a couple Satsuki's ended badly, so any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated.PINK RUF1.jpgPINK RUF2.jpgPINK RUF3.jpg
 

amcoffeegirl

Omono
Messages
1,907
Reaction score
2,641
Location
Des Moines, IA
USDA Zone
5b
Do you have a 3 season porch or a colder area in the basement where you could keep it in winter?
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
8,143
Reaction score
13,333
Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
The key with azaleas is to move slowly with the roots and to use acid fertilizer. They don't throw thick long roots, but instead a fine mat of almost hair-like fine roots. If you repot and clear out all the fine roots you will almost certainly kill the tree. When you repot you have to go with the "pizza" or "pie" method (depending on your indulgent food of choice) and clear out wedges of roots from the rootball while leaving the other wedges untouched. If you want to be conservative, you can repot every year, but remove only 1/3 of your pizza slices per year. Once established in good bonsai soil, this will become less of an issue because the inorganic soil will cause the azalea roots to be thicker and less hair-like. But if you are working with an azalea from a nursery pot, expect a mass of roots that will remind you of a peat moss bog :)
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Alhambra,IL
The key with azaleas is to move slowly with the roots and to use acid fertilizer. They don't throw thick long roots, but instead a fine mat of almost hair-like fine roots. If you repot and clear out all the fine roots you will almost certainly kill the tree. When you repot you have to go with the "pizza" or "pie" method (depending on your indulgent food of choice) and clear out wedges of roots from the rootball while leaving the other wedges untouched. If you want to be conservative, you can repot every year, but remove only 1/3 of your pizza slices per year. Once established in good bonsai soil, this will become less of an issue because the inorganic soil will cause the azalea roots to be thicker and less hair-like. But if you are working with an azalea from a nursery pot, expect a mass of roots that will remind you of a peat moss bog :)
I used your "pie" advice when I repotted my natal plum. Worked like a charm, thanks!
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Masterpiece
Messages
4,948
Reaction score
8,167
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
@Carol 83
For the cold blast blowing through today, I'd bring it inside, to enjoy the flowers in your living room until this nasty cold blast disapates. We're at 29 F in SW Michigan.

If it is hardy to zone 7, it is good to at least +10F, maybe to 0 F. (-12 C to -18 C) your garage might be fine. Especially in a cooler, with a plastic 2 liter bottle, 3/4 full of water to provide thermal mass. A used soda bottle works fine. But if St Louis gets a rare stretch of below zero lasting more than a day or two, you might move the cooler into your basement, keep it closed, so the tree does not warm up and loose winter hardiness.

I have wintered tender azalea under lights, in my basement, with my cool growing orchids, and have done okay. Usually florist's varieties do best like this. Some of the Belgium's fall in this category.
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Alhambra,IL
You know, the azaleas can't read, so it might not "know" how hardy it is supposed to be. I did read somewhere else that it is only hardy to zone 7b. +10F.
And I read in one description, it's only hardy from zone 8-10. Ugh. Every description does say it is an evergreen variety. How do you feel about a repot late summer/fall? Or should I leave it in the nursery container? As usual, thanks for the help.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Masterpiece
Messages
4,948
Reaction score
8,167
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
A late summer repot would likely lower its ability to tolerate cold, because there will be a lot of young growth.

I would let it bloom, then before every last flower is exhausted, maybe at 3/4 of blooms wilted, then remove all the spent blooms, and the last of the unopened buds. Let it rest a week or two, during which you fertilize. Then do your repot, and pruning to improve form toward its future styling. So it is end of April, this means your repot and prune should be middle or end of May. This will give new roots and new growth enough time to mature before the end of summer. You would then have ''maximum winter cold tolerance''.

Even if you did figure out a fool proof winter shelter good enough for zone 8 trees, I would still do the repot an and pruning at end of May, given it was blooming end of April. That way you get the bush heading toward pre-bonsai, getting it ready for future styling. You would also have the chance to do a July or August pruning to redirect growth more toward a direction you want . Remember the later in the summer the pruning is done, the lower the chance of the resulting new growth maturing enough to bloom next spring.
 

Mellow Mullet

Masterpiece
Messages
3,076
Reaction score
6,959
Location
Mobile, Alabama-The Heart of Dixie
USDA Zone
8-9
@Mellow Mullet any words of wisdom from the flower whisperer, or maybe send me some of your magic pixie dust? ;) @Leo in N E Illinois you know my climate and pretty much everything :).
Just saw this, was out of town for a concert this weekend. Leo and others have given some excellent advice, and since he is close to you his winter advice would be better than mine. I have a couple of the nursery varieties and they can be tough to winter. One is in the ground and it gets killed back almost to the ground every winter, I keep meaning to dig it up but never do. The other is in a bonsai pot and I bring it inside when I bring in the tropical plants and it seems to do fine.

If it has filled the nursery pot with roots you should be able to cut at least half of them off the use the pie method on what is left. Prune it for shape and let it grow.

John
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Alhambra,IL
Thanks everyone for the excellent advice, at least now I have a plan.
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Alhambra,IL
So, I tried to follow everyone's advice @Leo in N E Illinois , @Mellow Mullet and @Bonsai Nut. I clipped of the spent blooms and a couple remaining buds and fertilized. The nursery can was indeed a mass of matted roots. I sawed off about half, and did a few pie wedges to the remaining roots, cut it back and put it into the deepest pot I have. This was 10 days ago, and it is starting to pop a couple new buds on the trunk. azalea.jpg
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom