Satsuki Azalea Turning Brown in Winter...Not Sure What to Do

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Hi! I'm new to bonsai care. I live in Ohio and I'm not sure whether my plant is suffering due to winter dormancy, overwatering, underwatering, or what. I will post pictures, but most leaves are brown. Up until a few weeks ago, I would constantly see new dead leaves that have fallen to the soil. However, this has stopped, and the leaves are just turning brown. Despite this, there are still a few sprouts of bright green that seem to be healthy scattered throughout the plant (not just small sprouts, large vibrant leaves). There is even a newly sprouting stem coming from the soil that is bright green. Does anyone have any advice? I have a grow light since the sun hasn't been too plentiful in the winter months and I water the plant every few days when the soil feels like it is nearly completely dry. I water it until water drips from the holes underneath the pot. What do you think the problem is? Any help is appreciated. Thank you all!
 

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just.wing.it

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Azaleas will drop many, but not all they're leaves while going dormant.
They'll also turn dark colors in winter...it may just be winter color.
Also it should not be kept indoors.
 

just.wing.it

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It may be sprouting new shoots if you brought it in and put it under lights.
Mine stay in a relatively dark garage all winter, staying just below 40 degrees F.
 

Rabe

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I have three groing in my garden and they will turn yellow, red, brown late autumn. Some leaves drop, some stay green.
 

just.wing.it

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I have three groing in my garden and they will turn yellow, red, brown late autumn. Some leaves drop, some stay green.
It seems that if the flowers are white to light pink the fall/winter color is usually reds and yellows.
But if its a darker red or purple flower the fall/winter color is darker like purple...which is what I see in the pics, minus the new shoots.
 

Rabe

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It seems that if the flowers are white to light pink the fall/winter color is usually reds and yellows.
But if its a darker red or purple flower the fall/winter color is darker like purple...which is what I see in the pics, minus the new shoots.
True. My white azalea turned bright/yellow red this year. My two reds are somewhat later with leafdrop and turn yellow/brownish and don't seem to lose alot of leaves.
 
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Hi,

Is it kept outside? Or do you keep it inside?
It's kept inside. I wanted a plant that could be kept inside since my last plant was stolen from my apartment outside, but it's also generally in the low 30s now for winter so I keep in indoors all of the time now.
 
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No bueno amigo.
Might get away with it for a while, but it wants to go dormant.
Oh? The care instructions I received has it labeled as an "indoor bonsai" and said to bring it indoors during the winter months, as well as online sources. It won't be too cold outside?
 

just.wing.it

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The "Indoor Bonsai" Tag is put on many plants that are not suitable for indoors.
There are some unscrupulous people out there....
However, there are a few varieties that I've heard called "flower shop azaleas" that can be kept indoors....do you know the exact variety of yours?
If you want true indoor bonsai, you'll need tropicals....and even they like to be outside in summer.
 

Bonsaieejit

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Yeah it needs to go outside. I read Jonas' blog last week about Azeleas changing colors he says they do t have enough minerals that they need and can be fertilized with a no nitrogen fertilizer. I have kbloom 0/10/10 liquid put it on mine just to see if it helps
 

Rabe

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Yeah it needs to go outside. I read Jonas' blog last week about Azeleas changing colors he says they do t have enough minerals that they need and can be fertilized with a no nitrogen fertilizer. I have kbloom 0/10/10 liquid put it on mine just to see if it helps
I always thought of the fall colors as a nice enhancement of the garden. I have some 0/10/10 in my shed. Going to try it next year.
 
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The "Indoor Bonsai" Tag is put on many plants that are not suitable for indoors.
There are some unscrupulous people out there....
However, there are a few varieties that I've heard called "flower shop azaleas" that can be kept indoors....do you know the exact variety of yours?
If you want true indoor bonsai, you'll need tropicals....and even they like to be outside in summer.
The "Indoor Bonsai" Tag is put on many plants that are not suitable for indoors.
There are some unscrupulous people out there....
However, there are a few varieties that I've heard called "flower shop azaleas" that can be kept indoors....do you know the exact variety of yours?
If you want true indoor bonsai, you'll need tropicals....and even they like to be outside in summer.
I purchased it from Eastern Leaf and this is the page that described it. I don't think it's a flower shop one like you mentioned.
 

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just.wing.it

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That said, that cultivar would never survive an Ohio's winter outdoors. ? I recall Grimmy saying some of his wintered indoors. (((Shrugs))) sad he's not here to share his opinion. ? Miss you Grimmy.
View attachment 221824
Indeed.
I left my satsuki out in a freeze last year, thought I killed it....it came back....
But I think winter protection is required, like a shed, or unheated structure of some kind.... Especially seeing the dormant colors on this one. It looks like it was fully dormant, then brought in and now its confused, pushing new growth.

(Edit: shout out to Grimmy! ^^^)
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Do you have a cool basement window, or garage that doesn’t drop much below freezing? That’s probably the best option at this point. Let it get cool and go dormant, keep the humidity high (set it in a bed of mulch perhaps), but don’t let the soil stay soggy.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@ChildishGrahambino
I have wintered azalea indoors through the winter, one in particular I kept indoors in winter for over 10 years. It certainly can be done. I've done it.

Azalea are a problem, because some are very winter hardy, and some are nearly tropical. Darlene (Cadillac Taste) gave you the key information. Rhododendron 'Apple Blossom' is only hardy to +10 F. There is no place in Ohio that temperatures will stay above +10 all winter. Therefore, you need to protect this azalea from Ohio winter cold. Because it states that it can rebloom in fall, this is likely a ''florists azalea'' or a hybrid between a Satsuki and one of the more subtropical or tropical azalea like R. simsii.

Do you have it on a windowsill? If the window is large, there will always be cool air flowing down from the cold outside chilling the glass. Azalea do not need as drastic a cool winter as typical Ohio native trees, if the temperatures get down into the 50's F at night that is plenty cool to get a good dormancy and bloom the next year. Do not put your 'Apple Blossom' outside in Ohio. A sunny south window, or a east window would be ideal, a large north or west window can work in a pinch. It sounds like you have watering under control. As to fertilizer, over the winter, this first year, you probably don't need any. Most likely the wholesaler has a time release fertilizer in the potting mix. The plant should be good until spring. Start fertilizing after it blooms in spring.

Since you are in an apartment, setting up your grow light to supplement the light through the window is a good idea. Look at different options to optimize your light set up. Visit your local ''grow shop'' and see what the marijuana growers are doing. They always have the latest and greatest in high tech lighting. They have the money to develop it. Azalea needs about 50% to 75% of the light intensity of marijuana, so you don't have to go top of the line. Definitely look into LED set ups. If you have well designed light set up, you can do reasonably well even keeping the azalea indoors year round.

Another flowering tree that does well indoors for winter & outdoors for summer, or if the light is good, indoors year round is Gardenia. I love the fragrance of the flowers.

Much better indoor trees would be any of the Ficus species. These will do fine on a windowsill or under lights year round.
 

just.wing.it

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@ChildishGrahambino
I have wintered azalea indoors through the winter, one in particular I kept indoors in winter for over 10 years. It certainly can be done. I've done it.

Azalea are a problem, because some are very winter hardy, and some are nearly tropical. Darlene (Cadillac Taste) gave you the key information. Rhododendron 'Apple Blossom' is only hardy to +10 F. There is no place in Ohio that temperatures will stay above +10 all winter. Therefore, you need to protect this azalea from Ohio winter cold. Because it states that it can rebloom in fall, this is likely a ''florists azalea'' or a hybrid between a Satsuki and one of the more subtropical or tropical azalea like R. simsii.

Do you have it on a windowsill? If the window is large, there will always be cool air flowing down from the cold outside chilling the glass. Azalea do not need as drastic a cool winter as typical Ohio native trees, if the temperatures get down into the 50's F at night that is plenty cool to get a good dormancy and bloom the next year. Do not put your 'Apple Blossom' outside in Ohio. A sunny south window, or a east window would be ideal, a large north or west window can work in a pinch. It sounds like you have watering under control. As to fertilizer, over the winter, this first year, you probably don't need any. Most likely the wholesaler has a time release fertilizer in the potting mix. The plant should be good until spring. Start fertilizing after it blooms in spring.

Since you are in an apartment, setting up your grow light to supplement the light through the window is a good idea. Look at different options to optimize your light set up. Visit your local ''grow shop'' and see what the marijuana growers are doing. They always have the latest and greatest in high tech lighting. They have the money to develop it. Azalea needs about 50% to 75% of the light intensity of marijuana, so you don't have to go top of the line. Definitely look into LED set ups. If you have well designed light set up, you can do reasonably well even keeping the azalea indoors year round.

Another flowering tree that does well indoors for winter & outdoors for summer, or if the light is good, indoors year round is Gardenia. I love the fragrance of the flowers.

Much better indoor trees would be any of the Ficus species. These will do fine on a windowsill or under lights year round.
You da man Leo!
 
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