Growing Azalea (Topiary & Rozalea Houseplants)

Light: Place your potted Azalea where it will receive 6–8 hours of sun in winter (a spot next to a south-facing window is best). From April to September, provide 4–5 hours of sun (such as an east-facing window, which will give sufficient light and has cooler afternoon temperatures than a west-facing window does).

Watering: Keep the potting mix moist, but do not allow the pot to sit in water for more than an hour. Care should be taken to avoid letting the potting mix dry out completely—the plants may not recover if allowed to wilt. The simplest way to water is to bring the pot to a kitchen sink and then water thoroughly until the excess drains from the bottom of the pot. It's time to water your Azalea again when the top ½" of the potting mix feels dry to the touch.

Temperature: Azaleas prefer an indoor temperature from 55-70°F.

Fertilizer: We recommend that you fertilize potted plants every 2–4 weeks during the growing season (generally April into September) and that you withhold fertilizer entirely during fall and winter, when most plants rest. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer designed for houseplants (such as 20-20-20, available at garden centers) mixed at 1/2 the rate suggested by the manufacturer.

After care: Remove spent blossoms as they fade to keep plants tidy, but be careful to avoid damaging buds or new growth at the base of the blossoms. These buds are the source of future growth and flowering. Pinch new shoots back in spring to keep your plants compact.

Continuing care:  If you live in Zones 6–8, you may plant your Azalea in the ground once the danger of frost has passed in spring. Choose a site in full sun to partial shade (required in the South) with soil that is acidic (pH 4.5 to 6.0), moisture-retentive but well-drained, and rich in organic matter. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter prior to planting. After planting, we recommend applying a 2–3″ layer of organic mulch (such as compost, shredded leaves, or pine straw) to conserve moisture and supply nutrients for growth. Keep mulch an inch or so away from the stem to discourage disease. You can also repot your Azalea using a peat-moss-based potting mix. Then move it outdoors to a spot in partial shade after the danger of frost has passed. To enable it to set flower buds for the following winter, leave the plant outdoors until frost threatens, then bring it back inside.

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