A nice young starter Azalea from a new batch that have just landed in the garden. We have a few different types available. This one is (Kobai)
These trees stands between 40 and 50cm tall including the pot. The pot measures 15.5x8cm.
genus is massive and includes anything between 500-900 species
depending on which authority you consider. Some species are so
similar to others that they are listed as subspecies rather than
distinct species in their own right, others are established hybrids
(such as Kurume and Satsuki) that are sometimes regarded as species
in their own right.
Rhododendrons are deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs from
Australasia, N America, SW China, Tibet, Burma, N India and New
Guinea. They occur in many diverse habits, from dense forest to
alpine tundra, and from sea-level to high altitude. They vary
greatly in habit, some can reach heights of 25 metres whilst others
creep at ground-level to form prostrate shrubs.
All Rhododendron and Azalea species have lance-shaped mid- to
dark-green leaves ranging in size from 4mm to 75 cm long. They
are mainly grown as bonsai for their spectacular flowers that
are usually borne singly or in clusters in Spring (there are also
a number of species that flower in Autumn/Winter and Summer)
Flowers can vary greatly in size and shape across the genus but
all are usually 5-lobed and often marked with flares and spots
on the inside.
In terms of bonsai, it is small-leaved species that are suitable;
these tend to be Azaleas though there is no botanical difference
between Azaleas and Rhododendrons and confusingly, there are a
number of small-leaved Rhododendrons that are not classed as Azalea.
The two principal Azalea species that are used for bonsai are
Satsuki azaleas and Kurume azaleas though there are many other
Azalea species and hybrids that are suitable and these should
not be discounted as potential bonsai material. All Rhododendron
species have the ability to withstand root pruning and all will
back-bud with ease.
Satsuki hybrids are Japanese-raised Azaleas bred using mainly
R. indicum and R.simsii. Satsuki azaleas display a wide variety
of flower colours and size, in Japan there are two or three different
periodicals wholly devoted to their care and some enthusiasts
will grow them exclusively.
Less hardy than most Azaleas, Satsuki have an excellent low, twiggy
habit and bear funnel shaped, unscented flowers in whites,pinks,
reds and purples in Summer (not Spring as is typical with many
Kurume hybrids are Japanese-raised Azaleas originating from crosses
between R. kaempferi (which were originally Dutch bred), R.kiusianum
and R.obtusum. Kurume hybrids are hardier than Satsukis and produce
numerous, very small, funnel shaped flowers in a wide range of
colours in Spring.
POSITION Rhododendrons dislike full sun and strong light can
quickly fade and ruin flowers. Place in partial shade or dappled
sunlight. During the summer months ensure that the bonsai pot
is not subjected to full sun as Azaleas/Rhododendrons need their
root systems to be kept cool. Rhododendrons have varying abilities
to withstand frost, some species are able to withstand extremely
low temperatures while others such as Satsukis are relatively
frost-tender. Frost hardiness is very much down to individual
hybrids and unless an individual specimen is known to be hardy
to a certain temperature, it is worth providing good frost protection
as soon as Winter arrives. Place under glass outside but do not
Frost damage is most likely to effect top growth as Rhododendrons
have relatively frost hardy roots. If frosts do cut back leaves
they are usually regenerated the following season.
WATERING In hard-water areas trees must be watered with rainwater
only to avoid lime deposits building up in the soil. Though not
preferable, if hard water has to be used on occasions, the pH
value of the compost can be adjusted by applying white vinegar
to water ONCE a month. Mix at a rate of 1 tablespoon to a gallon
FEEDING Feed every two weeks in Spring until flowering, do
not feed at all whilst in flower as this can result in loss of
flowers and flower buds at the expense of leaf growth. After flowering
has finished, feed once a month with a fertiliser intended for
REPOTTING Repot as soon as flowering has finished annually
or when roots fill pot. A lime-free soil mix MUST be used.
PRUNING Azaleas/Rhododendrons are basally dominant which means
they grow more strongly at the base and sides than at the top;
for this reason (unlike most other species used for bonsai) they
should be pruned much harder at the bottom and sides than the
Azaleas respond well to hard pruning and if pruned back to a stump
after flowering will bud-back prolifically (assuming good health).
This should never be carried out two years running though. For
maintenance purposes, deadhead all flowers as they fade and then
prune /pinch out secondary branches until mid-Summer.
These batch of Azalea bonsai trees are planted into a 12cm bonsai pot are around 20 to 25cm tall including the pot. The tree you see is the tree you get!
Species Guide Courtesy Of Harry Harrington
PROPAGATION From softwood cuttings in early Summer, air-layering/ground
layering in early Summer after flowering has finished.
PESTS AND DISEASES Whiteflies, scale insects, caterpillars,
aphids, mildew, budblast, rust, leaf gall, petal blight and lime-induced
chlorosis (if soil not acidic enough). Never spray open flowers
with insecticides or fungicides as this will cause them to wilt
STYLING Suitable for all forms except formal broom in all
sizes. Small-leaved and small-flowered varieties are preferred
for smaller sizes. Generally, the larger the flower size the larger
the tree needs to be.
Azaleas flower prolifically and the tree itself can become completely
obscured, many enthusiasts remove pockets of buds around the tree
to allow areas of fresh green leaves to be seen as a relief from
the mass of colour.