How to care for an indoor azalea plant

Written by tanya khan
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How to care for an indoor azalea plant
Brighten your environment with an indoor azalea plant. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A tender version of the hardier, outdoor azalea plant, an indoor azalea decorates the interior space with attractive flowers and foliage. Featuring a neatly rounded shape, azalea houseplants are hybrids cultivated in greenhouses. Growing 18 to 20 inches tall, the well-branched plant bears attractive blooms in late spring and continues to enliven a space until late summer if maintained properly. Give the azalea plant the care and attention it deserves.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Watering can
  • Saucer
  • Bucket (optional)
  • Pruning scissors
  • Water-soluble fertiliser
  • Large pot
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Potting soil

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  1. 1

    Place the potted azalea during its bloom period in a spot exposed to indirect, bright light with daytime temperatures at 12.8 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures between 10 and 12.8 degrees Celsius. After the azalea finishes blooming, move it to a spot exposed to indirect morning light and avoid the strong midday light. Protect the potted plant from sudden drafts and winds that cause leaf and bud drop.

  2. 2

    Water the plant regularly so the soil remains evenly moist. Provide a steady stream of water to the plant when the soil surface begins to feel dry to the touch, until the excess comes out through the drainage holes at the base of the pot. You can place a saucer under the pot to collect excess water. Alternatively, submerge the potted azalea in a bucket of water until bubbles stop rising. Let excess water drain out of the pot before returning it to its selected spot.

  3. 3

    Remove spent blooms to prevent the spread of disease and to prolong flowering. Also, collect blooms from around the base of the plant and discard.

  4. 4

    Feed the indoor azalea plant a complete, water-soluble fertiliser or one specifically formulated for acid-loving plants every two weeks after the bloom period until new buds develop. Do not fertilise the plant when it is blooming.

  5. 5

    Transplant the potted azalea to a larger pot every two years to allow the roots space to spread and grow. Fill a new pot a size bigger than the previous one with peat moss, perlite and potting soil in a 2:1:1 ratio. Loosen pot-bound roots gently with your fingers, and snip damaged or dried roots before planting in the new pot.

Tips and warnings

  • Position the potted azalea to receive at least four hours of indirect sunlight daily while it is blooming.
  • Because indoor azaleas require low night temperatures, place the plant on a covered porch or cool entrance during the night.
  • Leaving an azalea houseplant to dry causes it to drop its leaves and eventually die.

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