Lulstraat 3, 9770 Kruishoutem
AZALEA INDICA - INDOOR AZALEA
Today's indoor azalea is derived from Rh. simsii, which
originates in China, primarily in the Sichuan, Yunnan, Hubei and
plant was mentioned in Chinese literature as early as 1578, and the
first Rhododendron simsii was brought from China to England by Captain
Welbank in 1806.
Other varieties which are at the basis of today's pot azaleas include:
Rhododendron indicum sweet, also called satsuki, originating from the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Yakushima.
This variety's name has no connection with its origins, but is derived from the fact that it was introduced by the Dutch to the Netherlands via the Dutch East Indies in around 1680.
The satsuki azaleas were used primarily by the Japanese for breeding (i.e. creating new varieties) on account of their property of having different colours in a single flower. White flowers with red, pink or purple stripes or spots. In Europe they were trying to avoid precisely these characteristics, but fashions change and it now looks lovely in the living room .
Rhododendron scabrum can be found on the island of Ryukyu in the Pacific Ocean.
It was mainly used in breeding, for its large flowers and often also its soft fragrance and vigorous growth.
Rhododendron mucronatom is very common in Japanese and Chinese gardens, and was first introduced in Belgium around 1825. The white flowers have a light fragrance and are very hardy.
The first azaleas in Europe all flowered quite late, i.e. from March to June, but by means of crosses, selection and appropriate cultivation conditions, it has been possible to create varieties that are in bloom almost all year round.
While the first azaleas only flowered for a couple of weeks, most contemporary varieties can be kept for 5 to 7 weeks indoors; as a breeder, one's goal is always to improve or extend the range.