AZALEA garden
 Lulstraat 3, 9770 Kruishoutem

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Azalea indica

Azalea japonica

 Rhododendron vireya

 Deciduous azalea

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  Azalea indica

 

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AZALEA INDICA   - INDOOR AZALEA

 

Today's indoor azalea is derived from Rh. simsii, which originates in China, primarily in the Sichuan, Yunnan, Hubei and Guangdong provinces.
Rh. simsii grows on mountain slopes at an altitude of between 1,000 and 2,600 m, forming undergrowth which is used by the local people as firewood. The subsoil is limestone covered with a layer of humus in which the azaleas grow.

This 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.
According to Dr H. Scheerlinck (1938), the R. simsii was exhibited for the first time in Ghent in 1819.

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.