My first azalea

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My first azalea

Post  ev.sergey on Thu May 02, 2013 6:51 am

Greetings.
I'm sorry, but I unfortunately do not know English, so I translate with Google translator. I do not have long bought azalea bush, and it comes at a time of flowering. I want to ask whether this is suitable for a variety of azalea bonsai creation or leave it in the garden?
In this forum there is a lot of useful information, but I do not know, if you can splice multiple trunks in a trunk of a tree.
I would be grateful for any advice on the formation.





Regards, Sergey!

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Re: My first azalea

Post  lordy on Wed May 08, 2013 7:53 pm

This one is probably not too well suited for bonsai for 2 reasons. 1) the leaves look as though they will get too large in comparison to the trunk 2) the trunk(s) are too many and too small. You can still develop it as bonsai but unless you want to have a small tree when finished, I would plant it and let the branches and trunk gain size.
Look up SATSUKI and you will see the difference in leaf size (I hope). SATSUKI are what most people develop into bonsai.

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Re: My first azalea

Post  Marty Weiser on Thu May 09, 2013 3:23 am

I think it could be made into a nice medium sized bonsai. Yes, the leaves might be a bit large for a small (<20cm) bonsai, but they would probably work well with a 20 - 50 cm height. In the USA we are seeing a range of azalea hybrids - some of which are satsuki crosses. It could be a clump style by keeping several of the trunks - quite a few will have to be cut off. The second picture looks like there is the start of single trunk bonsai to the left of center. I have started a couple of these along the path to being a bonsai and one of the things I have found is to cut off the extra trunks over a period of a couple of years.

Я думаю, что это может быть сделано в хорошем средних бонсай. Да, листья могли бы быть немного большим для небольшой (<20 см) бонсай, но они, вероятно, хорошо работать с 20 - 50 см высотой. В США мы видим ряд гибридов азалии - некоторые из которых являются Сацуки кресты. Это может быть скопление стиле, сохраняя несколько стволов - немало придется быть обрезаны. Второе изображение будет выглядеть как есть начало одного ствола бонсай слева от центра. Я начал пару таких на пути к тому, бонсай и одна из вещей, которые я нашел это отрезать дополнительные стволы в течение пары лет. Разве я выбрать правильный язык для перевода?


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Re: My first azalea

Post  ev.sergey on Thu May 09, 2013 1:12 pm

Thank you for the valuable advice. I also think that this can be done in a good medium bonsai. Rolling Eyes

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Re: My first azalea

Post  Marty Weiser on Fri May 10, 2013 3:45 am

I also found that the use of kanuma as part of the soil (I use about 1/3 - 1/2) seems to help in my less than optimal growing area. Our summers are rather dry for azalea and the water is a little bit alkaline (pH > 7). Azaleas and similar trees tend to like a more acidic soil (pH < 7) and kanuma seems to encourage that. It is probably not essential and is generally expensive, but it seems to help me. I tried several azaleas in Albuquerque (hotter, drier, and higher water pH) and lost them all so I am glad to have some success in a slightly more conducive climate.

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Re: My first azalea

Post  fiona on Fri May 10, 2013 8:23 am

Just to show what can be done, I bought a few similar garden centre azaleas some years ago and let them grow in the open ground. I lifted one out and put it in a training pot a couple of years ago. In the intervening time I have been working to reduce the height (it was about 60cm when I dug it up) and although there is still a long way to go, I am happy that things are going in the right direction.

Here is how it looks this week:



I left the multiple trunks to give me options and my current thinking is I will keep them and develop the pads at different levels. A lot of bonsai azaleas over here are just all one height and I don't like that.

As I said, it has a long way to go still but it is on course. But please also note that to get from its initial size (pretty much the same as what you have) to this took nine or ten years in the ground and two in a training pot.

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Re: My first azalea

Post  Glaucus on Thu May 23, 2013 7:41 pm

Satsuki are the azalea of choice for the Japanese because of flowers, not because of plant habit. Satsuki were developed by flower/azalea hobbyists.

It's true that this azalea also isn't suitable. It has very large flowers and leaves. I have this cultivar myself. It has very attractive big leaves. It has red flowers that just aren't quite red enough. Always hard to breed flowers with perfect red. This one, like many, is just a bit off.

I think this is a good landscape cultivar for upright big flowered okish red flowers. The foliage of this plant is quite attractive. It has nice colours when green in spring/summer and it turns very bronzeish in autumn.


As with almost all landscape azaleas, they are very multitrunked like this one. This is a challenge for beginners. It makes you have to think out of the box and away from traditional bonsai for it to read optimal quality.
It's not fair to judge landscape grown azaleas with satsuki that were trained to be bonsai from day 1. Many a satsuki will grow wider than it is tall if it is not pruned. So the comparison isn't fair and doesn't tell you how they compare in plant habit.

Many satsuki have flowers big or just as big as this 'Johanna'. If you want small leaves and small flowers, non-satsuki are better than satsuki. When satsuki became a more popular bonsai subject, smaller flowering varieties actually had to be developed. Partially by selecting and breeding with the few known small-flowering satsuki and partly by bringing in genes from other evergreen azalea species.


Splitting the trunks into multiple trees is going to be risky. Sometimes when you buy an azalea it is actually many cuttings of the same cultivar in 1 pot. Here this does not seem the case. The trunks seem to fuse just at the soil line. This creates a lot of reverse taper. So that makes it a bad individual for bonsai.


So yes, maybe you want to keep this one as a garden plant.

When looking at normal nurseries for azalea suitable for bonsai, usually it is best to look just at the trunks and ignore cultivar. Better to have a trunk with potential of a less desirable cultivar.
But cultivar-wise, I think high R.kaempferi and R.simsii genes are bad, R.indicum, R.nakaharae and R.kiusianum genes are good.

There are many small flower dwarf varieties that have a little R.kaempferi and a lot of R.kiusianum in Europe. The rare satsuki in Europe are big flowered.

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Re: My first azalea

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