Satsuki Azalea, ‘Kinsai’ cleanup…x2

As the show winds down, from this (May 2018):

To this:

It’s time to remove the flowers, pruning to remove the branches sporting the fat-petal flowers while it’s still easy to tell which are which.

Then trim it back:

And lightly wire:

A few weeks later and it’s filling out nicely.

Fast-Forward to April 2019, nearly a full year later. The tree is growing well and within a month of flowering. I’m debating about the front, and have been toying with this front, which gives the appearance of a cascading first branch. If I go with this front, I’ll re-orient the tree in its pot to center it and keep the exposed roots upright and not leaning. I like the widening canopy as well.

Here is the tree in bloom, 2019:

And in our club show, just a little past peak blooming:

And over Memorial Day Weekend 2019, I had a chance to clean it up again. From this:

To this, with a rough trimming to start:

Finally, flowers removed, and more pruning done. Here is the final result:

Satsuki Azalea, ‘Kinsai’

The bright red, strap like flowers make this a unique and beautiful cultivar. However, as a hybrid cultivar, they have a few foibles. Do you see a flower that looks a bit out of place?

They tend to throw a sport, reverting to the “mother plant” with a full-petaled flower here and there, which will become the dominant flower if left unchecked.

See it now?

When the tree is in full bloom, it’s easy to find the big flowers…

And remove them back to the point where the thin petaled flowers grow.

The following year, the large flowers were fewer:

Next week we’ll look at cleanup after the show, two years in a row.

Kurume Azalea bud removing part 2

Following the bud removal demonstrated in last week’s post, this is the tree in full bloom. Notice how the flowers have space to open and aren’t crowded into clusters of 3?

Blooming season was extended another full week, which is a treat for such a fleeting thing.

However, all good things end, and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s easier to remove the blooms while they’re still fresh, than to wait until they get slimy, or worse, wait until they get crispy. So, here we go…

The next step is to scrape off the top 1/2″ or so of the old soil, and add some fertilizer, and top it off with fresh soil. This pot is full of oxalis weed, and it’s a constant battle to stay in top of it.