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.
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.
I’ve posted about this before, but it’s a good time to share it again. Kurume azaleas have 3 flowers per bud, which can look congested if they are all allowed to open.
In the spring, as the flower buds open (when I have time) I like to reduce each set of 3 flowers down to a single flower per bud. Like this:
On a branch, it looks like this:
And on the tree overall, it goes from this:
It basically means two peak blooming periods, with the second one being much more even. Like this: