The Q&A Archives: Bloom color of Kinpai Azalea

Question: I have a bed of Kinpai Azalea. They were planted two years ago under a live oak and are munched with pine straw. The azalea are growing well. This spring the bloom color was mostly light coral with little variation. Is there any way to encourage the origanal two toned bloom? Thanks.

Answer: I'd check the soil pH to make sure it's acidic enough for this plant to flourish. Kinpai Satsuki Azalea is a compact, low-growing, evergreen shrub that is twiggy and dense with a spreading to rounded form. The leaves are lance-shaped to elliptic and notably smaller, 1/2 to 2 inches long, than other azalea hybrids making it the wonderful bonzai plant that it was originally bred to be. Showy, funnel-shaped, reddish-orange flowers with white throats, 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Flowers are borne from May to June. Prune immediately after flowering so you won't cut off any of next year's flower buds. Plant as you would any of the other azaleas: high and in well-drained, acidic soil, rich with organic matter. This is a front of the border azalea because of its lower height. Perfect for the smaller garden. Satsukis seem to be able to handle a little more sunlight than most azaleas, but this does not mean "hot" sun. Filtered light is still best. This Japanese azalea is a hybridization between Rhododendron indicum and Rhododendron simsii. Though azaleas have a potentially large list of possible pest and disease problems, they are usually trouble free if planted correctly in proper cultural conditions.

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