Azalea Bonsai is one of the most popular bonsai in Japan, and satsuki azalea is the chosen one amongst all the cultivar groups of azalea. The name Satsuki refers to the bloom period of the plant which is in the month of May to June (in accordance with the Asian lunar calendar).
Temperature and Watering Requirements
Azalea should always be kept away from direct exposure to sunlight, especially in the spring and summer season. It could be kept in a shade or a place which gets filtered sunlight.
During the winter season the tree should be protected from cold and chilly winds, ideally the azalea bonsai should be placed under a glass house so that it gets shielded from the chilly winds of the winter season.
It is preferable to have Azalea kept in a damp soil, just damp enough to ensure that the plant is not in a drought condition.
For this you need to keep monitoring the soil and consider watering the plant whenever you find the soil to be dry. If kept dry for too long a time, the azalea bonsai could suffer serious damage.
While watering you should always try to use natural water, using chlorinated water will result in the soil loosing its acidity and this could be detrimental to the growth of the bonsai plant.
Repotting, Pruning and Fertilizing Azalea
For new azalea bonsai repotting should be carried out every year, but once the plant gets old you could consider repotting it every two or three years. While repotting ensure, that you trim the root balls and any mats that have formed in the roots. Then plant the bonsai using appropriate soil mixture. The soil mix used should not contain any small particles though, as it makes the watering of the plant difficult.
Azalea should be pruned during the late summer and wiring should be considered during the months of spring to summer.
You should be cautious while pruning the old branches as they are quite susceptible to breaking off. While carrying out the pruning activity see that you remove all the dead flowers and leaves, although this should be done as regularly as possible. Pruning should generally be carried out at the end of every flowering season
Feed Azalea with organic fertilizers, once every month except during the hottest summer months. You could also consider using chemical fertilizers; generally you should use a half strength solution of a fertilizer like Miracid. While using chemical fertilizers you should consider feeding the plant fortnightly.
Although the Azalea can be used almost for all bonsai styles it is generally used for the root-over-rock, informal upright, slanting, windswept, semi-cascade style.