YYou are now the owner of a healthy plant. Your help is needed, however, to keep it alive. Please follow the instructions below carefully. Note especially the insect control instructions.
Azalea Bonsai may be grown either indoors or outdoors. If indoor, place in a well-lighted area with two or more hours of filtered sun. If outdoors, place in the shade. For best results move the indoor bonsai outside occasionally-but not during severely hot or cold (below 38 F) weather. During winter months, when house interior air tends to be dry, mist the bonsai daily to increase the humidity.
Azalea Bonsai require frequent watering. Check soil with finger to determine if water is needed. Water only if soil feels dry to the touch. To water, place in a pan of water and soak for an hour or two until the soil feels moist. If the pan is not deep enough to cover the soil, spray the soil with water to avoid buildup of salts and minerals on the soil surface. Never use water that has been treated by a water softener.
If the tree gets too dry or excessive salts build up on the soil surface, submerge the entire pot in water to insure thorough watering and washing out of salts.
Azalea bonsai are susceptible to aphid and spider mites. Check often for them on the new growth and on the undersides of the leaves. If insects are present, spray with a household plant insecticide/miticide or Insecticidal soap following label instructions.
The plant should be fertilized every six weeks between spring and mid-summer, using houseplant food for flowering plants at half strength. If the leaves become chlorotic (yellow with green veins) use an acid type fertilizer, which contains micronutrients, especially iron (e.g. Peter's brand or Miracle-Gro for house plants).
A fundamental principle in developing dwarf trees is that the tree branches should be pruned to conform to the limited space available for root growth. To prune, pinch out ends of new growth that occurs after the blooming season. Don't prune after July or you'll pinch off the new buds that would develop into blossoms. If heavier pruning is required, do it after your azalea finishes blooming.
Every other spring (March-May) your bonsai will need its roots pruned. Gently remove the plant from the pot and carefully remove some of the soil around the sides and bottom of the root ball.
Cut off one-third of the roots all the way around and up from the bottom. Place fresh, porous soil in the pot (a houseplant soil mix is suitable) and replant the bonsai. After potting, mist the plant with water and soak it in a solution of water and Superthrive or other Vitamin B-1 transplant shock treatment.
Plant material, such as this product, should not be eaten. While most plants are harmless, some contain toxins.