I’ve seen satsuki bloom in most months of the year, but they’re most likely to bloom around May. This is natural as the name satsuki (and old phrase for “fifth month”) refers to the month in which they bloom. Why, then, did my azalea’s single flower catch my attention today? Because I’d previously removed most of the other flower buds – this was one I’d missed.
I’ve been removing the flower buds in winter to divert more of the tree’s energy into producing foliage. I can either enjoy the flowers or get great spring growth – I can’t have both. As I’d like to speed along this tree’s development, I’ve been removing most of the buds.
Looking closer at the tree, I found a few others I’d missed. I removed them by gently bending the buds until they came loose.
Securing the stem below the bud
Bending the bud until it breaks away
Azalea flower buds and Spring shoots emerge from the same place. I work carefully when removing the buds this time of year to avoid breaking the tender new shoots.
Bud with new shoots
It’s ok to remove buds that have started to open, but at this point I usually leave them alone so I can enjoy the color.
Deep pink flower with light and dark green foliage
Once the majority of the flowers have bloomed, I remove them with fingers or scissors. I usually do this before the petals fall away as they have in the photo below.
After the petals fade away – stigma, style, and ovary revealed
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