Rhododendron ( Sakuragata Satsuki Hybrid Azalea )

The Satsuki Japanese azaleas are believed to have originated several hundred years ago from natural crosses between R. indicum and R. tamarae. (R. tamarae was formerly known as R. eriocarpum and before that as R. simsii var. eriocarpum.) Later, horticulturists continued the crosses between these two species as well as others. Compact, low-growing, evergreen shrub that is twiggy and dense with a spreading to rounded form. The small leaves (1/2 to 2 inches long) vary widely in shape, usually lance-shaped to elliptic. Flowers, often multicolored in various patterns, are borne from May to June and also vary in size (from less than one to more than five inches) and shape. Satsukis are the most popular azaleas in Japan, especially for bonsai culture. In the garden, this is a front of the border shrub because of its lower height–perfect for the smaller garden. Prune immediately after flowering. 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. Plant as you would any of the other azaleas: high and in well-drained, acidic soil, rich with organic matter. 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.