Does anyone have experience with Satsuki azaleas? I was looking for a pretty variegated bloom, of white and pink, and saw pictures of two varieties I loved the looks of -- Tama no Hada, and Zozan no homare. Are these as exotic as they sound?! Expensive and hard to find? :(
You will not find azaleas for sale this time of the year in Fort Worth, NLaw, let alone Satsukis. Instead, you will need to go to North Haven Gardens or Nicholson-Hardie in Dallas (or mail order). These two nurseries carry the best inventory of azaleas in March/April, including a limited inventory of Satsukis such as the Gumpo Series. This time of the year, NHG will probably have a larger inventory of the two. Go to their azalea-only greenhouse on the back.. west side of the property. You may have to special order Tama-no-hada with them or you could also request the same from Calloway's or any local nursery that sells Monrovia products (this is a wholeseller who sells Tama-no-hada). I am not familiar with Zozan so I cannot comment. Suzu-no-homare is used a lot in bonsai arrangements and is very expensive, over $200 (but in bonsai form).
Be advised that azaleas in most areas of Fort Worth will require that you plant them in raised beds. The clayish and the limey soils found in Tarrant County are simply too hard for the tiny fibruous azalea/rhododendron roots to drill through so the shrubs will decay after a year or so if planted on the ground. The soil alkalinity is another problem but iron chelated compounds (or garden sulphur) will fix that. Use of well mulched (about 3-4" of mulch) raised beds filled with acidic soil will solve all the problems. Select a place that gets shade starting around 11am or 12pm to prevent sunscald (the earlier, the better).
thanks for your help with the sources. I am just in the planning and choosing stage of my project, so I will have plenty of time to special order them. I'm very glad to know that Tama no hada is carried by the places you mentioned.
I have grown azaleas before without a problem-- We stick to the required program! I've only had very common varieties though, and I didn't know if the Satzukis were different in any of their requirements.
Great then. I will only add to check out the hardiness of these two varieties while you are looking for nurseries that carry them. Some Satsukis are not too hardy and suffer when you get slightly below freezing.