Satsuki Azaleas

By Trevor McComb

Bonsai Art Nursery

Satsuki azaleas are increasingly popular among western Bonsai enthusiasts. If you fulfill their special needs (never let them dry out, water with rain water, use special soil and fertilizer) they are very easy to care for and delight their owners with beautiful flowers every year.

Excerpt from Bonsai Empire

Care and maintenance

  • Azaleas have a lot of growth from base of tree.

  • Let surface dry out and then give thorough watering (feel the surface).

  • Suitable for many different styles. Cascades, root over tock, formal, forest.

  • Can be taken indoors for 3-4 weeks while blooming.

  • Dunk in water while indoors once a week.

  • Be careful wiring in late Winter as branches can be very brittle.


  • Never cut the top too hard. Cut base branches hard.

  • Prune all year and especially after blooming has finished.

  • Maybe stop pruning in March as flower buds will be set by then.

  • After flowering finished, nip out flower bases/ovaries so that next year's flowering will be good.

  • Can reshoot anywhere along trunk.  Allow to grow to desired height


  • Can be repotted very early Spring before flowering or after flowering.

  • Put medium stones in bottom of pot and ensure plenty of drainage holes.

  • Grow in ground for a few years to really develop root system.

  • Keep in small pot so they don't get too wet.

  • Enjoy being a little bit pot bound.


  • Prefer slightly acidic soil. Must be well drained and have fibrous roots.

  • Only use Azalea food (slow release Nutricote in soil).

  • For additional flowering use higher potassium fertiliser, potash.


  • Azalea lace bug with peppery effect underneath

  • Can be difficult to get rid off

  • Use Confidor

Nicole DentonAzalea