How to Grow Rhododendron Indicum | Growing Southern Indian Azalea

Rhododendron Indicum is a beautiful flowering plant that is a must-have in your garden! Let’s have a look at how to grow it.

Rhododendron Indicum

Rhododendron Indicum is a species of flowering evergreen shrub that requires minimum attention and maintenance. This article provides step-by-step instructions for successfully growing Southern Indian Azalea in India.

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Rhododendron Indicum Information

Rhododendron Indicum, also known as the Indian Azalea, is a species of evergreen shrub in the family Ericaceae. It is a species of evergreen shrub native to the Himalayas, South India, and Southeast Asia. The plant is used for landscaping and is one of the most beautiful and colorful flowering plants in existence.

It typically grows to a height of 2-4 feet, with a spread of 3-5 feet. It has small, glossy, dark green leaves and produces clusters of small, funnel-shaped flowers in shades of pink, white, red, and purple. The flowers bloom in mid-spring to early summer.

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How to Propagate Rhododendron Indicum?


Rhododendron Indicum can be propagated by several methods, including seed propagation, layering, and stem cuttings. 

  • Seed propagation: It can be propagated from seeds, but it is a slower process and requires patience. To do this, collect the seed pods after the flowers have faded and dried out. Sow the seeds in a well-drained potting mix and keep them moist. However, it can take several months for the seeds to germinate, so be patient. 
  • Layering: This method involves bending a low-growing branch of the plant and pinning it to the ground with a U-shaped wire. After the branch has developed roots, it can be cut off from the parent plant and planted in a new location. 
  • Stem cuttings: This is the most common method for propagating Rhododendron Indicum. Firstly, take stem cuttings from the parent plant in the late summer or early fall when the plant is in a state of active growth. Secondly, choose a stem that is approximately 4-6 inches long and has several sets of leaves. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle just below a node (where a leaf attaches to the stem). Remove the lower leaves from the stem and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. Lastly, plant the stem in a well-drained potting mix and keep it moist. It can take several weeks for the stem to develop roots. 

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Requirements to Grow Rhododendron Indicum

Rhododendron Indicum 2


In order to successfully grow Rhododendron Indicum, the plant should be exposed to plenty of sunlight, meaning it should receive at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.

Without adequate sunlight, Rhododendron Indicum will not flower and may struggle to thrive. 


The soil should be acidic, rich in organic matter, and well-draining, with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. While growing Rhododendron Indicum, mulching is recommended to help conserve soil moisture and keep the roots cool.

Compost or leaf mold can be added to the soil to improve its structure and provide additional nutrients. 


In India, Rhododendron Indicum requires a minimum of 2 inches of water per week in order to grow properly. The best method to follow is to water the plant every time the topsoil feels a little dry to the touch. Do not water the plant on a daily basis.

During the hot summer months, water Rhododendron Indicum a little more frequently to ensure the growing medium is not drying out completely. 


The ideal temperature range for Rhododendron Indicum is between 14-26°C. Temperatures lower than 10°C (50°F) and higher than 26°C (77°F) can be detrimental to health and growth.

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Rhododendron Indicum Care


Choose a fertilizer that is balanced and formulated specifically for acid-loving plants such as Rhododendron Indicum. A balanced liquid fertlizer, like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, is perfect. Use it once in 5-7 weeks after diluting it to 1/2 of its strength.

Over-fertilizing can damage the plant and result in poor growth and reduced blooming. Additionally, it also requires micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, as well as sulfur. You can provide these micronutrients by adding Epsom salt to the soil. 


Prune Rhododendron Indicum after blooming, typically in the late spring or early summer. This will allow the plant to set buds for the following season. By removing dead or damaged wood and shaping the plant, you can encourage healthy growth and vibrant blooms. 

Pest and Diseases

Rhododendron lace bugs and Spider mites can cause white speckling on leaves and can weaken the plant over time. To prevent infestation, spray the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Thrips are small insects that can cause distorted growth and brown spots on leaves. To prevent infestation, keep the area around the plant free of weeds and debris and avoid over-fertilizing. 

Phytophthora root rot and Leaf spot is a disease that causes wilting, yellowing, and death of leaves and can lead to plant death. Powdery mildew causes a white powdery coating on leaves and can weaken the plant. To prevent this disease, ensure the plant is planted in a location with good air circulation and avoid over-fertilizing and over-watering. 

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