Satsuki Azalea, Wakaebisu

Satsuki Azalea “Wakaebisu” is one of my favorites. The English translation of Wakaebisu is said to be “young goddess” and I think the name is fitting, for the flowers are beautiful, like a goddess, and also hose in a hose (think one flower inside another) with a lovely shade of pinkish orange with a light -yellow center.

I like to call them a tank, because as far as satsukis go, waka is very tough. It grows like a weed in our hot summers, can take a hard pruning on the chin, not fussy about root work, and cuttings root easily. Add those pretty pink flowers and what’s not to love, right?

I got this particular one early on in my bonsai quest and my azalea fever. It would be a lot further along if I would have had more knowledge and the fact that it is still alive today is more a testament to how tough it is than my skills at horticulture. I purchased it in a one-gallon pot at Lowes or Home Depot, I don’t remember which, around 2008, I think. Back when most of the plants that those two box stores only had one cutting struck in a pot, unlike today, where there are three or four in each one. I wish I had bought more, but this one had (to me) the most interesting trunk.
In the early days, I was not very good about documenting my progress with photos. I don’t have a photo of it as it looked when I purchased it or of how it came to be in the cut-down nursery pot. The earliest pictures that I have of it are from 2011:

2011

2011

Looking at it, there really wasn’t much to it then, kinda gangly and sparse.  Not much changed the following year either, take a look at 2012:

2012

2012

2012

2013 came around and I finally got a decent showing of flowers in May:
After looking around on the ‘net, talking to some fellow club members, and reading some books at the library, I came up with a post bloom plan.  I removed all of the flowers as they were fading:
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