Satsuki Azalea – ‘higari’ – care after flowering (english)
‘Higari’ or care after flowering, follows blooming, usually around May and June. Full ‘Higari’ process includes 3 steps:
1. Removal of blooms – to prevent produce of seeds – undesired expenditure of energy
2. Pruning by leaving 2 shoots with 2 leafs each to allow sunlight to reach inner branches
3. Post prune wiring
All I am going to do this year with my Satsuki is to remove its flowers. I have pruned it hard last year and I don’t want to stress it too much this year.
The literature says you should remove all the Azalea flowers and even unopened buds when about 80% of flower buds had opened. This timing is recommended to cause all the buds for next year to be formed at about the same time. Please note that not all the Satsuki Azalea growers follow this method!
I have to say it does work with my Satsuki although I usually deflower it when I start to see some ageing flowers. What you missing applying this method is viewing the tree in its full bloom.
You should remove all the flowers (even unopened) and their pistils / stalks right at their bases. There seeds would be produced, draining the energy from a bonsai tree.
Work in progress……
Job is done. Now I will rewire some of the branches and wait until next spring for a glory of the tree in its full bloom
Below: Note the difference in bloom colour within the same tree
Below: The same tree in 2009