Q Why has my indoor azalea withered and died?
A Leaves and flowers may fall off an azalea that has been exposed to draughts, watered erratically, or if the rootball dries out. The secret of success with azaleas is keeping the compost moist at all times. Azaleas are acid-lovers, so if you live in a hard water area, it’s a good idea to use rainwater if you can.
Caption: Indoor azaleas brighten up the winter months
Submerge the whole pot in room-temperature water. You’ll see air bubbles coming from the pot – wait until these stop, then remove the pot and let it drain. Don’t leave azaleas standing in water. How often you water will depend on the temperature of the room. You'll probably need to water two or three times a week, but small pots may need daily watering. Increase the humidity around the plant by standing it on a tray of wet pebbles and spraying daily with tepid water. Remove faded flowers carefully so you don’t damage the growing buds underneath. Azaleas don't like hot, dry rooms and prefer to be cool; a hall or porch away from radiators is ideal. They’ll do best at a constant temperature of 10-15°C, but can survive at temperatures as low as 4°C. Excessive heat will cause the leaves and buds to drop and will inhibit flowering.
Azaleas like to be in bright, indirect sunlight and will do well on a west, east, or south-facing windowsill. Don’t leave them on a windowsill at night, though, as the temperature there can drop rapidly.
You can revive a plant by plunging the pot into a bowl of tepid water, but one that has been exposed to prolonged drought unfortunately may not recover.