Azalea flower bud management

Nebari Bonsai

How’s that title? Pretty professional for an amateur bonsai guy eh? This Kurume azalea is one I collected 14 years ago from my front yard. Kurume azaleas have multiple flowers per bud, and when they open, I feel there’re a bit crowded. A few years ago, I tried removing buds to allow those remaining a little additional “elbow room”.

It’s very simple, and I think the overall effect is very nice.

Here’s a branch with three buds, each in a different stage of development. Look at the left bud, and it’s apparent that it contains 3 flower buds. When they’re distinguishable like this, I begin to thin them out, removing 2 and leaving 1 per cluster.

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Once the three are removed to 1, each has enough room to open:

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Another benefit of this technique is the ability to help time the blooming so all the buds are open at the…

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