Last spring I went to an anniversary party. Each table was decorated with greenhouse azaleas that had beautiful pink flowers. At the end of the event, we were encouraged to take a plant home.
I've never had luck keeping indoor flowering plants alive, but I thought I could enjoy the flowers and greenery while they lasted. I put the plant on the island in the kitchen, but soon had to move it to the fireplace mantel because the cats showed a big interest in it. The good news is that the cats can't make it up to the mantel; the bad news is that any plant there gets no sunshine. The azalea lost a lot of leaves and became very anemic looking.
When the weather got warm the plant was still hanging in there. I put the pot outside with no expectations. We had a wet summer, so it got plenty of water. It stayed in a protected north-facing alcove on the patio all summer, and went through a few frosts this fall because I forgot it was there. When it was still alive at the very end of the growing season, I decided to bring it in.
It looked unkempt, with branches sticking out at several strange angles. However, I gave it a place on the window seat in the kitchen, where it could get the morning sun. It immediately started showering leaves, and I was ready to throw it in the compost pile. After a couple of weeks, though, the leaf drop ended, and since the plant was in a six-inch pot that didn't take up a lot of room, I decided to leave it by the window as long as the leaves were green.
I watered the plant every couple of weeks, and occasionally remembered to put some extra water in a humidity tray, but that's all the attention it got. A couple of weeks ago I was surprised to see something that looked like a bud on the plant. The bud got bigger and bigger, and today I was amazed to see this beautiful flower:
Once I started looking at the plant closely, I discovered it was covered in buds. I'm so excited that I was able to keep it alive long enough to flower again!