The Ghent azalea in your home: florist Tom de Wilde offers tips

Indoor plants bring life to your home. Could yours use a touch of green? Then the Ghent azalea is the ideal plant to add to your collection. The sustainably grown plant has beautiful, double flowers. Tom de Wilde, florist and designer from Melle, is a fan of the Ghent azalea. He has tips to give the plant a spot in your interior.

For almost 20 years Tom de Wilde has been a flower arranger. For years he co-owned a florist; now he supplies parties and events with the necessary greenery. At the Floralies of Ghent – a flower and plant show in Ghent – he surprised visitors with his two experience boxes in which the Ghent azalea played the leading role. The event attracted no fewer than 75,000 people. Some 300 Belgian and international florists, horticulturalists and landscape designers exhibited their work. Visitors could find inspiration for their garden, balcony or interior.

Hi Tom! Your experience exhibit at the Floralies surprised a good number of visitors. Why do you like working with the Ghent azalea?

I love how the plant evolves, from a compact ball to a lush plant with colourful flowers. The Ghent azalea is very versatile: it’s available in dozens of colours. To integrate the plant in your interior, opt for a pot that suits your style. Azaleas are available in a selection of sizes, making it perfect as a table decoration or in a larger pot on the ground.

The Ghent azalea is a recognised regional product. Only azaleas that are grown in East Flanders may bear the name. Is it important to you to work with local greenery?

Absolutely! We should be really proud of our regional products, because I think that local produce is always better. The ecological impact is smaller, and you support local growers. Most consumers barely consider the origin of the products they buy. Luckily, I see that young people do think about it a little more.

How do you take care of a Ghent azalea?

The plant is easy to take care of. Dip the pot under water 1 to 2 times a week. Then let it drain properly. Shake it a little every now and then to remove any loose leaves. You can place the plant anywhere in the home, but not in direct sunlight.

Where did you find inspiration for the Floralies?

The boho style was very popular these past few years. And we can see that the roaring twenties will be the next trend. So you can bring some life to your interior. In the one box I opted for romance with lots of contrast, gold, velvet, soft materials, pampas grass and brightly coloured Ghent azaleas. Most people know the azalea as a plant with white or red flowers. With this interior I show that the Ghent azalea is available in many more colours.

In the other box I opted for a tougher, eclectic style with sober colours. The white azaleas really came into their own in a suspended construction. The two boxes show that the Ghent azalea will fit in any interior.

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