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Growing Azalea

Growing Azalea

Mandarin Lights Azalea

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Description

Azalea is an attractive flowering shrub available in a range of colors. It has large, five lobed flowers with 5 stamens. Azalea is good as a specimen plant, for flowering hedges, and massed plantings. It requires well-drained, acidic to strongly acidic soil conditions, with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0.

Azalea can be planted in full sun to part shade locations. Some varieties are deciduous, and drop their leaves in fall, while others are evergreen and retain the leaves all year.

The Northern Lights varieties are hardy in zones 4 to 7.

How To Plant

Because azaleas require acidic soil, having the soil tested to determine its pH (a measure of how acidic or alkaline a soil is) before planting is recommended. Based on the soil test, the soil may need to be amended to create a favorable pH range. Soil sulfur is a slow acting, but long lasting option for amending soil. Aluminum sulfate is a fast acting way to lower soil pH. It is applied by thoroughly working a quarter to a half pound into the soil where each azalea will be planted.

Plant outdoors in spring after the last frost. After adjusting the soil pH as required, prepare a hole at least twice the size of the pot and mix in compost, peat moss, or other organic matter. Set plants with roots no deeper than in the pot.

Maintenance

Plants are shallow-rooted and benefit from an organic mulch to help keep the soil moist. To keep soil pH in the optimum range, top dress with 1 cup of soil sulfur and work it into the soil surface every 3 to 4 years.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Azaleas are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilization. Use full rates of Jack's Classic Acid Special or another fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

Common Problems

Azalea is usually not seriously bothered by pests or diseases. Lace bugs, scale, and mites may feed on plants. Diseases of azalea include leaf spot and petal blight. Plants can suffer root or crown rot if planted too deeply or in wet, poorly-drained soils.

To combat insects, use 70% Neem Oil or Captain Jack's Deadbug BrewSerenade is a non-toxic organic fungicide that can be used as a preventative to protect plants from disease infection.

Alternative Products

Rhododendron is a related flowering shrub the needs acidic soil conditions. Flowering crabapple is an ornamental trees that can be grown in acidic soils.

Complimentary Products

Blueberry is a fruiting shrub for acidic soils.

Azalea Facts

Azaleas are classified in the genus Rhododendron and are closely related to Rhododendrons. The Northern Lights varieties of Azalea were developed by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for improved winter hardiness after decades of breeding work.

 

Do you have specific questions related to your garden? Email info@jungseed.com and let our years of expert experience help your garden grow!

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