If we understand what they need it is not so complicated to take care of them. Most of these elements are usually in the soil, but if not available, they could be the cause of poor performance. Azaleas are a subgenus of flowering shrubs that can grow up to 6 feet in height and produce numerous large flowers in colors of pink, purple, red or white. Timing. Many azaleas do well with little or no pruning, but they tolerate pruning well, too.2 If you decide to prune, timing is very important. Once they are established, water them when they look wilted, or more often during the dry season. If you need to fertilize again, do so before August, as Encore Azaleas are sensitive to heavy fertilization. Azaleas do best in acidic soil. Pennington UltraGreen Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Plant Food 10-8-6 starts feeding right away, but it continues feeding azaleas for up to four months. Nutrients. How to Feed Azaleas Azaleas are hardy spring-blooming bushes/shrubs that only require minimal sunlight and overall care. Give them a generous mulch, between two and four inches deep, each spring to keep the soil moist and the roots cool. Spring Feeding for Azaleas and Rhododendrons Soil. Bonemeal, Fish Blood and Bone (sparingly) are the best of the fertilisers for this use, but it is also possible to use slow release fertilisers such as Osmocote. This special blend of nutrients includes added sulfur to help keep soil pH in the optimal zone as it feeds, plus it provides azaleas with other extras, including calcium, iron and magnesium, to help prevent nutrient deficiencies. If you want to care for azaleas, know that these plants prefer Zone 6 growing areas and climates that don't get too cold. With flamboyant, whorled flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis) lights up the summer garden like few other flowering shrubs do. Their roots feed close to the soil surface. With thousands of varieties, there are azaleas for just about every landscape situation: Fertilize established azaleas in early spring and again 12 to 16 weeks later, and you'll provide the nutrients they need for the year. Despite a reputation for being finicky, these spectacular shrubs are easy to grow once you understand their basics needs. They are hardy in a variety of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, depending on the specific variety. Just remember, pruned branches may mean pruned buds. Rhododendrons and azaleas require minute amounts of boron, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, and copper. Azaleas in a more shaded area and cooler climate prefer less water, about two or three times a month. Azaleas prefer a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. Shallow roots are sensitive to overfertilizing, so follow label instructions, and don't overdo it. Care comes after planting - that's for sure! Cut away the old blooms and do not remove more than one-third of the wood. Azaleas are shallow rooted. Here are a few simple steps to … Azaleas have shallow roots and require a well-drained, acidic soil. For example, "George L. Taber" azaleas (Rhododendron x "George L. Taber") are hardy in zones 8a to 10a, and evergreen azaleas (Rhododendron indicum) are hardy in zones 7a to 10a. 1. Seldom bothered by insects and diseases, azaleas require little care once established, except for watering during dry times. Pennisi. Plant azaleas in well-drained soil with an acidic pH. When azaleas burst into bloom, it's hard to resist the urge to add one or more to your landscape. They thrive in a slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural or organic plant food, preferably one that contains iron. Rhododendrons respond to spring feeding, which helps maintain their dark green foliage and healthy growth. Apply a complete azalea/camellia fertiliser, such as Kahoona, in early spring. Some regions of the United States have naturally acidic soil, but gardeners in areas with higher soil pH may need soil amendments, such as sulfur or ammonium sulfate, to meet azaleas' soil pH needs. Mulch around the base of the azaleas with 2 to 3 inches of mulch. Azaleas Care … They generally grow well in temperate Mediterranean climates in locations with filtered sun. They come in many flower colors, including pink, red, … Regular all-purpose fertilizers can fall short in providing azaleas with the special nutrients they need. are popular shrubs with strikingly colorful blooms. Azaleas have shallow root systems compared to other shrubs; most of their roots stay in the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.1 Because of this, they're very susceptible to water stress. Mix a large amount of composted pine bark into the soil before planting if you have poorly drained soil. Thanks to modern plant breeders, azaleas aren't just for southern and coastal gardeners any more. By choosing the right azaleas for your home and caring for them properly, you can grow gorgeous azaleas of your very own. But an indoor garden can exercise your green thumb all year long — and liven up your home, too. The pH needs to be close to 6.0 on the meter. fertilizer Established azaleas typically do well without any additional fertilizer if the azaleas are kept well mulched. Azaleas can also make exceptional candidates for containers. Rhododendrons, if maintained yearly, can be taken care of by pruning or pinching the new growth shoot from the branch tips, or often around the spent blossom. Fertilize Encore Azaleas when they start to bloom in spring with an azalea, camellia and rhododendron food or a slow-release shrub & tree food that contains sulfur and/or iron. Feed. Adding organic matter, such as compost, to your soil at planting helps. Nitrogen deficiency can … All content copyright © 2019 Pennington Seed, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Mix a large amount of composted pine bark into the soil before planting if you have poorly drained soil. Scatter the fertilizer over the surface of the soil, keeping it 1 foot away from the base of the plant. Pennington is committed to providing you with the finest in premium lawn and garden products and the resources you need to grow the beautiful gardens you desire. Azaleas and rhododendrons are shrubs for all seasons. Potted plants require a light application of soluble fertiliser once in a month. They bloom during the spring and can be deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species. 2. Pennington is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc. UltraGreen is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company. ft. of garden bed. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. Fertilize azaleas lightly using a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 ratio fertilizer, or an azalea-specific fertilizer with higher concentrations of nitrogen. Azaleas are light feeders, so take care not to apply too large a dose at any one time. Azaleas do best with about 3/4 to 1 inch of water per week. The numbers refer to the proportionate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the product. If planted in a sunnier and warmer climate, water azaleas about one to two times a week. When planting, a shallow half moon shaped hole should be dug up and ideally, peat moss mixed with existing soil. In addition to the main plant nutrients, this fertilizer also includes micronutrients such as iron, manganese, and zinc, which are vital for growing azaleas (and other acidic soil-loving plants). Care and Feeding is Slate's parenting advice column. The decaying mulch will provide all of the nutrients that azaleas need. You can't see them until later, but they're there. If you prune those stems in fall or winter, you'll sacrifice all your spring blooms. If your azaleas grow healthily without any signs of nutrient deficiencies, you might be able to forgo fertilization in rich soils. Feeding Azaleas. Azalea bushes have a long lifespan with proper care, as some plants can live for as long as 50 years. Avoid overwatering azaleas; soggy soil promotes root disease. Prune these types right after their first bloom period to promote the most flowers for the next year. Water enough to wet the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Azaleas and rhododendrons have fine fibrous root systems with the feeding roots normally at or just below soil surface level. How to Feed Azaleas. It’s important to have a pH meter when growing acid-loving plants like azaleas in the Houston area. To prevent lost flowers, always prune azaleas immediately after they finish blooming. Avoid planting azaleas too deep. Broadcast the fertilizer over the area under your shrubs and out about 6 inches past the branch tips; then water the entire area well. Apply at half the recommended rate for pot plants on two or three occasions up until the end of June. If your soil pH is too high, the National Gardening Association recommends a sulfur additive to lower it. Fertilize established azaleas in early spring and again 12 to 16 weeks later, and you'll provide the nutrients they need for the year. By starting with the right types of azaleas for your home and giving them the care and nutrients they need, you'll enjoy their traffic-stopping blooms and foliage for many years to come. Plant summer annuals. A month after planting, begin feeding azaleas with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food. Azaleas look great planted en masse in a garden bed. Keep azalea soil evenly moist, so it never dries completely out and never stays overly wet. They require water anytime the top few inches of soil feels dry. National Gardening Association: Rhododendron (Subgenus Azalea) 'George L. Taber', National Gardening Association: Rhododendron Indicum, Clemson Cooperative Extension: Azalea Care, Mississippi State University Extension Service: Azaleas for the Landscape, University of Missouri Extension: Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons, Azalea Society of America: Fertilizing Azaleas, National Gardening Association: Soil Testing. Miracle Gro Nature’s Care Evergreen & Shrub Plant Food (3-3-6) Apply fertilizer to the azalea’s root zone area (area occupied by nutrient and water-absorbing roots) which can extend beyond the drip line or outer-most branches. Azaleas require certain soil conditions and do best with some irrigation and occasional feeding. Check the soil around your azalea by hand, and water when it's dry to the touch. There are low-growing ground cover azaleas, plants that grow from 1 to 2 feet, as well as plants that can grow up to 25 feet tall. For reblooming types that flower early on old stems and bloom later on new growth, the first flush of flowers is usually the biggest. Spring-blooming azaleas, for example, form their flower buds during the previous summer. Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) In poorly drained areas, azaleas should be placed in raised beds. The humus from the decomposing mulch provides adequate nutrients for the azaleas and promotes the presence of mycorrhizal fungi which bring soil nutrients to the roots. But remember to use plenty of compost - it … Zins, Michael, "Azaleas and Rhododendrons for Minnesota," University of Minnesota Extension. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. When possible, use drip irrigation or water the soil around the plant rather than watering its leaves. 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