If you have an azalea plant that has seen better days, you need to take immediate action. The following tips can help you decide what to do.
Two Immediate Remedies
If the plant appears withered, drench the plant’s soil with salt-free water. This will clear out any built-up salts and fertilizer that have accumulated beneath the plant’s roots. If your azalea sits in a container, fill the container to the top with water, allowing the liquid to drain freely. Follow the practice several times during a day.
If your azalea is dying, you need to apply a fish emulsion to revitalize the plant. Spread a compost over the root system and keep the soil moist with mulch. If you don’t water and mulch azaleas during hot dry days, the leaves will scorch and the plant will begin to fade.
While the above solutions offer a quick fix, you should still learn all you can about caring for the plant. To find out more in this respect, read the information below. Knowledge is power when you take care of any garden or nursery plant.
An Introduction to the Azalea
The azalea is part of the genus Rhododendron and therefore originates from the same genus as the rhododendron plant. However, the leaves of azaleas are more pointed and smaller. Rhododendron leaves are leathery in appearance and larger.
Azaleas come in a variety of sizes and may grow low to the ground or soar as tall as 25 feet. They thrive both indoors and outdoors. Therefore, care depends on the placement of the plant. Temperature does not matter a great deal as long as the temperature does not fall below freezing or shade is provided in warm climates.
Care should be taken to keep the plants safely out of the reach of pets or children as the blooms are poisonous. Water the plant routinely until lots of blossoms appear and the plant becomes established.
It does not matter if your azalea is located inside or outside; you should follow the same guidelines for care. If you live in a warm climate, select azaleas planted in larger three-gallon containers over a smaller one-gallon pot. Small azalea plants with a smaller root system must struggle to receive water when the weather is warm or hot.
Some Basic Tips
Plant Placement: Azaleas like to grow in a spot that draws the morning sun but becomes shaded in the afternoon. Avoid planting or placing the plants in areas with direct sun or full shade.
Watering the Plant: How you water your plant depends on the climate. When azaleas grow in cooler climates or shaded areas, they should be watered a couple times per month.
If the plant grows in a sunnier or warmer climate, water it once or twice a week. An azalea is a shallow-rooted plant and therefore needs moisture. However, you don’t want to leave your plant in soggy soil as doing so will negatively affect growth.
Temperature: Different azalea plants withstand different climates and temperatures. For example, white azaleas cannot withstand temperatures that soar above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, their blooms will wither and fall off. This is something to keep in mind if you own a white azalea bush and the blooms do not look so good.
Some azalea plants can withstand very cold temperatures, such as the plants that make up the Northern Light group. The plants are hardy as they can live in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Most azaleas prevail in various climates and can survive in temperatures that range between 30 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toxicity: You don’t want to eat the honey produced from the azalea blossom as it is known as mad honey and is poisonous. Dogs and cats may succumb to the plant’s dangers in this respect as the honey leaks from the plant. While cases of extreme toxicity are rare, people who intentionally eat parts of the plant can experience life-threatening outcomes.
The most prevalent pests to affect the azalea are lace bugs. If your plant is infested with the bug, its foliage will appear yellowish or white and display black bugs on the bottom of the leaves. Apply insecticidal soap during the late spring or autumn to control the problem. Other pests that affect the azalea include bark scale or leafminers.
Getting Rid of Leafminers
Leafminers may be seen on the upper or lower leaves and cause yellowing or browning on the leaves. When bark scale presents itself, the plant appears to be covered in a soot-like mold. To combat either of these problems, remove the affected site and apply a horticultural oil in a diluted spray to control the pests.
Protecting the Plant Against Frostbite
Because azaleas are hardy plants, they often are planted in cold climates. As a result, they may suffer damage from frost, which can cause the plant to wither and die. Always cover azalea shrubs with burlap or a sheet if the weather forecast warns of below-freezing temperatures.
Azaleas are also vulnerable to fungal diseases such as leaf gall, petal blight, and rust. To prevent this problem, spray the plant with a fungicide during the late spring and continue routinely every two weeks until mid-June. If the plant becomes infected, prune away the fungus and get rid of the diseased branches or leaves without delay.
Common Azalea Concerns for Care
Sunshine: Most azaleas do the best when they can receive the morning sun combined with afternoon shade. An azalea should not have more than four to six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Azalea Health: One of the best things to add to the soil of azalea plants are coffee grounds. Use the grounds to acidify the soil and provide more nutrients to the acid-loving plant.
Growing Back: Azaleas grow back each year, provided that you prune them back before the middle of summer. Encore azaleas will grow back regardless during the spring and fall.
Pruning Azaleas: To revive an azalea, prune branches by thirds or halves. Shape the plant with the remaining branches.
As you can see, you need to learn something about the azalea to ensure good care and enjoyment. Use the above information to make sure that you grow azaleas that are both healthy and beautiful to view.