Answer: Dried out flower buds could be a disease known as botrytis or an insect known as thrips. The symptoms are the same. If you are watering overhead, quit and see if that helps. If not, then it is likely thrips. These are very minute insects that get under the flower bud scales and injure the plant tissue with their feeding activity. These are pests that cannot be eliminated, but hopefully can be controlled somewhat. Black and yellow spots on the leaves can also indicate a disease, or results of insect feeding. For an accurate diagnosis, take a specimen to your local Cooperative Extension office or Master Gardener Clinic. Helpful folks there can positively identify the problem(s) and give you control options. Best wishes with your azalea!
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