The Q&A Archives: Azaleas

Question: I have been trying to create an azalea corner in the back yard and have a problem. Over a year ago I started with 3 plants. One died. Last fall I added 6 more. During the last month I lost 3 more died. This seems to be a summer issue. On a healthy azalea the leaves are dark green. What happens is the leaves fade to a waxy light green, droop and over 2/3 weeks die. They actually look like they were starved for water.

Any thoughts? Thx

Answer: Azaleas prefer a slightly acidic soil so why not amend the planting bed with some peat moss or compost (or a combination of these organic materials) prior to planting? These amendments will hold moisture yet encourage quick drainage so root rot won't be an issue. Feed with an azalea food in amounts and with the frequency listed on the fertilizer label. Water deeply once each week to make sure your plants have sufficient moisture for healthy growth. Remember, too, that some azaleas grow best in shade and others can tolerate sunshine; be sure to choose azaleas with cultural requirements matching the planting site.

Best wishes with your azalea bed!

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