The Q&A Archives: Too much sun for azaleas?

Question: I planted two types of azalea -- Girard's Crimson and Hino Crimson -- in places where they get south-southwest summer sun all day long. I think the sites may be too sunny because the leaves on both turned red and yellow, respectively, in the autumn and dropped off and they are supposed to be evergreen. Is this leaf coloring and drop a symptom of too much sun? Should I move them now (December) to less sunny sites?

Thank you.

Answer: What you describe is semi-normal. The bright green leaves of 'Girard's Crimson' and Hino Crimson evergreen azaleas gain gorgeous red & purple hues in late autumn: the reds increase through December, & the whole shrub will remain colorfully leafed until spring greens return. If the leaves are dropping, it is a sign of distress, but not necessarily from over-exposure to sunshine. It's normal for evergreens to drop some of their oldest leaves, but not to drop all of their leaves. If just some of the leaves are dropping, it's normal; if all of the leaves are dropping, I'd check the root system of the plants to make sure they are healthy. If the site drains poorly, root rot may have developed.

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