The Q&A Archives: How do I get my azalea blooms to open up?

Question: We have new azaleas (new community) that were planted by the builder in Sept.06-we see tons of blooms, but only a few are opening up. We have recently applied some Miracle Grow & continue to water daily -some of the leaves of the plants look brownish, almost as if the sun has baked them. We also sprinkled some Ortho plant fertilizer around the base of them. We do see a few blooms opening & some new green leaves that are sprouting. Should we just continue with this treatment?

Answer: The brownish leaves can be a result of winter injury or an indication the soil is over-saturated. You've fed your plants enough for the season so hold off on additional feeding; daily watering is extreme for azaleas. You'll want to adjust your watering schedule right away. Azalea's do best when they are deeply watered once each week. Apply water slowly so it has a chance to trickle down and saturate the soil, then don't water again until the top inch of soil is dry. Young azaleas often set more flower buds than they are capable of opening, and since flower buds are developed the summer before, some are likely to suffer winter damage. So, it isn't unusual for some of the flower buds to fall off instead of opening. Don't feed your plants any more this year. Next spring you can feed after they have finished flowering. Adjust your watering schedule and your plants should be fine.

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