The Q&A Archives: Azaleas

Question: My landscaper set my front bed up to grow azaleas. I lost the first batch due to a bad sprinkler system - leaks & then they turned it off. Anyway, I tried again this spring. The azaleas turned brown but were green inside when I checked their viability. What did I do wrong and what should I do now to get them to grown. They face north. I live in Denton, TX. Thanks for help - my Mom loves azaleas & I really want them to grow for her. thanks, Jayne

Answer: Unfortunately, without more detail, I can't diagnose the specific problem with your azaleas, but here are some pointers. Azaleas need a humusy, acid, moist yet well drained soil, so be sure you are watering regularly and keep the plants mulched year round with several inches of organic mulch. Have your soil tested to be sure the pH is on the acid side, around 6.0. It's also possible that the plants are receiving more or less direct sunshine than they received at the nursery. There are both shade-loving and sun-loving azaleas, so make sure yours are getting the exposure they require. Azaleas prefer acidic soil and the soil next to the foundation of your house may be too alkaline (concrete can leach). Test your soil to be sure the pH level is 6.0 or below. Your plants may be suffering from drying out at the roots, but they may also be suffering from being dried out by sun and wind. To remedy this, make sure they are watered in the fall and during warm spells in winter and also consider using an antidessicant spray if they are the evergreen type. Finally, there may be a pest problem at work; watch them carefully this spring and early summer and take leaf samples for identification to your County Cooperative Extension if you see anything unusual happening. I hope this helps!

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