Ask a Question forum→Azalea coloration

Views: 431, Replies: 18 » Jump to the end
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 21, 2020 11:46 AM CST
Hi, I planted 4 azaleas late spring or early summer , cant remember. Lately 3 of them had turned yellow/red and still have some green pale leaves. They have plenty of sun during day. Any idea what's going on?
I attached some pictures.
Thank you!
Thumb of 2020-10-21/Aleon1490/3684a8


Thumb of 2020-10-21/Aleon1490/7f7f9c


Thumb of 2020-10-21/Aleon1490/b11c47

Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Oct 21, 2020 12:42 PM CST
Most varieties that I have grown lose at least half their leaves every winter. It's normal for them.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 21, 2020 9:38 PM CST
BigBill said:Most varieties that I have grown lose at least half their leaves every winter. It's normal for them.


Thank you for your response.
I understand some might lose leaves during winter. This coloration began around 2 or 3 months ago way before cool temperatures. I was thinking if this is because of lack of any nutrient of soil condition. 🤔
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Oct 22, 2020 4:40 AM CST
Well your soil would have to be pretty bad for this to have happened so quickly.
I fertilized my azaleas roughly three times a year. Once in late summer with something like Mir-Acid which was 30-10-10, supposedly for acid loving plants. My evergreens got the same treatment then.
Then during the months from early April through late June, I gave them two shots of Miracle Grow which was 10-30-20. That is when I started to see more flowers. The azaleas had so many flowers it was hard to see any leaves. But this was Long Island from 1974 to 2008.
I don't see very many azaleas here in SE Michigan.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
[Last edited by BigBill - Oct 22, 2020 4:41 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2369627 (4)
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Oct 22, 2020 9:45 AM CST
They look like they are getting ready to shut down for the year.

Regarding the full sun exposure, most rhododendrons will bloom more abundantly in full sun if the soil is kept moist but... sunscald and winter desiccation problems may cause foliage/bud problems and the extra sun may trigger lace bug infestations. As a result, morning sun only (until 10-11am) is better unless you live in the extreme south, where afternoon/evening shade is required for azaleas.

I would not worry about an early development of senescens on a newly planted azalea. Senescens, the normal process of changing color and dropping of leaves in the Fall, can occur earlier than normal when the plant is stressed such as when transplanted (or initially planted), as summer weather arrives and-or when there is a soil moisture problem.

It would be very rare for the plants to display signs of nutrient deficiency right after initially planting as the potting soil normally contains plenty of those round fertilizer pellets and the plant may not have developed too many roots into your garden soil by now (the majority of the roots are still in the potting soil). If your soil was deficient of some nutrients (for example: the soil is sandy), I would expect other plantings to have developed issues. For example, excessively low soil pH (too acidic) or too much watering can prevent absorption of some nutrients. But... the odds are on your side that this is not the reason: the plants were awakened unusually early for sales purposes and now they are going dormant. Should new foliage in Spring 2021 develop similar issues then consider getting a soil test to investigate the matter further.

To prepare for winter, make sure that the plant has 2-4" of organic mulch to protect the roots from extreme (cold/hot) temperatures and to decay and help feed the azaleas and consider watering deeply the night before large temperature drops or the night before very low/sudden temperatures arrive (but stop if the soil freezes). It is important to keep the plants as best hydrated as you can during their first winter as they currently have developed flower buds that will open in Spring 2021. The majority of the roots are located in the top 4" of the soil so keep this area moist, not dry and not wet/soggy.
[Last edited by luis_pr - Oct 23, 2020 2:11 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2369755 (5)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Oct 22, 2020 11:02 AM CST
It looks like these azaleas are planted directly into the ground. Did you mix about half peat moss into the planting hole when you planted them? Did you plant on a little mound so the stem of the plant is above ground level? Don't let mulch touch the trunk as it will cause root rot. Have you fertilized?

Because its fall, instead of fertilizing, I would top dress with an abundance of milled peat moss - azalea are acid loving plants. If the soil isn't acidic enough, they can't utilize the nutrients in the soil.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 1:14 PM CST
BigBill said:Well your soil would have to be pretty bad for this to have happened so quickly.
I fertilized my azaleas roughly three times a year. Once in late summer with something like Mir-Acid which was 30-10-10, supposedly for acid loving plants. My evergreens got the same treatment then.
Then during the months from early April through late June, I gave them two shots of Miracle Grow which was 10-30-20. That is when I started to see more flowers. The azaleas had so many flowers it was hard to see any leaves. But this was Long Island from 1974 to 2008.
I don't see very many azaleas here in SE Michigan.


Thank you so much!
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 1:15 PM CST
luis_pr said:They look like they are getting ready to shut down for the year.

Regarding the full sun exposure, most rhododendrons will bloom more abundantly in full sun if the soil is kept moist but... sunscald and winter desiccation problems may cause foliage/bud problems and the extra sun may trigger lace bug infestations. As a result, morning sun only (until 10-11am) is better unless you live in the extreme south, where afternoon/evening shade is required.

I would not worry about an early development of senescens on a newly planted azalea. Senescens, the normal process of changing color and dropping of leaves in the Fall, can occur earlier than normal when the plant is stressed such as when transplanted (or initially planted), as summer weather arrives and-or when there is a soil moisture problem.

It would be very rare for the plants to display signs of nutrient deficiency right after initially planting as the potting soil normally contains plenty of those round fertilizer pellets and the plant may not have developed too many roots into your garden soil by now (the majority of the roots are still in the potting soil). If your soil was deficient of some nutrients (for example: the soil is sandy), I would expect other plantings to have developed issues. For example, excessively low soil pH or too much watering can prevent absorption of some nutrients. But... the odds are on your side that this is not the reason: the plants were awakened unusually early for sales purposes and now they are going dormant. Should new foliage in Spring 2021 develop similar issues then consider getting a soil test to investigate the matter further.

To prepare for winter, make sure that the plant has 2-4" of organic mulch to protect the roots from extreme (cold/hot) temperatures and to decay and help feed the azaleas and consider watering deeply the night before large temperature drops or the night before very low/sudden temperatures arrive (but stop if the soil freezes). It is important to keep the plants as best hydrated as you can during their first winter as they currently have developed flower buds that will open in Spring 2021. The majority of the roots are located in the top 4" of the soil so keep this area moist, not dry and not wet/soggy.


Great!
I will follow all your recommendations. Will keep you posted as well.
Thank you so much!
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 1:20 PM CST
DaisyI said:It looks like these azaleas are planted directly into the ground. Did you mix about half peat moss into the planting hole when you planted them? Did you plant on a little mound so the stem of the plant is above ground level? Don't let mulch touch the trunk as it will cause root rot. Have you fertilized?

Because its fall, instead of fertilizing, I would top dress with an abundance of milled peat moss - azalea are acid loving plants. If the soil isn't acidic enough, they can't utilize the nutrients in the soil.


Well I just added Miracle Gro Plant Food Spikes 6-12-6. About 4 or 5 spikes per plant a week ago.
I did not mix moss when I planted them. Should I add it now? How would I add it?
I also have mini roses planted in the same area and they are doing great. Flowering everyday and growing since I planted them. They were all planted at the same time.
Thank you so much!
[Last edited by Aleon1490 - Oct 22, 2020 1:25 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2369856 (9)
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Oct 22, 2020 3:41 PM CST
You are too close to an average date of first frost in many places in PA so, do not apply fertilizers (but amendments are ok though). A slow release fertilizer formulation can last around 3 months so, if your average date of first frost (I am using Wilkes-Barre as the example) is around the 1st week or two in October, you should fertilize as late as the first week in July.

For newly planted azaleas, a single application of Holly-Tone is good for the whole year and better than the spikes. They are not heavy feeders. Once they are established (1-3 years), stop fertilizing them and maintain organic mulch at all times. They will feed off the decomposing mulch fine if your soil has no nutrient deficiencies.
[Last edited by luis_pr - Oct 24, 2020 2:07 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2369951 (10)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Oct 22, 2020 3:48 PM CST
Dig out the plant spikes. Its the wrong time of year and, they only fertilize the roots closest to the spike. So some parts of the plant are overfertilized but some parts are underfertilized.

You can add a layer of milled peat under the mulch. It will spend the winter soaking in.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 8:20 PM CST
luis_pr said:You are too close to an average date of first frost in many places in PA so, do not apply fertilizers (but amendments are ok though). A slow release fertilizer formulation can last around 3 months so, if your average date of first frost (I am using Wilkes-Barre as the example) is around the 1st week or two in October, you should fertilize as late as the first week in July.

For newly planted azaleas, a single application of Holly-Tone is good for the whole year and better than the spikes. They are not heavy feeders. Once they are established (1-3 years), stop fertilizing them and maintain organic mulch at all times. They will feed off the decomposing mulch.



Thank you so much for this information. I had no idea about the fertilizer times. Will follow all you advice and will keep you updated.
[Last edited by Aleon1490 - Oct 22, 2020 8:25 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2370113 (12)
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 8:26 PM CST
DaisyI said:Dig out the plant spikes. Its the wrong time of year and, they only fertilize the roots closest to the spike. So some parts of the plant are overfertilized but some parts are underfertilized.

You can add a layer of milled peat under the mulch. It will spend the winter soaking in.


Will do. Thank you!
What fertilizer do you recommend when the time comes?
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Oct 22, 2020 9:18 PM CST
You can broadcast Holly Tone around May, being careful not to get fertilizer granules in the leaf whorls. Then shake the p!ant and apply overhead irrigation. Once established, if your soil has no nutrient deficiencies, discontinue using the fertilizer but maintain 2-4" of organic mulch at all times of the year.
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 22, 2020 9:28 PM CST
luis_pr said:You can broadcast Holly Tone around May, being careful not to get fertilizer granules in the leaf whorls. Then shake the p!ant and apply overhead irrigation. Once established, if your soil has no nutrient deficiencies, discontinue using the fertilizer but maintain 2-4" of organic mulch at all times of the year.


Got it. Will do as you say. How thick should the milled moss layer be before the mulch?
Thank you
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Oct 22, 2020 9:29 PM CST
I have never used Holly-tone. I do use fertilizer specifically for azaleas and camellias. I also top dress with milled peat moss every fall.

Edited to add: I spread 2 or 3 inches of milled peat moss in the fall before rains and snow.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
[Last edited by DaisyI - Oct 22, 2020 9:30 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2370144 (16)
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Oct 23, 2020 2:27 AM CST
Well, I have never needed to use peat moss or peat humus down here with my in-the-ground or potted azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias (mulch only) but, I just noticed that Daisy commented above.

For more info and future reference, see the link below:
https://www.azaleas.org/wp-con...
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 23, 2020 1:53 PM CST
[quote="luis_pr"]Well, I have never needed to use peat moss or peat humus down here with my in-the-ground or potted azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias (mulch only) but, I just noticed that Daisy commented above.

For more info and future reference, see the link below:

Thank you so much!
Pennsylvania
Aleon1490
Oct 23, 2020 1:54 PM CST
DaisyI said:I have never used Holly-tone. I do use fertilizer specifically for azaleas and camellias. I also top dress with milled peat moss every fall.

Edited to add: I spread 2 or 3 inches of milled peat moss in the fall before rains and snow.


Got it. Thank you so much. Will be doing it this weekend.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by arctangent and is called "Wintertime surprise"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.