Ask a Question forum: Azalea problems

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Name: Ann
East Texas
Jul 16, 2014 7:54 AM CST
I live in zone 8b.
My azaleas have become mottled looking on top of leaves and rust colored speckled underneath.
Do you all have ideas about what it might be and organic solutions?

Many thanks to you, sages!

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 16, 2014 8:19 AM CST
Ann, a picture would help us a lot. Mottled look sometimes indicates sucking insects like spider mites, but my azaleas never seem to suffer from spider mites. (and I have lots!)

If you could take a magnifying glass and look closely at the speckles underneath the leaves, to see if they are insects or fungus that would be a good clue. Better yet, post a picture.

For insects, a solution of soapy water should help. 1/2tsp. dish soap per quart of water in a sprayer bottle, or if you have a gallon sized pump sprayer (better for a big bush) 2tsp. per gallon. Be sure to spray all surfaces of the leaves, and the stems. Repeat after it rains, and at least a couple of times per week for a few weeks, as new babies will hatch even if you've killed their parents.

For fungus, a solution of baking soda/water is a preventative. It won' t make what is now there go away, but will stop the spread. Again it is 1/2 tsp. baking soda per quart of water. Here's a good link to treatment if what you have is indeed Azalea Rust Fungus

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ann
East Texas
Jul 16, 2014 8:23 AM CST
Thank you so much for the rapid response!
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 16, 2014 9:17 AM CST
There are also thrips and lace bugs that feast on azaleas. Here is some info that may be of use to you.

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