Azaleas and lilacs

Hi all
You probably recall that I recently asked about container-shrubs for my area (Rockaway, NYC). On your advice, I got a couple of azaleas. Now my question is, should the root ball be totally submerged in the planter, or should the top of it be level with the soil level in the planter?
Also, I purchased a bag of fertilized potting soil that should about half- fill the container. I planned on mixing in about equal quantities of peat moss and compost. Most sites I've read suggested fertilized the soil at least once- that seems like overkill, given what's going in there already.
Thoughts and advice, please?
Thanks
Chris
Oh- I also bought a lilac for the yard. I have the same question about the root ball- deep or shallow? Thanks again.
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On 8/8/11 4:23 PM, Chris Thompson wrote:

DO NOT USE POTTING MIX THAT CONTAINS FERTILIZER FOR AZALEAS. Azaleas, very much like camellias, prefer a "lean" soil without an abundance of nutrients. On top of that, no new plant should be fed until after the roots recover from the trauma of being planted; until then, fertilizer will promote roots rotting. (An exception is made for some annuals, which may be planted in enriched soil.)
The ideal potting mix for azaleas in a container can be seen at my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . This is a do-it-yourself mix. Note on that page the adjustment needed for such acid-loving plants as azaleas. Also, the nutrients indicated there will not be immediately available, allowing time for the roots to recover. However, I would cut the bloodmeal in half. The addition of compost provides beneficial soil bacteria that will eventually make the nutrients available.
I feed my azaleas only with commercial camellia, azalea, and rhododendron food. This is a slow-acting, mild fertilizer. I feed them once a year, when they have finished blooming. When I had 'Inga' azaleas -- which had multiple bloom periods from early spring until late summer -- I fed them after their first bloom of the year.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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Maintain the same depth as the plant was grown in it's container.
Do NOT use fertilized potting soil for ericacious plants (azalea) . These soils are great for things like impatiens and fuscias but not so good for trees and shrubs. The first year I would not be inclined to feed anything. You can make the planting area an inch or two lower than the surrounding ground to capture water but inside this you maintain the plant at the same depth it was when grown in the pot or at the nursery.
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On 8/10/11 7:19 AM, beecrofter wrote:

I would plant slightly higher than the container height. Azaleas need soil that is constantly moist but drains well. They die when the soil is truly wet, especially when drainage is poor.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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