Azaleas

I'm looking to grow a few Azaleas in my front flower bed. It is a raised bed surrounded by castle blocks. I've read the plants are acid loving. Will this hurt the grass around the flower bed? What do I use as a fertilizer? I've never really had much luck growing this type of plant 2 years is the longest I've been able to keep one going. Thanks for any and all suggestions
--
Don



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The raised bed, surrounded by concrete blocks, has two possible problems -- pH problems if the concrete is leaching into the soil, and temperature problems if the bed is too small and the plants too exposed. It depends partially on where you're located.
1. There are fertilizers especially formulated for azaleas and similar acid-loving plants. "Acidic" is a matter of degree -- it shouldn't affect your adjacent lawn. Your grass will also benefit from the fertilization.
2. Azalea roots are very close to the surface, and most be kept from overheating. Use lots of mulch -- 2-3 inches or more -- but keep it a couple of inches away from the azalea trunk.
3. The only time to prune azaleas, if you must prune at all, is immediately after flowering, when you may want to trim back leggy branches.
4. Here in Central Florida, the preferred varieties are Formosan varieties, which come in many colors. I just planted forty new plants, with colors in the spectrum from white thru fuschia, tangerine, lavender, to red.
5. Regular watering into the thick mulch will help keep the roots cool.
6. Other things depend upon where you're located. Talk to your extension service, which will probably have brochures or pamphlets on azalea care, or talk to one of your local nurseries (not big box).

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Thank you for your help WT, the plants are in now and the type is called silver stripe with dark pink blooms the blocks are more for looks then anything else they don't really hold the bed. and i'll look into the fertilizer also. thx again

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