I recently moved into a home with small, scraggy azaleas planted all
over in strange places. They almost look like several children just
kept giving them to mom for mothers day, and mom had to find a place to
plant them :) I'm talking literally 30+ of these things. I'm sure
they could be beautiful, but I have NO idea what to do to try to get
them to fill in. They're all different kinds, some deciduous, some
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
It could be a number of things. First, azaleas like a moist, well
drained acid soil. They don't like a lot of fertilizer, especially
after early summer. I recommend using HollyTone now per the
instructions on the package. It will help acidify the soil. If you
need to increase the acidity more, use powdered sulfur. Garden centers
sell aluminum sulphate, but it is a bad idea. It will eventually hurt
aluminum sensitive plants. That could be your problem now. If you have
a poor clay soil, then the azaleas should be moved to a raised bed with
good rich acidic soil like a mixture of top soil and peat humus. For
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Many azaleas do not like sun. Some, however, tolerate part sun.
Identifying the variety would help to determine this.
If your soil is mostly clay, broadcast a generous amount of gypsum
around each azalea at least once a year. It reacts with the clay
to make it porous. Azaleas like soil that is constantly moist but
never really wet. The gypsum will improve the drainage to prevent
Once an azalea starts to show good growth, pinching the growing
tips will make it bushy.
Don't try to grow anything close to or under an azalea. They
really do not like the root competition. However, they do well
just beyond the spread of larger shrubs. I have 'George Taber'
azaleas forming a low hedge at the front of a bed of four
camellias. The rest of the bed is merely a leaf mulch.
I too think azaleas look good bunched and in banks. I would prepare a nice bed
them per Stephens instructions and then move them all there arranged by color or
height or whatever. prune them after they bloom. raised beds are best. I use a
soaker hose on a timer and mulch over that to conserve moisture. the rhodos and
azaleas doing best in zone 5 are on the north and east side of the house altho
north gets early sun and late sun. the one on the south isnt doing very well.
seem to be an understory plant, direct sun esp. in winter is hard on them. Ingrid
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