Azaleas: A Key To Creating A Beautiful Landscape
For many people, it’s not officially spring until they turn on the TV and see the azaleas that bloom each April at the Augusta National Country Club in Georgia-the site of the Masters professional golf tournament.
Azaleas are a large, diverse group of flowering shrubs with single and double blooms in many shades of white, purple, red, pink or orange. Most bloom from early to late spring with a few extending later into the growing season.
To enjoy the beauty of azaleas at your own home, begin by choosing a variety that is well adapted to your garden environment and climate.
Know your USDA Planting Zone
“Check with your local nursery, home center or cooperative extension service to see what they recommend based on your region of the country,” says Bayer Advanced Garden Expert Lance Walheim, who wrote the best-selling book “Roses for Dummies” and is a regular contributor to Sunset magazine. He thinks choosing the right types and varieties for your area is the first step to success. “Then choose a consistent color theme as opposed to the Crayola Crayon approach of mixing them up.”
Here are a few important tips for planting azaleas:
- Choose a planting site with light shade (some varieties can take some sun) and well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter;
- Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball. The top of the root ball should be slightly above the top of the surrounding soil;
- Lift the container off the plant and cut or loosen any matted roots off the root ball;
- After planting, apply a thick layer of organic mulch and keep soil slightly moist, never letting the plants dry out completely.
Azaleas can last for decades in your yard with proper watering and preventive measures to ward off destructive insects and diseases. Bayer Advanced Dual Protection Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Insect & Disease Control protects against aphids, Japanese beetles, lace bugs and leaf beetles while controlling diseases such as leaf spot, powdery mildew and rust. One application protects for up to six weeks and is applied as a drench-so no spraying. Just measure, mix and pour-it’s that easy to protect your investment and keep your azaleas beautiful year-round.
There are times that azaleas do not bloom even though they are tended meticulously.
When this happens, it is important to check on some vital factors. The major factor is where the plants are located. If you have the plants for a long time, it still pays to make sure where they are properly situated. Trees that are present beside your azaleas may create increased shade levels. The flowers may like the shade and a little defense against the wind. However, if there is too much shade, azaleas may produce more foliage and lesser flowers. If there is less shade, then they can receive more sunlight than the usual. One thing for azaleas to bloom is to provide a balance environment.
Watering will prevent them from drying out but at the same time maintain enough moisture. You may add mulch to retain water and guard the roots from heat.
If you wish to add fertilizer, make sure the fertilizer has no high content of nitrogen. Nitrogen helps induce more production of foliage but they may hinder the blossoming of the flowers.
Pruning is also a factor that should be considered in allowing azaleas to bloom. Azaleas bloom stems from flower buds that developed the previous summer. Make sure that you do not prune later than the summer to avoid accidental removal of the flower buds.
Weather condition should also be considered in allowing azaleas to bloom. If the weather is extremely cold, azaleas may not bloom. When it is too hot or dry in the summer, the flower buds may be destroyed. During fall or spring, if there has been some unreasonable warmth, it may force azaleas to bloom prematurely and later lose it the next blooming season. These are the things that should not be taken for granted in planting azaleas. If you notice that they do not bloom, just remember these factors.