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  • Azalea

    • $45.50

    Gift wrapped Azalea Plant. For those with an appreciation of Azaleas.

    Azaleas will do well for many years, but they have particular requirements. Colours range from white, through pinks, mauves, purples, reds, oranges and yellows. There are two basic flower types. The single flower is very hardy and, the double flowered form is sometimes referred to as hose and hose.

    • It is firstly important to recognise the light requirements of a new plant to know if it likes morning sun, full sun or full shade.
    • Azaleas love acid soil, so the soil needs to be adjusted to a pH range between 5.5 and 6.0.
    • Most azaleas fail to thrive because gardeners don’t tease the root ball out, and the fibrous roots remain bound and are never able to spread beyond the confines of the shape of their former pot. Don’t be tempted to cut the roots with secateurs blades because the gritty texture of potting mix will dull the blades. Slice through the roots with an old knife from top to bottom, around the outside of the root ball. Pull the matted roots apart gently splaying them outwards, which will encourage the new roots to extend to the soil in which it has been planted.
    • Place the plant in the planting hole and backfill. Water it in well with a seaweed solution to help the plant overcome transplant shock.
    • Because azaleas have a shallow root system, mulch is important to keep moisture in the soil, and also modifies the temperature of the soil, keeping the roots warm in winter and cool in summer.
    • As soon as the shrub has finished flowering, the shrub should be pruned back by about one third, and it is also the time to consider fertilising with a good organic azalea and camellia fertiliser. If these are both done at the same time then the new growth will coincide with the development of new flowers on the outside of the bush. If a shrub is fertilised too soon the flower buds will develop on the inside of the shrub while the shrub continues to grow, and will not be as visible.

    Azaleas do have some pest and disease problems, often when the bush has a magnificent display of flowers. Petal blight is a fungal disease that turns the beautiful flowers suddenly brown. The easiest solution is to pick them off and throw them into the compost. Those wanting to try to prevent the occurrence can spray bushes with Bordeaux mixture in December followed by a fungicide a bit later.

    A minor problem is caused by a leaf rolling insect, which lays its eggs in the tip of a leaf, rolling it as protection for the hatchlings. This is not visually prominent and is not really worth doing anything about.

    A common problem with azaleas is one where the leaves loose their colour and lustre and looks as if it has been sand blasted. It appears that red spider mite may cause the problem, but more often than not the lace bug may be the problem. Red spots underneath the leaf can be the droppings of the lace bug, but because they do no inhibit flowering, it is best to fertilise the bush and tolerate the appearance.

    Azaleas can be grown not just for the flowers, but for foliage colour as well. The new Azalea ‘Plumtastic’ is grown for the beautiful maroon growth rather than the flowers, which are insignificant. The more they are trimmed the more the coloured new growth dominates the bush. They can easily be shaped into a standard, with regular pruning. Azaleas generally flower in spring, with spasmodic flowering throughout the year.



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