A Definitive Guide to Azalea Care
Azalea bushes are the south’s favorite Rhododendron. They’re planted in every, or every other, lawn on nearly every street in Florida. It’s a popular bush due to the springtime blooms and their bright vivid colors. Unfortunately, these bushes often go without regular maintenance leading to an overgrown bush that can take over a lawn.
When to Prune
The best time to prune azaleas is in the spring or early summer when the blooms begin to discolor and shrivel. Cutting them during late summer, fall and winter will remove flower buds and keep them from blooming.
How to Prune
Azalea bushes grow new limbs from just below where you cut. Keep this in mind as you can cut it all the way back to just one foot in height. To ensure the plant’s survival, you will want to frequently water the plant to encourage new growth.
To revive a sparse or spindly azalea plant, locate 3 to 5 of the largest branches and cut these back by a third to one-half the length. Continue to trim the remaining branches as if to shape the bush.
Leaf Gall is a moderately damaging fungus that affects azaleas. Most commonly affecting the leaves. It is a wind-borne fungus that commonly affects azaleas during wet springtimes, deeply shaded planted locations, and those with poor air circulation. As the fungus spreads it turns from a green color to a whitish cast that spreads and becomes thick and spongy. Prevention of the fungus is easier than treatment. Neem Oil application can prevent the spread and buildup of the mold spores. If the plant already has leaf gall, trim off the leaves and branches that are exposed to reduce infection and make sure the debris around and under the plant is kept at a minimum. The shrub can also be transplanted into a new location, or plants around it can be trimmed back to increase airflow around the shrub.
Fertilizing and Feeding
Azaleas are a hearty plant that only need fertilizing or feeding if it shows signs of nutritional deficiency. Some of these signs will be: