Growing azaleas leads to vibrant plants that add colour to your yard or room. Planting azaleas is relatively easy as long as you select an area with partial shade outside. Deciduous azaleas have leaves of purple, crimson or yellow before they drop off in the fall. Meanwhile, evergreen azaleas can feature fall leaves of dark red or yellowish brown. Evergreen azaleas drop leaves during both the spring and fall seasons, but because they develop two set of leaves during the year, they appear evergreen.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Rotted leaves
- Pine bark
- Growing containers
- Potting mix
- Soil probe
- Soil sample box
- Lime or sulphur
- Fine pine bark
- Wood chips
- Watering can
Find an area of your garden that has loose and moist yet well-drained soil. Mix the soil with organic matter such as rotted leaves or pine bark if the soil is heavy. If you want to use a container to grow hardy azaleas, select containers that have drainage holes and that are large enough to hold the azalea plant's root ball. Also, choose a potting mix that features compost, peat moss and vermiculite or perlite.
Take a sample of your azalea planting soil to your county extension office for testing. Add lime or sulphur to the soil based on the test results to make sure your soil pH level, or level of acidity or basicity, is 5.5 to 6.0.
Remove your azalea seedlings from their nursery pots and cut off roots that are wrapped around the root balls, as these will strangle your plants during the growing process. Use a knife to make 1/2-inch-deep cuts from the top to the bottom of the root ball. Do this about every two inches or three inches around the ball.
Create a hole in the garden soil that is a few inches wider than the root ball and as deep as the root ball. Put the seedling in the hole, allowing the top of the root ball to be even with the soil surface. If the soil is heavy, make the top of the root ball several inches above the ground. If planting in a container, line the bottom of the container with compost and fill the container with your potting mix until it is 2 inches from the top. Dig a hole and place an azalea seedling in it, allowing the root ball to be even with the surface of the potting mix.
Surround the root ball with enough soil or potting mix to cover it up. Tap the soil firmly with your fingers to get rid of air spaces in the soil.
Put 2 to 4 inches of mulch such as fine pine bark, leaves or wood chips on your azaleas' soil to help the soil retain moisture and yield hardy plants. Keep mulch at least an inch from the azalea plant stems.
Water the azalea plants thoroughly and slowly. Repeat this the next day and once a week for several weeks so that the soil will settle and the plants' roots will have access to water until they can grow into the surrounding soil. Continue to water the plants whenever they appear wilted to keep them hardy.
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