Ask the ExpertsAzalea CareMarch 29, 2021It is hard to resist the beauty of azaleas in bloom. They are one of the most iconic flowers of the South, offering wonderful spring blooms in bright hues. Undeniably, they are a beautiful addition to any garden. If you are considering growing azaleas, know that keeping them healthy with fertilization is key. Here are some tips on azalea care.ExposureThe shrubs prefer partially shaded, cool areas. Some varieties tolerate the sun more than others, but generally, azaleas prefer a spot that is not exposed to drying winds and the hot sun. Those who are often exposed to the sun are more susceptible to pests, such as lace bugs. However, do not plant them in heavy shade as this may result in weak growth and poor flowering.SoilAzaleas do best in well-drained, acidic, organic soils. Have the soil tested (They prefer 4.5 – 6 pH soils) and adjust the pH of the soil based on the results. These shrubs also need adequate oxygen for healthy growth, so do not place them in poorly drained sites to avoid root rot diseases. MulchingMulching is essential, as it maintains the soil temperature, conserves moisture, and helps discourage weed growth. Add a 2–3-inch layer of mulch. There are a wide variety of materials you can use, such as composted pine bark, pine straw, and leaves. Keep the bark dry by keeping the mulch a few inches away from the main stem.WateringAzaleas need irrigation during the dry season, as they are shallow-rooted plants. If you plant them during the warm season, you need to water the root mass at least twice a week.FertilizingAzaleas are not hungry plants, compared with other blooming shrubs. Planting it in soil with organic matter and mulching it will typically provide the nutrients it needs for adequate growth. If your shrub shows signs of nutrient deficiency such as yellowing leaves, smaller leaves, or early leaf drop, fertilization is needed. However, it would be good to know that the same symptoms mentioned can also be caused by other factors like stresses from insects, heavily compacted soil, or excessively dry or wet soil. Look for a fertilizer with nutrients with a 2-1-1 ratio. Keep in mind that the kind of fertilizer that you should use should be determined by a soil test. If you need help with azalea care, or need professional advice and help in keeping your landscape healthy and beautiful all-year-round, do not hesitate to contact Southern Botanical, your Dallas landscaping company.