If you are a fan of watching The Masters, you might view partially for the golfing, but also for the blooming azaleas. The glorious shrubs might possibly be some of the most amazing in the South. And it might come as no surprise, that Southern Living, calls azaleas, the “number one must-have plant in the South!”
According to Southern Living: “Rhododendrons and azaleas are arguably the South’s favorite shrubs. Many people think of them as entirely different plants, but they both belong to the genus Rhododendron, which comprises more than 800 species and 10,000 named selections. Even to the untrained eye, one difference between the two groups is obvious: rhododendrons generally have much larger leaves. From a technical standpoint, rhododendron flowers are bell-shaped and have ten or more stamens, while azalea blooms are typically funnel-shaped and have five stamens.”
With the right attention to light, soil and the correct selection, azaleas can be grown throughout the South.
“Plant azaleas with the top of the root ball slightly above soil level. Don’t cultivate around these plants, as they have shallow roots. Because they absorb water through their foliage, wet both the leaves and root zone when you water. Overhead watering with sprinklers works well, but to prevent fungal diseases do this in morning so that leaves dry by afternoon. Avoid drip irrigation―it doesn’t wet the root system uniformly.”
“The sun tolerance of azaleas varies by species and selection. In general, most types prefer the partial sun or filtered shade beneath tall trees. The east and north sides of the house are better locations than the west and south. Too much sun bleaches or burns the leaves; too little results in lanky plants that don’t bloom.”
“Don’t worry when a few leaves turn yellow and drop off, especially in the fall. All evergreens drop some leaves during the year. If autumn is mild, azaleas will often bloom. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. Enjoy the fall blooms, because flowering could be sparse the following spring.”
For more personal gardening tips, turn to the experts at Stone Creek Landscaping. And for a free estimate call 404-647-4297.