Fall is a great time to plant. First of all, the cooler
temperatures make it much more appealing to be outside. Secondly, fall plant
sales are the best. Many garden centers offer deep discounts because they don’t
want to overwinter plants. Take advantage of these deals to add some spice to
your yard and garden.
Star of the Show
Azaleas are some of the most beautiful and popular shrubs
you can buy. The plants are covered with delicate blooms in spring and summer
and many have attractive fall color too. In the right location, they are easy
to grow and they’ll soon become the stars of the garden.
Soil and Light
are acid-loving plants. That means that they prefer soil with a low pH. Fertilizers
like Espoma’s Holly-tone
were developed especially for acid-lovers. You apply it once in the spring and
again in late fall at half strength. Well-drained soil is also a must. They do
best in bright shade. Too much sun can burn the foliage and too little will
result in poor flowering.
Planting with TLC
Azaleas are shallow-rooted shrubs meaning the roots don’t go
deep looking for water. Adding some compost to the soil when planting will help
hold moisture around the roots. It’s also a good idea to add Bio-tone Starter
Plus to the planting hole. It’s a great starter fertilizer to help make
sure your new plant gets established quickly. Water deeply after planting.
Fall isn’t the best time to mulch. It can hold warmth in the
soil instead of letting the temperatures gently drop, encouraging the plant to
go into its natural dormancy. Add a layer of mulch next spring after the soil
has warmed up. Bark, pine needles and leaf mold are all good choices.
Generally speaking, azaleas don’t need to be pruned unless
you are trying to reduce their height. In that case, prune the shrubs back
after they flower. You can remove dead or damaged branches any time of the
year. It is also a good idea to deadhead the flowers once they have finished
blooming. That way the plant can use all of its energy to grow bigger and
stronger instead of producing seed. Be careful when you snap off the old
flowers as the buds for next year are right below them.
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