Exuberant Azaleas

Exuberant Azaleas

Azaleas (Rhododendron), the deciduous shrubs especially, grow best in areas with partial shade where the ground is moist. The evergreen azalea often referred to as the Japanese azalea is perfect for planting in a shady spot but will also feel at home in full sun. This shrub is a small-leaved species, therefore in the sun there is less evaporation than those with larger leaves.

Varieties

Azaleas are available in a broad range of beautiful colours, such as white, pink and red. There are many different varieties of azaleas, one plant alone can have a mixture of colours edged with white. The size and shape of the flowers and petals can vary by variety. So a variety can have a delicate flower shape, a single flower, a double or a large flower shape.

They grow well

Azaleas thrive in a moist, acidic, well-drained soil. The soil can be improved by mixing in peat or black peat soil. In ordinary soil half a bag of peat is usually sufficient to achieve the right acidity. To obtain good soil structure for azaleas, add some garden peat every other year. Azaleas do not thrive on clay soil. But that does not mean that you could not keep azaleas on clay. If you maintain a planting hole five times larger than the root ball and fill it with the right soil, the plant will do well.

Pruning

As azaleas bloom on perennial wood, prune them lightly soon after they have flowered. If the plant shows signs of becoming too big, you can give it a more rigorous pruning in winter. This applies mainly to deciduous azaleas. You can carefully cut back inch thick branches, taking care not to remove the maturing buds. The new shoots, however, will not bear flowers the following year.

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