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Azaleas in East Texas

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 27, 2010

It is common in this area of Texas to get calls about azaleas that have beautiful foliage but will not bloom. Inevitable, the soil is too alkaline for them. They are one of the few plants around here that like it acidic. If you can grow blueberries, you can probably grown azaleas. If blackberries flourish, it is likely to alkaline for azaleas to really thrive. However, there are things that you can do that will make things easier.

Pink azaleaAzaleas are called Rhododendron prinophyllum by those who use Latin names to refer to plants. They bloom in mid to late summer, according to the rules. These photos were taken in March, however, so there is some variability there. They are deciduous shrubs that are attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. The soil must be kept moist but not soggy. Some parts of the plant are poisonous. These plants are reproduced for the nursery trade with cuttings, laying a branch down on the ground and covering it with soil until it roots, or seed.

Azalea blooms vary in color from the pale pink here to the bright pink in this photo:

Azaleas like filtered sunlight but will manage with early morning sun and afternoon shade. They do not tolerate wind well, so should be planted somewhere that is sheltered from the prevailing winds. A soil test is required to judge the soil’s ph. It would be between 4.5 and 6.0. If the ph is too high, or alkaline, you can apply agricultural sulfur or iron sulfate. If you choose to use peat moss, you must do a large area around the plant so that when the roots are established they are still in acidic soil. This essentially means a raised bed or a bed tilled 6 inches deep and several feet in circumference around the plant.

Azalea shrub

Tyler, Texas, has an Azalea Trail every spring where people drive around a trail and look at the azaleas. It has come and gone, but you can bookmark the site for next year if you will be in the area.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilda Kelderman at Blueberry Bushes July 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Hi there, I recently discovered your site via MSN, and been coming back a lot. You have a excellent site! Would you mind if I link to it from my Website at this page?

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Stephanie Suesan Smith July 24, 2010 at 6:03 am

You may link to my page. Thank you for asking.

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