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Nothing says spring like an Azalea

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Nothing says spring like an Azalea

One of the first signs that spring is on its way is when the Azaleas begin to grace us with their stunning blooms.  Erupting in spectacular colours, they herald the arrival of spring. Azaleas that are botanically known as Rhododendron are a favourite in gardens both big and small due to their versatile nature. They come in different shapes and sizes and range from miniature Azaleas, which only reach 30cm in height, with larger varieties growing up to 2m tall. The biggest conundrum with Azaleas lies in deciding which colour to choose, as they come in a stunning range of colours. With a colour palette consisting of white, pink, red, purple and a riot of colours in between. With all these lovely attributes in mind, let’s have a look at the where and how of Azaleas.

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Stunning Azalea blooms.

Where to plant your Azalea

  • Azaleas prefer dappled light or morning sun, so try to keep them out of the harsh afternoon sun.
  • Those troublesome spots under big trees are perfect for Azaleas, as they prefer the dappled shade.
  • Do not plant Azaleas where they will receive reflected heat from a wall, building or paved area.
  • They are perfect for container use with the added advantage of being able to move to an area where they show off better when in full bloom.
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Budding with the promise of colour.

How to plant your Azalea

  • Being an acid loving plant, always plant your Azalea with equal parts compost and acid compost with a handful of bonemeal added for root development.
  • If you are planting Azaleas in pots just substitute compost for pottingsoil and remember the bonemeal.
  • Also keep in mend that when planting Azalea’s in pots it is best to avoid cement pots, as they will make the soil more alkaline over time.
  • When transplanting your Azalea make sure that the soil level at the base of the Azalea is the same.
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When in full bloom their flowers virtually cover all the leaves.

Tips for growing Azaleas

  • Keep your Azaleas’ roots cool during hot, dry weather by placing mulch around their base.
  • Ensure that the soil never dries out completely.
  • Mulch with an acid compost twice a year.
  • Never dig around Azaleas’ roots as they have a shallow root system.
  • Give your Azalea a light pruning after flowering to encourage new growth.
  • Azaleas can be prone to chlorosis, which is a nutrient deficiency that causes the leaves to change colour.  The leaves turn yellow with green veining which can easily be fixed by adding iron chelate to the soil.
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The detail in each flower is surreal.

Azaleas have just started to arrive at Heckers and we’ll be sure to keep you updated by posting pictures on our Facebook page as these arrive. Give an Azalea a home in your garden and it will be sure to reward you with its amazing blooms year after year.

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