There are four must do’s on the Autumn Azalea Care list to keep your plants healthy, happy and bursting with colour.
Because azaleas are shallow-rooted they should always be kept well mulched. Lay the mulch 12cm thick but don’t let it touch the plant’s stem as this can facilitate collar-rot. For best results, reapply mulch at least twice a year. Apply mulch to soil that is already damp so it can lock in existing moisture.
Azaleas do not require excessive fertilising to produce their best. However, managed applications throughout the year should provide dazzling blooms displays.
Application 1: At planting
Apply a fertiliser and plant tonic when planting, such as Seamax Organic Fertiliser Liquid. This will help establish healthy roots and encourage growth.
Application 2: Mid Winter
Apply Searles Flourish Azalea, Camellia and Gardenia Soluble Plant Food at the recommended rate from the middle of winter until flowering commences.
Application 3: After flowering
When flowering has finished, gently mix in Searles Fruit & Citrus Food around the base of each plant, being careful not to disturb the roots. Repeat this treatment at the beginning of every autumn.
Pests and diseases
Autumn-flowering azaleas can be affected by petal blight, especially in unusually wet, warm weather. This can be treated with an application of Searles Mancozeb Plus.
An occasional pruning will keep azaleas compact. Remove any unruly branches with a set of sharp secateurs. Remove spent blooms while the bush is in flower to keep it looking neat and to encourage more flowering.