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Please help me with my sad azalea!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2002
by robinshe on December 09, 2002 10:43 PM
I was given a potted azalea in full bud/bloom a couple of weeks ago... but now it's all droopy and even the new buds are limp and sad. I did what I thought I was supposed to--water it a little bit every day from the roots... but I'm not sure if I'm watering it too much or not enough. The dirt at the bottom of the pot is always wet when I go to water it, but the soil at the top is crusty dry. I cut off all the flowers that were finished blooming, as well as their stems, but it doesn't seem to have helped. The azalea is in our window--the room is cool (but I don't think it's terribly cold in the window, and it seems droopy all over, not just on the window side). It gets lots of light there, but not much direct sunlight. (Mind you, here in Oslo, Norway, we only have daylight from 10am to 3pm right now anyways.)

Does anyone have any suggestions? It's such a nice little plant and I don't want to kill it! Thanks,

Heather S

by Will Creed on December 15, 2002 09:58 AM
Hi Heather,

Lack of adequate water is the primary problem. Potted azaleas do not tolerate dryness at all. The surface of the soil should feel moist at all times. It is better to water from the top, adding enough each time so that a small quantity runs through the bottom drainage holes. That way, the entire rootball and all of the roots receive water.

Azaleas actually prefer cool temperatures, but they also like lots of light, which is something that is hard for you to provide. If all of the flowers and buds have dropped off, then your azalea will not re-bloom so you may want to consider discarding it. Sorry.

by Jiffymouse on December 17, 2002 09:56 AM
Heather,
I have to differ with Will on discarding your azelea. In the southern US, the azeleas bloom for about 2 months in the spring then just have leaves for the rest of the summer and sparse leaves for the winter months. If you want to trim or shape your plant, do it right after the last bloom drops or you will cut off the bud starts for the new year. Good luck.
by Will Creed on December 17, 2002 03:42 PM
Jiffymouse,

You and I don't really differ. We just made different asumptions about the location of Heather's azalea. I assumed that she lives in a northern climate where it is too cold to keep her potted azalea oudside through the winter. You assumed that she lives in a climate where it is warm enough to keep it outside year round.

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