Azalea seeds just became an easy show allergen in your garden

Decorating just got a whole lot easier with the new azalea seeds coming to the market. Invincible Houseplants is offering Plant Azalea Seedstarting for $20.00 when you use a PayPal account.

These azalea seeds are alive! They live from planting date to bloom date as long as you provide water and proper fertilization at the proper time. Here are some tips:

Soil pH: Too acidic and the azalea’s beautiful blooms will rot and produce lime green or black sap that corrodes a porous PVC pipe. Too alkaline and the azalea is a real pain to rake up!

Water: Azaleas typically require a drinking bucket of water at all times during blooming season. In addition, azaleas require two inches of water daily during the entire bloom period.

Prune: At this time of year it is recommended that azaleas have their ground stems completely pruned at this time of year. Keep in mind that azaleas need two to three inches of growth each year. Keep the base of the stem completely trimmed off. This way the new growth will grow on itself and out of the ground. This should help keep the new growth free of dead and diseased leaves. The structure will be much healthier than otherwise.

Start your planting site: Sprinkle a one ounce of soluble aminopropyl rubbing alcohol (Nipso) into a one gallon spray bottle. Liquid aminopropyl is harmless to azaleas. Add enough liquid aminopropyl to hold about five gallons of water. This product is very effective as a plant fertilizer. Fill up the spray bottle with water and move the seed you want to grow around as you plant your azalea. (You can use this liquid as a fertilizer at any time to give the azalea a healthy food supply).

Look for azaleas with a foliage canopy

Azaleas come in varietals that will bloom with different petals. Make sure the azalea you choose has a foliage canopy, that is, it has healthy leaves and has not been ravaged by fungi or insects. Then determine how far the wood needs to be pruned to bloom. Try to only cut the stems back 2 to 3 inches below the foliage. Make sure to cut the stems back to healthy size before the azalea is ready to bloom, so you don’t lose all the blooms in one visit. This will give the azalea a healthy base to continue to grow.

Infestations:

Insect infestations can happen when the azalea is watered too much or is fertilized before the azalea is ready to bloom. Hazards include insect larvae, leaf curl (darkening of the leaf canopy), gray bud snaps, pink bud or streak binders (erosion of the surface of the leaves and buds), and common seed bugs. You can end the insect infestation early with a phosphorous-based spray. Some gardeners try to spray a water soluble antiviral agent (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation) along with the usual commonly used product. You may have to use more than one application of a specific product.

If a major infestation occurs, you should wait until after the azalea has dried out from the dead blooms before pruning back the stem. An unbloomed azalea that is reduced to a limb-scrubber needs to be removed and discarded.

Azaleas thrive in our cool climate. They will live in direct sunlight with a few hours of direct sunlight at certain times. They make fine indoor decorations. Azaleas will stand around 20-25 feet tall and can be easily placed around your exterior

windows and doors to bring in that winter sun. No matter where you live, you can grow Azaleas in your back yard or in a garden. Now is the time to get your azalea planting in.

(Doug Sherry has been growing Heuchera since 1985. “The Azalea Doctor” can be contacted at 713-228-1852 or azaleadaddermostr.com.”

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