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News Story
Updated: 02/21/2013 08:00:04AM

Azaleas provide springtime color

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Azaleas do best in filtered light. They are ideal to plant under the canopy of live oak trees. They must have an acid soil. Use a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Mulch the area between plants—but do not pile mulch up about the stem. The best mulches for azaleas are oak leaves and pine needles.

GardGate022113B

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Though their flowering period is only a few weeks—few plants beat azaleas for springtime color and southern charm. If your azaleas have grown too tall, begin pruning to form more compact growth just after flowering, and don’t prune after early July.

By Karen Smoke

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Azaleas are a popular spring blooming landscape plant, prized for their bright showy color. There are thousands of varieties, but only a few are suited to our area of Florida. Azaleas need a 4- to 8-week cold period below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to produce the best flower display. In our part of Florida flowering may be sporadic fall through spring. Some of the older varieties produce the best flowering displays. The heaviest bloom is from February through March.

Azaleas do best in filtered light, and are ideal to plant under the canopy of live oak trees. They must have an acidic soil that should be well drained, with a pH of 4.5-6.0. Improve the soil in the planting bed with organic matter such as peat, compost or finely ground pine bark. These amendments will help increase the moisture holding ability of the soil and nutrient retention, plus help keep the soil acidic.

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