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Over the months of winter look out for the many gardens
filled with azaleas, and their vibrantly coloured pink,
mauve, orange and golden yellow flowers.
Azaleas are in the rhododendron family Ericaceae. These
plants originate from Japan, China and Korea. There
are three main types of azalea - the indica hybrids,
the karume hybrids and the mollis hybrids. The indicas
spot flower from autumn through winter, with their main
flush in spring.
Azaleas grow well in a range of climates and flourish in Sydney's North West. They thrive in a slightly acidic soil with good
Azaleas look great planted in volumes in a garden beds.
We recomend you use plenty of compost - as it acts like
blotting paper around the roots, and keeps them moist
but not over wet. Use a mulch, even chopped up leaves,
on the soil surface.
Liquid fertilise and keep moist during the growth
time over spring and summer. Though we tend to use Yates
Lifter around August - September to bring them on.
Unfortunately azaleas have a reputation of being prone
to pests and diseases. For example, look out for azalea
lace bug on the leaves.
A sign of this sap- sucking bug is brown and silvery
mottled leaves. To control this its best to spray
in spring, at the start of the growth season. We suggest
seeking advice from your local nursery about possible
sprays because some are poisonous. The other method
of control is to prune the damaged branches. Prune after
flowering for plenty of new growth.
During a wet winter you might find some of the flowers
on the indicas become mushy and brown. This is called
azalea petal blight. Spray this with a fungicide,
or simply remove the flowers and dispose of them.
Azaleas can also grow long, rather spindly looking
stems so prune these off after flowering to ensure a
Recently much work has been done hybridizing azaleas,
so they are more tolerant of a wider range of soils
and climates, and there are always new varieties and
colours on the market to look out for.