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When to Fertilize azaleas

If you’re in the market for flowers that are easy to find, easy to grow and looks beautiful when in full bloom, then you should consider growing azaleas.

Azaleas are shrub-like plants that have both evergreen and deciduous varieties, with beautifully molted green leaves and medium-sized, open-faced flowers with a circular arrangement of petals. Azaleas can come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, and you can find the perfect variety of azalea to fit into your garden, no matter the size, budget or desired color scheme or theme of your garden.

Planting azaleas are actually quite easily and you only need minimal soil, water and nutrient requirements. The soil that you use should be slightly acidic (you can check soil pH by using lithmus paper), with proper drainage so that your plants don’t drown, and you can basically grow any azalea variety you care to name.

Fertilizing azaleas should be done sparingly and judiciously. Most fertilizers have high uric acid content, which makes the soil highly acidic if used repeatedly or continuously. Even if azaleas are acidic flowers, highly acidic soil renders many different nutrients in the soil inactive, and cannot be used by flowers.

If you decide that you really need to fertilize your azaleas, the best time to do so would be when the small flower buds start blooming. You should use fertilizer with high acidic content, such as cottonseed meal (if you are using organic) or miracid (if you’re using synthetic). If you want a commercial fertilizer, Holytone from Espoma comes highly recommended. Holytone is great for azaleas because they will dissolve into the soil in tune with the growth of the azaleas. During the cooler months, Holytone dissolves very little but during the warmer summer months (when azaleas are about to go into full bloom), this brand of fertilizer will rapidly dissolve into the soil.

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