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azaleas for a beginner

WonkyWombleWonkyWomble Posts: 4,376

Hello, I'm new to gardening but have jumped in with both feet and taken my garden back to scratch. I'm now on the fun bit after all the hard work, of putting new plants in. 

I have brought 2 azaleas, one orange and one Adonis. I am yet to test my soil pH balance, naughty I know. I do have a rhododendron which I have in Eric compost sunk in a large well draining pot in the ground, and am aware that azaleas need the same type of soil conditions. The research I have done so far suggests that other plants that like these conditions are raspberries of which mine thrive, wondered if this would be any indication as to whether I need to pot the azaleas in the same way as i have the rhododendron? 

Apologies for the total lack of knowledge! Manny thanks image


  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,941

    What is your soil like?  Is it extremely chalky?  If not, you can probably amend the soil and be fine.  Add in as much leaf mould, composted pine needles, coffee grounds, etc that you can find.  Or else just mix in a bag of ericaceous soil at planting and then top mulch yearly with the above mentioned.  Most coffee shops will give you massive bags of grounds for free, if you ask nicely.  Or make a raised bed, fill with ericaceous soil, and plop your roddy and azaleas in there all together.

    Didn't realize raspberries liked acidic soil.. just thought that was blueberries!  

    Utah, USA.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,244

    Hi WW. It would be better if you could plant them in the ground, for better moisture availability.

    Check your pH, it may be ok.

    If not mix ericaceous compost with leaf mold and feed with sequesters iron and seaweed extract.

    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,638

    Check out your neighbours gardens. Do they have rhododendrons or camellias growing in free soil? If they have blue hydrangeas then that is also a good sign.

    I almost went blind looking at a pair of small leaved azaleas I have by the front door. They are decades old, one purple one pink and the colour contrast with the new bright green leaves is just stunning at this time of year. I normally have a large leaved yellow variety (Rhododendron Luteum?) as a backdrop which is a powerful combination particularly against the purple variety but I pruned that one hard last year to get it back under control. So I can see the attraction. image

  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble Posts: 4,376

    Thanks Blue Onion image I haven't pH tested the soil yet, I think I should as I want to have as much success as possible! I'm in Ipswich, the soil in my garden defiantly isn't clay, that much I know! Its not sandy at a glance either although it does have a light (in weight not colour) quality. Too vague I know! image 

    Hey Pdoc, yup I've been convinced, got to know whatvim dealing with! I would rather have them in the ground than pots so I'm going to test and see, thanks image

    • Wow Steephill! That sounds like one Technicolour dream doorstep to me! image a sight to behold I'm sure! Maybe provide the postman with sunglasses?image
  • kleipieperkleipieper Posts: 563

    I'll be keeping all my fingers crossed, hoping that your soil is suitable image. I love azaleas and camellias, but can't grow them here. I've tried, but it just doesn't work unless I keep them in pots image. I really hope you'll have better luck!

  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble Posts: 4,376

    Dove says pH test in post! Bless her!!!! Anyone think she may have another list of gardening jobs for me?! image nah, she just lovely! 

    I really would prefer the azaleas in soil, same with my camelea, I'm not big on pots, just something else for the cats/balls etc to knock over! So I'm going to be patient and gather the facts, fingers crossed! Thanks Kleipieper image will keep you posted!

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