How much sun do azaleas need?

karolokeMarch 28, 2010

I want to plant along northeast side of our detached garage in Texas. It is what I see when I work in my kitchen, so i want to look at something pretty. It gets full shade in the afternoon but maybe only a couple hours of direct morning sun because a sweetgum tree casts some shade there during part of the morning. I was thinking of planting some azaleas there but wondered if it gets enough sunlight for blooming. Someone told me they thought Encore Azalaes require more light than regular ones. Is that true? I'm also wondering if the nearby tree roots would be a problem, and how much cold they can take.

Would I be better off planting hydrangeas, or something else? Any ideas? I'm thinking I'll plant a camillia at the end closest to our house where it gets the most morning sun.

I appreciate your help since I am not much of a green thumb and don't know much about azaleas or gardening in general Thanks.

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I am very new at this so I am probably the blind trying to lead you. I have about 60 Encore Azaleas that I planted in 2008. The first thing that happened was that I did not know how to plant them and I told Garrisons in Shreveport where I bought them. I built a bed with the dirt above the ground level about 6" so they would drain well. I planted them in June, I think, another problem, it was late in the year. The soil that I used to build up the bed was mostly Red River sand, but after about a month they looked like they were dying. I went back to Garrisons and asked why they were dying and did not get much help.

They continued to look bad so I went back and finally got a little late advise. They told me to dig one up and see if the root ball was dry or wet. They should have been more helpful when I first planted them at about $22.00 each, on sale because it was late in the year, that was over $1300.00. I had been watering them with a soaker hose and a garden hose. The root balls were dry as a bone. What had happened was that the dirt was plenty moist, but the water was not transferring form the surrounding dirt to the root ball.

I started watering them right on top of the root ball and most of them came out of it and lived. I lost about 4 out of the 60. They would not replace the dead ones. So be sure that they get water right down into the root ball and that they are well drained.

The next year I bought another 15 that were smaller ones and planted around the base of two big Oak trees. After about a year they were dying, it seems that they just could not get enough plant food competing with the Oak trees. I lost 4 of them and now have the rest in pots till I replant them this Spring.

I wished that I had found the forum earlier or made my purchases from a nursery that was more helpful. I really like the Encore Azaleas because some of them always seem to be blooming. I am still having trouble with them, they just don't seem healthy, but I am learning. I have a link to some pictures of them.

I hope this helps a little, but some one on here will give you the answers that you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Encore Azaleas

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 8:53PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Karoloke, is the shade cast by the sweet gum dense or more dappled? Sweet gum is usually thought to be a suitable tree to underplant with azaleas, sweet gum/liquidambar are not surface rooted so offer little competition for surface rooted azaleas and often their shade will still provide some dappled sun.

It's true the encores like more sun but I don't garden in hot Texas sun. There is a contributor here who does, and grows azaleas, so hopefully will have more hands on information to share with you. There is also the possibility of you installing evergreen azaleas that perform well in more shade than the encores.

I'm wondering about your soil acidity there, I know in many places in Texas soil can be too alkaline to grow either azaleas or camellias without taking steps to lower the ph. Are either of those grown in your immediate neighborhood that you can see?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:10PM
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Thanks rolacoy and morz8 for your helpful answers. Rolacoy, sounds like you had quite an investment in them so I'm sure it was a disappointment when they didn't thrive. Thanks for the watering tip.

From what I hear you do have to ammend the soil in my area when planting to lower the ph. I don't see a lot of azaleas in my own neighborhood, but have seen them.

The sweet gum throws probably more dappled shade in the morning in that spot and in the afternoon it gets dense shade from the side of the garage.

Are all the Encores evergreen? I've heard some azaleas can be diciduous, and I definitely want evergreen ones. I guess I'll take a chance and plant them since it will only be a few and just see how they do.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 11:20AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I have some Encore, native and non-reblooming Azaleas in the DFW Area. I try to provide shade starting around 11am for the azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas, which translates to about 4-ish hours of sun during the hot summer months. Two hours of sun where you live will still be ok. Blooming-wise, they will not be as prolific as if they got more sun but I doubt that you would notice the difference. The reason is they may get some indirect light. Indirect bright light (from light reflected by cemented surfaces, home walls, etc) helps minimize the problem. Hydrangea leaves HAVE TO GET SHADE by 11AM over here; the leaves will suffer from sun scorch otherwise. Quercifolias do well in Texas but will die in a heart beat if planted where it remains moist for long periods of time. Regular mopheads and lacecaps do well here too. You can buy just any variety of macrophyllas and quercifolias for this area. Ditto for camellias. But Sasanqua Camellias handle more sun over here than Japonicas do; that means they can be planted in areas that get more sun. Japonicas' leaves will suffer if allowed to get sun after 12pm-ish so look for places where they get shade by lunch time. If that is a house wall, plant them about 2 feet away from the wall. All of them will appreciate some soil sulphur in Spring. Camellias require (in some years) an extra shot of soil sulphur in mid-to-late summer or when it rains a lot in the Fall. You can also use green sand or iron-chelated liquid compounds.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Thanks so much for all the helpful information, luis_pr! I'll have to get busy planting now as I have a camillia and a few hinodegiri azaleas. I may try a hydrangea in my shadiest spot as well. I'm hoping the camillia won't get too much sun. The spot I want to put it is getting sun till about 1:00 but I think the sun comes in at a little different angle in the summer which I think will make it shady there a little bit earlier. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:34PM
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