do you think my azalea is dieing or in shock??

jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)May 16, 2014

Hello all,
I am new to attempting to grow flowers or anything really. About a month ago I bought a girard's rose azalea at lowes, kept it for a week and its been in the ground about 3 weeks now. It has dropped all flowers, and the leaves still look healthy, and then today I noticed that a couple of the leaves are turning a darkish green. I've read some plants/ flowers go through trasnplant shock, but I'm not all that sure if I picked a great place to plant it. Its faceing east/ south and to the south in the next yard there is a HUGE tree that provides shade, as well as a head high bush that is about 5 foot from it. I'm finding out I do have clay type soil. When I planted it I scored the roots a bit and then used top soil and some dirt that came out of the hole that was dug. Also I put some fertilizer into the hole for azalea's and rhododendrons but its not touching the roots, I dug the hole a bit deeper and then put a small bit of the fertilizer in and put maybe 2 inches of the top soil, then sit the azalea into the hole.
I've also recently bought a roseum elegans rhododendron I was going to plant in this same area, but maybe behind it, or beside it a little ways out, but I am not sure if this spot is good or not for them...any thoughts, or ideas would be appericiated and helpful!!
Thanks :)

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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

Here it is...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:08PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

And another, you can see the darker green leaves....should I move it, leave it alone or any other ideas??

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:12PM
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Azaleas only bloom for a short while - especially in Ohio. If they were already blooming when you bought the plant, it may just be done.

Also, here in Columbus it's been very wet and cold, so may just not be warm enough for the plant to keep it's blooms for a long time. Where are you located in OH?

I just dug up and threw away 2 azaleas I bought last year. The cold just did them in. What I find amazing is how there are so many plants in the garden centers and especially at Lowes that are not really cold hardy for Ohio. If you get a Rhododendron check the info tag and make sure it is cold hardy to at least zone 5, 4 is even better.

As far as the leaf color, in my experience azalea leaves are dark green as they are older and are light green when they are new. So, you may just have new growth from this year that you didn't notice because the flowers were covering them. I think you planted/fertilized it fine, I'd just wait and see what happens when it warms up (if ever!) in the next few weeks.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:22PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

Lol at the IF it ever warms up. You have that right. The weather this year has been odd. I am in central indiana. I was worried that it was dieing and or maybe it was getting too much water or too much/ not enough sun. I'm glad to know that its normal for them to drop flowers like that. Will the flowers stay on longer once the plant is established?? It says zone 4 to 8 so happy thoughts!! I learned the hard way last fall that these big companies sell things for wrong zones because I bought 6 plants and they died over the winter, so now I am paying more attention instead of looking at pretty flowers. Lol
So do you think it will be okay to plant thee rhoddie there I got as well?? If it ever stops raining this weekend. Lol

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:19PM
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The Girard Rose azalea looks perfectly normal. The lighter green leaves will darken as they mature. The bad news is that If the label said Z4 to Z8, it's completely misleading as in an outright lie. As far as I know, there are no evergreen azaleas hardy in Z4, and very few hardy in Z5. This one is listed by Monrovia Nursery, the likely source of the plant you bought at Lowes, as hardy in Z6 and warmer. That's much more realistic. The big box stores are very cavalier in their hardiness ratings and the material they sell in completely inappropriate zones. Another good reason to avoid them and buy plants from independent nurseries instead.

Roseum elegance is a very old hybrid that is very hardy and adaptable. The best strategy for dealing with heavy clay soil is to plant in a raised bed on top of it rather than digging down. If your soil isn't totally awful in the sense that water drains reasonably, then you can dig a shallow, wide area and amend the native soil with lots of bark or other organic material.Rhododendrons need highly organic soil and the stuff sold as topsoil is usually contains way too little. Fertilizer is not necessary when planting but a small amount is not going to do any harm.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:55AM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

Akmaine grower....i took a couple pictures of the tag that came with it, it claims that its cold hardiness is negitive 10 to negitive 20 some of those tags at big box stores are wrong?? Im new at this and have no clue as to what i am doing. Just bought my first house and there is only 1 nursery in my area and for the same sized azalea for 50 dollars up, and i got this one for 7 dollars. I was worried that since i dont know what im doing and something dies, it has a 1 yr guarantee and even if i loose the reciept if i accidently kill it, im only out less then 10 dollars versus the 50. But i can see how local might know for sure what should grow where, but if i kill it then im out all that money. Im trying to learn right now for a couple years and get the hang of it and then maybe move on to different things.
So do you think this plant will make it through winter here, should i do something special to it come fall to try and help it through winter?? Any thoughts or advice will be welcome. Its in a bed facing south with a large tree next door to give it some shade, and its not too far from brick foundation and porch if that helps any???

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:48AM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

Here is the do you know where its grown at or from??

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:50AM
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The label is inaccurate. More reliable sources list this variety as hardy to Z6 which would mean it can survive -10 at best. Z5 goes to -20. The fertilization advice on the label is equally off - summer fertilization is a bad idea for azaleas and rhododendrons because it encourages late, soft growth.

Anything you can do to protect the plant from winter sun and wind will help. Evergreen boughs, burlap screens, etc. can be used. If it's planted quite close to the brick foundation, this will moderate air temperature to some degree. There really isn't anything you can do, however, to increase the genetically determined hardiness of this or any other azalea. If temperatures fall to the -15 to -20 range the plant is unlikely to survive or if it does it will be badly damaged and pretty unsightly.

Z5 in the Midwest is really a very difficult area for evergreen azaleas. You would be much better off with some of the so-called "iron clad" rhododendrons or those specifically bred for cold conditions by David Leach in Ohio and Weston Nursery in Massachusetts. There are very hardy deciduous azaleas as well.

BTW, $50 for a plant this size seems very pricey. There are independent mail order nurseries that have a much wider selection and would be cheaper even with the shipping costs.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:20AM
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I live in Houston, Texas and azalaes are very popular here!!! I have 15 new azaleas that I planted end of March and can tell you that yours looked healthy!!!! The darker green leaves will look droopy and then fall off. You can spray the leaves everyday and make sure you water often, azaleas love water. One suggestion is fertilize them every 45 dys starting after their blooms fall off, I use Color Star and follow the weight table on package. Move aside you mulch around the plant before laying fertilizer down and then put mulch back in place. Next year in the spring your azaleas will be COVERED with blooms!!!
Encore Azaleas will bloom twice during the year, once in spring and again in the fall and are low maintenance. Any questions about pest control let me know.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Currently your azalea is in good shape, with new foliage looking healthy.

"make sure you water often, azaleas love water"
Please don't follow these directions as the poster is in Houston TX and probably does fine with azaleas there, but this won't work in midwestern clay. As a former Ohioan, this will leave your azalea with roots deprived of oxygen from saturated soil. I would mulch around your azalea with wood chips which will help keep the ground evenly moist and will over time add organic matter. Don't put them right against the trunk, however; leave a few inches between the trunk and where the mulch starts. If you haven't had significant rain for more than a week, stick your finger down through the mulch into the soil around your azalea to feel whether it needs water. You don't want the rootball soggy, but you don't want to let it get really dry as it can be hard to get the grower's mix to rewet. You have chosen a reasonable spot for it where it gets good light, but shelter from the worst of the southern sun. This may help during the winter months. Keep your receipt and if/when it dies, get a refund.

akamainegrower referred to "iron clad" rhododendrons. Your Roseum elegans is one of them. They have the potential to get huge, though, so it isn't a great foundation plant. If you can plant it in a spot where it gets lots of summer light, but a building or evergreen gives it shade with the winter sun angle, you will be less likely to get winter-burned foliage. Planting a bit high in clay, and then putting soil around the raised part of the rootball and mulch on top of that will help prevent drainage issues, since as the chips start to rot the roots will grow into the nice organic rich soil that is to its liking. You will need to renew the mulch every year or two.

I didn't plant this roseum elegans (planted by PO), but it is 4' from ground level to the window sill, 12' to the gutter and the center of the plant is 6' from the house. The plant is about 20 years old.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:33PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

THANK YOU all so much for the advice. I am clueless as to what i am doing, so ive been going to the stores and looking at flowers and looking at tags and then buying them and hoping for the best. My yard doesnt even have one mature plant in it yet.
Akamainegrower, i thought it was a bit pricey as well and then when i seen something like it at lowes and read the tag and it was only 7 dollars i grabbed it up. Thank you for the online nursery info!! I thought the only things you can buy online is roots and bulbs, which wouldnt be a bad thing, its just i tried hosta roots and bleeding heart last year and nothing came up, which more then likely it was due to me not knowing what i am doing. So i figured once i learn a bit more then i might be able to try something like that again.
Annspor79, wow that is a lot of azleas. I bet they are pretty!! I figured id get one and try that and if it turns out okay next spring, then i will get some more. How can you tell if it has pests or not?? What kind of things should i look out for??
And nhbabs....OH MY GOSH!!!!!! that is so BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I only can hope mine will be half that pretty in a few!!! In my haste to get started on flowers, i bought quite a few and put them in the ground around the porch and now i dont have any raised beds. I wish i would of had a bit more patience and done that because now im worried about moving things too soon. I had no clue that they could get so big. Now im starting.To think that i may have put too many plants together in a spot. I tried to think of what it would look like down the road but i may have got a little too excited. Would it be safe to move the roseum now, or should i wait until next spring to do that?? I took a picture of the bed they are all in to see what yall think.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:49PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

Here is another shot of it..its got coral bells, hostas, bleeding heart, the azlea and the roseum

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:52PM
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