I am expecting a gift of 16 azaleas within the next couple of weeks.
What do I do? Dig the holes and put them in the ground or try to keep them going over the winter inside?
Hello Wild City Woman,
I would get them in the gound right away provided that your soil has been prepared. I just planted mine a few weeks ago and I am sure that they will be fine. I would recommend ammending the soil to ensure that the ph is between 5-6.5 or so. I would also add a decent amount of organic material to the soil. Azaleas like rich acidic soil. Make sure that you don't plant them too deep, its best to put them in raised beds and to put the top of the root ball about a half inch above the ground. Use lots of mulch, I like either pine needles or cedar mulch. Pine needles tend to be quite cheep if you can find a neighbour who wants to get rid of theirs.
I planted 3 Azaleas in my garden just last week. Rhododendron prunifolium, R. periclymeniodes and R. calendulaceum. I chose North American native azaleas because they can handle the hot summers better than most other ones.
OK - I don't have them yet - maybe won't get them for another two weeks.
The fella' that brings them works at a major bank (a security guard/maintenance - that bank changes their plants every 6 weeks or so. I figure it's another two weeks to wait.
The reason I know it's azaleas is 'cause each lot of plants comes in two boxes - and it's the box from the current plants - heh! heh! That's how I know it's azaleas next.
So, as you probably know, we already have a 'dusting' of snow here in the city - I'll be ok if it holds around 7 celsius for a couple of weeks, but I don't think it will.
What will I do - keep them inside? If so, where? In shady corners? They don't like a lot of sun, do they?
Well, if it is a few weeks away before you get them, I would pot them and keep them reasonably moist in the garage or a place that won't freeze their roots solid.
Contrary to popular belief azaleas like sun, but they don't like their roots to dry out. Its best to give them morning sun and tall shade in the afternoon. The more morning sun they get, the more blooms you will have in coming years.
I wouldn't keep them indoors unless you have a cool dark place to keep them. Make sure to check them to see if they need water, people tend to forget that plants need water even when they are dormant.
I actually didn't know you had snow up there, it has been too nice down here yet (Windsor weather is alot different than up North in the GTA). They are calling for some snow on Wednesday, but I think the ground is too warm yet so we will see.
Good luck with them when you get them.
Well, we haven't had snow yet - supposed to get it today, but I didn't see it. They're talking about Thursday now.
There's snow farther north, of course.
It's cold though. I was out planting some tulip bulbs that came from a friend on Vancouver Island - they have problems with deer eating them, so they dug them up and sent them to me.
Whew! So I spent the afternoon digging them in. But that's about it, I guess - I've done well with gardening this big lot all season, it's time to put it away.
Oh - about keeping them in a cool dark place. The office will be pretty cool and I guess it will be dark enough in the corner I plan on.
Maybe I won't put any in the lobby after all.
Maybe I'll be lucky and they won't arrive till after Christmas. Then I won't have to wait so long till spring.