The first step to healthy Azaleas is to emulate their natural environment. This means providing a well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Sunlight should be moderate to filtered, with a soil pH of 5.0 – 5.5. Studies have shown that Azaleas want a fungal dominated soil ecology, with low phosphate and an organic nitrogen source. Most commercial Azalea fertilizers are chemical based with high phosphate and a salt content that raises pH. If you combine high phosphate levels with salt-laden irrigation water and its high pH, Azaleas can have a real problem. Chemical-based fertilizers can also attract lace bugs and whiteflies, and provide an opening for Chlorosis, or even Dieback.
The best Azalea care product by far, is MicroLife Azalea 6-2- 4. Developed in conjunction with Mr. Bart Brechter, Garden Curator of the fabulous Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston, Texas, MicroLife Azalea 6-2- 4 is 100% slow release and absolutely will not burn. It helps keep soil pH low, removes salts, and provides proper soil ecology. You get the correct 3-1- 2 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio along with over 100 organic nutrients, minerals, vitamins, natural plant hormones, natural plant stimulators, essential sugars/amino acids/carbon/protein and billions of beneficial microbes.
As an added benefit, due to the acidic nature of MicroLife Azalea 6-2- 4 and the extra humates it provides, it is being used successfully throughout Texas to help many other species of plants growing in soil with pH levels too high. All lawns, ornamentals, flowers and vegetables that need more acidic soil will benefit greatly with its use.
Back to Azaleas; for best ever, fertilizer 3 – 4 a year with MicroLife Azalea 6-2- 4, mulch with Nature’s Way Azalea Mulch, provide proper watering and you are on your way to healthy and happy Azaleas.