Last spring a neighbour gave me some azaleas she had dug up and left in pots, bare rooted for about 6 weeks. They barely survived the winter in her garden I suspect because they did not have a chance to root properly as they were planted in a very open, windy location.
Never one to turn down free plants I tucked them in to my back bush, added some peat moss, some good soil and elemental sulfur for acidity. Added to this I fertilized and watered regularly & hoped for the best. Although the plants did not have a lot of green on them last year I was happily rewarded with some lovely bright blooms this spring.
From this experience I confirmed some of the most basic of good gardening:
- Location, location, location. Put the right plant in the right place or as more commonly stated choose the right plant for your location. These azaleas needed some shade and some protection from drying winds.
- Good soil grows good plants. Azaleas need slightly acidic soils so I planted these under some old oak trees and added some soil ammendments to both improve the condition of the soil and increase the soil acidity.
- Proper care in terms of fertilizing, pruning and watering until established are critical to helping new plants thrive.
Now I can enjoy these blooms for many years. Unfortunately for my neighbour, they are planted on the opposite side of my yard so she will have to come visit to enjoy them as well!
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