azaleas that do not bloom – Questions and Answers Garden

I have for about 4 years an azalea that made me a few flowers in the first year and then you have not seen anything anymore – the foliage grows a lot and seems to be fine. I prune it a lot so that it doesn’t grow excessively and now from the ground I have put it in a vase but with flowers even this year nothing – it needs sun or half shade? now I have put it in my garden in a sunny position, before it was on the balcony to the north but with lots of light.

Will I ever be able to see its flowers??????


Response : azaleas that do not bloom

Dear Laura,

azaleas are part of the same genus as rhododendrons, and are native to Asia; they are acidophilic plants, and therefore, in order to best develop, they need acid soil: If you water them with water rich in limestone, at least every two or three years you will have to replace the soil in the pot with a special substratum for acidophilic plants, mainly made up of peat; in order to avoid that the leaves turn yellow, due to their impossibility to absorb iron from soils not suitable for their development, from March to September (every 12-15 days), provide some fertilizer for acidophilic plants, which contains chelated iron, easily absorbed by the roots of the azaleas.

This is to have a healthy plant; now let’s get to the flowers, the main reason why your azaleas don’t bloom is because you prune them regularly: azaleas bloom in early spring, on the branches of the previous year; this means that already at the end of summer they are preparing the floral buds; if you prune them too often, on the one hand you go to cut away the floral buds, on the other hand you force the plant to produce always new vegetation, with great effort of energies, which are taken away from those to produce flowers: the result of an azalea that is regularly pruned is an azalea without flowers.

If your azaleas shrub tends to grow a lot, you can prune it, but only after flowering; in fact, if they are not pruned, azaleas tend to remain quite compact, and often do not need any kind of pruning, except the removal of the apex of the branches that have flowered, so as to avoid wasting time and energy in the production of seeds. The azaleas in the wild are plants of the undergrowth, accustomed to the luminous half shade, with a cool and humid climate.

Not knowing where you live, I can not tell you if it is appropriate to keep your azalea in full sun; these plants do not like the hot heat, and therefore in many regions of Italy, especially in summer, it is good that they enjoy the coolness of half a shade, especially in the hottest hours of the day, but if you live in the regions of the extreme north of Italy, or in a mountain place, with cool nights even in summer, then you can safely keep your azalea in full sun throughout the year.

However, consider that these plants love a humid climate, and it is much more difficult to keep the humidity high in full sun in August, even if we are talking about Bolzano.

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