Azalea bush in southern California
We bought a house with a beautiful yard that has about 6 azalea bushes. None of them look really robust. They are starting to bloom now in the end of January. Having moved here from the Midwest, I am uncertain as to when they should bloom and when I should feed them. I did feed them once in the fall. How should I be caring for them in this climate? They are spread out in the front and backyard and do not get much direct sunlight, as they are planted next to tall fences or the house which provides shade.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
After the Azalea are done blooming, it will be a good time to clean up the plants. Pruning can help you reshape the plants and renew the plants.
Lack of Nitrogen and Iron are the most common deficiencies in Azaleas plants.
A good organic mulch is sometimes the only fertilizer your plants will need. Since you are new to the garden and not sure how the soil has been treated, you may want to do a soil test.
This will give the answers as to what the plants need. If the plants leaves lose their dark green color, you will want to know the ph level.
If the soil test show to low of nutrients in the soil, you can add fertilizer in spring and fall. Use a granular, acid based fertilizer. Do not over fertilize as the Azalea have shallow root systems and they can be damaged easily.
Here is some links to help you.
Your local County Extension Office can help you with a soil test.