Azaleas are always a springtime favorite, although they can be difficult to grow in Oklahoma. Here are Loretta Aaron’s tips on growing these beautiful shrubs for a great springtime show.
•What variety do I choose?
Azaleas in bud and bloom will soon be in good supply at garden centers. There was a time not too many years ago when azaleas were considered as plants for the Deep South only. Now there are some varieties that do well in this area.
There are both deciduous and evergreen varieties. Always an old dependable one is the family of Kurume, which comes in several colors. A newer one, also proven to do well, is Girard family. “Hot Shot” in the Girard is a pretty orange, while “Cathy” is a pristine white.
•Where and how do I plant them?
Azaleas will not grow in full sun in tight clay soil. They will do well in full shade, morning sun or filtered sunlight. Prepare the area before planting. Soil must be loose, well drained, and slightly acid. Addition of sphagnum peat moss will take care of the acidity. The plants must have perfect drainage. If drainage is a problem, raise the area slightly.
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