Growing Azaleas in South Central Texas
You and I know a Tennessee boy really misses the Azaleas and Gardenias. Man they're beautiful and even Dogwoods too. We can grow Azaleas and Gardenias especially if we have a situation that gets morning sun and afternoon shade and if we acidify the soil.
Our soil here is very alkaline, up to 8.0. We need 3.4 - 4.5 for Azaleas and Gardenias. So what we have to do is literally grow these things in an artificial environment. Take out all of the soil you have and make up a mix of 2/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss and 1/3 washed sand or potting mix. Then over the years as the Sphagnum Peat Moss decomposes it will keep the soil acid. Regardless of how much soil acidifier you put on, or how much sulfur and anything else you put on, if you don't have that initial soil mix of 2/3 sphagnum peat, 1/3 washed sand or potting soil you will not grow good Azaleas. They will be yellow and stunted and sorry for you the rest of your time.
You can grow them beautiful like this if you will follow those simple procedures. Grow them in morning sun and afternoon shade and grow them in a mix of 2/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss and 1/3 washed sand or some type of potting mix.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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