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Growing Acid Loving Plants In South Central Texas


I tell you this digging is hard. I ought to let my wife or children do this for sure, but I love to grow azaleas and I love to grow gardenias and this is what you have to do. You have to excavate a hole on the side of the house that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. These plants azaleas, gardenias, and hydrangeas cannot take afternoon sun in the summertime so you have to excavate the soil.

You have to replace it with something that's acid that the plants will like to grow in. Then you make a mix of about 2/3 Canadian Sphagnum Peat and 1/3 washed sand. When the peat breaks down it will produce an acid product. The washed sand will stabilize the acid product that's produced.

Now I've had an azalea here for fifteen years and all of a sudden it got yellow on me and started dying. I pulled it up and looked and it had gotten it's roots out of the nice mix that I had fixed for it back into that old South Texas soil. So what I'm going to do this time is take a plastic container, take the bottom out for good drainage, and put it in there. When I plant my plant in that desirable mix the roots will not get out of this plastic for a long, long time.

So if you want to grow azaleas and gardenias remember 2/3 Sphagnum Peat and 1/3 washed sand. Plant it where it gets morning sun afternoon shade and you can beautify your landscape with gardenias, azaleas, roses, hydrangeas, and all sorts of things.

This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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