En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: Mount Vernon, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Problems with azaleas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last summer I planted 10 evergreen Azaleas "Hino Crimson" I sprinkled a little rhody fertilizer in their holes before planting and gave them plenty of water all summer. They are all doing fine except for 3 of them that have reddish leaves and are not blooming this spring, they don't look very healthy.

ANSWER:

Azaleas are considered woodland understory plants. They need acid soil, which is provided by the leaf drop of deciduous trees, especially pines. They can take full sun, but prefer some shade. Since most of your plants are thriving, we can assume that your soil is not the problem.

We found only one azalea native to Washington, the Rhododendron albiflorum (Cascade azalea). However, this really doesn't matter, since you mentioned a cultivar name for your plants. When a plant has been hybridized, you don't know the plants from which it came, and it is hard to make a diagnosis when there are problems. The original species of your "Hino Crimson" are natives of Kurume, Japan. The specific parents are cultivars of Rhododendron obtusum named "Amoenum" and "Hinade-giri". Since none of these plants is native to North America, we are not going to have any information on them in our Native Plant Database. The goal of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to promote, propagate and protect plants native to North America. However, we will try to help you find the problem. Go to this Clemson University Extension website Azalea and Rhododendron Pests and see if any of the symptoms ring a bell. Since the whole plant is doing poorly, and not blooming, we suspect it is a problem with the roots, either root borers or root rot. For more local information and help, contact your Skagit County Extension Service.

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Texas Redbud Suddenly Died in NM
November 06, 2014 - We had a Texas redbud, approximately 5 1/2 years old. It had been doing great then all of a sudden after it bloomed this spring, the leaves appeared but then shriveled right away. We noticed the trunk...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Long Beach, NY.
August 10, 2011 - I have recently added 1500sq.ft. to my backyard. My backyard faces a busy road. I would like to place native trees and bushes along the fence for added privacy, shade and to protect my house from the...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center