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?


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


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.


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 Non-Natives Questions

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Trimming spineless yucca in Chicago
April 05, 2011 - I have a spineless yucca (indoors) which is 11 feet tall and thirty-five years old. When the yucca recently started to scrape the ceiling, I moved it away (roughly 20 feet) from the windows to an area...
view the full question and answer

Can non-native guavas be successfully moved from Gulfport MS?
April 19, 2011 - Can guavas be moved successfully from one established planted location to another? My mother is having to relocate due to MDOT and we would like to move her established guavas. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
March 23, 2012 - Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower ide...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate in Albuquerque
September 07, 2009 - I don't know if they are now considered native or not but I am interested in planting Principia or Pomegranates in Albuquerque, windy and a mile high. Do I have a chance?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center