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color change

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  • mark halim
    [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC] I have an unusual phenomenom happening  - all my azaleas are more reddish looking this year (except for
    Message 1 of 3 , May 3, 2009
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      [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]
      I have an unusual phenomenom happening  - all my azaleas are more reddish looking this year (except for my one white one and the evergreen pale lilac one).  I have about a dozen of them, different vartieties, colors include dark orange, red, pink, fuschia, etc, planted all around the yard.  Live in Missouri (zone 5-6) south of St Louis in the area that is hilly and wooded generally with oaks, maple, hickory, cedar, redbud, and dogwood.  The ground is generally a nightmare--lots of red clay and rock that has to be amended to grow anything. 
      Our spring has been great for vegetation - plenty of rain and unusually cool for us (today should be in 70s but is upper 50's), which actually is keeping the spring blooms longer than normal. Plus, haven't seen the dogwoods this beautiful in years--the blooms are bigger than they have been in a long, long, time. Come to thing of it, haven't seen the azalea blooms this big in a while, either.
      Never had a soil test but assume our soil is generally acidic because of the woods.  Some azaleas I've had 20+ years and although slow-growing, they do quite well as far as blooms, without adding acidic amendments to the soil.  I heard blueberries are hard to grow but started a few 2 years ago and they are flourishing.
      Curious to see if anyone might know what is causing the azalea blooms to turn red.
       
    • Barry Sperling
      Hi Mark, You seem to know how to take care of azaleas so we should be able to rule out problems in that direction. I believe that no one currently knows why
      Message 2 of 3 , May 4, 2009
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        Hi Mark,
        You seem to know how to take care of azaleas so we should be able to
        rule out problems in that direction. I believe that no one currently
        knows why there are significant color changes in azaleas from year to
        year. As the only real variables are weather and soil, we are probably
        dealing with a complex interaction of weather and enzymes. The enzymes
        may be made more or less functional at different times by the weather at
        certain times in the development of the flower (from the previous summer
        to the spring). At present I don't think anyone can predict or
        accurately explain any particular color change.
        For myself, I had a plant with a strong border year after year
        (Ashley Ruth - a Bob Stewart hybrid) open with nothing but the pale pink
        base color on the flower this year. It never happened before. Someday
        we'll know how and when this happened, but not now.
        Good luck,
        Barry


        mark halim wrote:
        >
        >
        > [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]
        > I have an unusual phenomenom happening - all my azaleas are more
        > reddish looking this year (except for my one white one and the
        > evergreen pale lilac one). I have about a dozen of them, different
        > vartieties, colors include dark orange, red, pink, fuschia, etc,
        > planted all around the yard. Live in Missouri (zone 5-6) south of St
        > Louis in the area that is hilly and wooded generally with oaks, maple,
        > hickory, cedar, redbud, and dogwood. The ground is generally a
        > nightmare--lots of red clay and rock that has to be amended to grow
        > anything.
        > Our spring has been great for vegetation - plenty of rain and
        > unusually cool for us (today should be in 70s but is upper 50's),
        > which actually is keeping the spring blooms longer than normal. Plus,
        > haven't seen the dogwoods this beautiful in years--the blooms are
        > bigger than they have been in a long, long, time. Come to thing of it,
        > haven't seen the azalea blooms this big in a while, either.
        > Never had a soil test but assume our soil is generally acidic because
        > of the woods. Some azaleas I've had 20+ years and although
        > slow-growing, they do quite well as far as blooms, without adding
        > acidic amendments to the soil. I heard blueberries are hard to grow
        > but started a few 2 years ago and they are flourishing.
        > Curious to see if anyone might know what is causing the azalea blooms
        > to turn red.
      • George Klump
        5 May 2009 Mark, I agree with Barry. Sometimes in addition to soil and enzyme changes, one finds parentage from way back suddenly erupting in the flower
        Message 3 of 3 , May 5, 2009
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          5 May 2009

          Mark,

          I agree with Barry.  Sometimes in addition to soil and enzyme changes, one finds parentage from way back suddenly erupting in the flower characteristics or the leaves or both.  It may depend in part on the stability of the original hybrid.  No one really knows for sure.

          George Klump
          Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA





          Barry Sperling wrote:

          Hi Mark,
          You seem to know how to take care of azaleas so we should be able to
          rule out problems in that direction. I believe that no one currently
          knows why there are significant color changes in azaleas from year to
          year. As the only real variables are weather and soil, we are probably
          dealing with a complex interaction of weather and enzymes. The enzymes
          may be made more or less functional at different times by the weather at
          certain times in the development of the flower (from the previous summer
          to the spring). At present I don't think anyone can predict or
          accurately explain any particular color change.
          For myself, I had a plant with a strong border year after year
          (Ashley Ruth - a Bob Stewart hybrid) open with nothing but the pale pink
          base color on the flower this year. It never happened before. Someday
          we'll know how and when this happened, but not now.
          Good luck,
          Barry

          mark halim wrote:
          >
          >
          > [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]
          > I have an unusual phenomenom happening - all my azaleas are more
          > reddish looking this year (except for my one white one and the
          > evergreen pale lilac one). I have about a dozen of them, different
          > vartieties, colors include dark orange, red, pink, fuschia, etc,
          > planted all around the yard. Live in Missouri (zone 5-6) south of St
          > Louis in the area that is hilly and wooded generally with oaks, maple,
          > hickory, cedar, redbud, and dogwood. The ground is generally a
          > nightmare--lots of red clay and rock that has to be amended to grow
          > anything.
          > Our spring has been great for vegetation - plenty of rain and
          > unusually cool for us (today should be in 70s but is upper 50's),
          > which actually is keeping the spring blooms longer than normal. Plus,
          > haven't seen the dogwoods this beautiful in years--the blooms are
          > bigger than they have been in a long, long, time. Come to thing of it,
          > haven't seen the azalea blooms this big in a while, either.
          > Never had a soil test but assume our soil is generally acidic because
          > of the woods. Some azaleas I've had 20+ years and although
          > slow-growing, they do quite well as far as blooms, without adding
          > acidic amendments to the soil. I heard blueberries are hard to grow
          > but started a few 2 years ago and they are flourishing.
          > Curious to see if anyone might know what is causing the azalea blooms
          > to turn red.

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