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Azalea compatibility with Brugmansia

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  • Carolyn Toranski
    [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC] Hello! I live in zone 9b (San Francisco Bay Area). I recently was gifted two florist azaleas of an
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 5, 2012
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      [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]

      Hello! I live in zone 9b (San Francisco Bay Area). I recently was gifted two florist azaleas of an unknown variety. I have been considering transplanting them from their containers into the ground. The spot I would prefer to plant them in would be under my 4 year old brugmansia, which is against a north facing wall and receives indirect bright light all day and later afternoon sun (from 5 - 7pm) to add some greenery. I believe they are of an evergreen variety as the one I received initially dropped its leaves when the seasons changed from winter to spring and is now regrowing them. I understand azaleas like to be planted near or under trees, and the brugmansia is trimmed into a tree shape. However, I am concerned with their compatibility (competition for nutrients, water, and root space)! My soil is naturally clay-like but I add and mix potting soil and manure about once a year. I have placed the azaleas in their containers in the positions I would like to plant them in order to determine whether they like these spots or not. So far the first's leaves are regrowing and the second's flowers have begun blooming. They've been in this position for about 4 days now, however. I've tried looking online for azalea-brugmansia compatibility but have been unsuccessful. Any help will be appreciated!

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    • George Klump
      5 June 2012 An interesting set of conditions you have described here, Carolyn. Since you got these florist azaleas as a gift, they are very likely Belgian
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 5, 2012
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        5 June 2012

        An interesting set of conditions you have described here, Carolyn.  Since you got these "florist" azaleas as a gift, they are very likely Belgian Indica azaleas, since those are rather easy to force bloom. 

        Since you want to plant them in the soil -- and they would grow much better that way than in a pot -- I would suggest this procedure.  First, measure the diameter of the rootball which is probably about six inches.  Then, see if the height isn't about the same.  Assuming this is about right, then, dig a hole away from any tree roots which might grow over the azalea roots and crush them.  Make the hole about eighteen inches in diameter and perhaps seven or eight inches deep. 

        Second, have some coarse peat most, perlite and shredded redwood bark at hand.  Mix these three together physically in equal parts by volume, i.e. 1 - 1 - 1.  Fill the hole you've dug about two-thirds of the way with this mixture and, then, take your hose and soak it thoroughly till it becomes a "soup".  Let it drain a bit.  While this is happening, take the azalea out of the pot and, using your hose, blow off as much of the rootball dirt as you can, perhaps 60% or more.  That won't hurt.  By this time the original hole you've dug should be drained reasonably well.  Take your azalea [partially bare root now] and set it in the middle of the hole you've dug spreading the roots, especially the big ones, out away from the azalea.  Then, fill the hole around the plant the rest of the way with the mixture just up to the point on the stem where it was in the pot, NO HIGHER.  Water that the same way, i.e. soak it and walk away. 

        Third, along about the 4th of July feed it with a cupful of cottonseed meal spread around the soil at the base of the plant.  [It helps, if the soil has been watered some first.]  Then, water in the cottonseed meal gently.  You can do this again on Labor Day.  Azaleas do not need much feeding.  In fact they tend not to like too much feeding.  So we've developed a schedule of three times annually: Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  That's enough!

        I have about three different kinds of Brugmansia around the property.  One is near an established lemon tree.  Another is out front in its own area.  Azaleas can be planted almost anywhere at any reasonable time.  However, I wouldn't plant them too close to the Brugmansia, since those plants do spread in time.  If you would give the azaleas a little space around the Brugmansia, say, at least five feet from the Brugmansia, you will probably come out alright. 

        You mention that your soil is more clay than anything else.  Go to Home Depot or any convenient nursery you know close to you and buy some bags of gypsum [calcium sulphate].  It's inexpensive and easy to handle.  Get several bags of it and spread it around on your soil, perhaps an eighth-inch deep, even on your lawn, if you wish.  Gently water it into your soil.  Give it about a week.  It will break up your soil so that you will have much better drainage which you will have to have, if your azaleas are to be successful.  I would suggest doing this twice annually, say, in the spring and in the autumn.  Azaleas will take just about all the water you can give them SO LONG AS it drains away from the roots just about as fast as it comes in.  Azalea roots love the moisture, but they won't tolerate standing in water.  That leads to root rot. 

        Those are my suggestions.

        George E. Klump
        Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA

         











        On 6/5/2012 3:52 PM, Carolyn Toranski wrote:  

        [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]

        Hello! I live in zone 9b (San Francisco Bay Area). I recently was gifted two florist azaleas of an unknown variety. I have been considering transplanting them from their containers into the ground. The spot I would prefer to plant them in would be under my 4 year old brugmansia, which is against a north facing wall and receives indirect bright light all day and later afternoon sun (from 5 - 7pm) to add some greenery. I believe they are of an evergreen variety as the one I received initially dropped its leaves when the seasons changed from winter to spring and is now regrowing them. I understand azaleas like to be planted near or under trees, and the brugmansia is trimmed into a tree shape. However, I am concerned with their compatibility (competition for nutrients, water, and root space)! My soil is naturally clay-like but I add and mix potting soil and manure about once a year. I have placed the azaleas in their containers in the positions I would like to plant them in order to determine whether they like these spots or not. So far the first's leaves are regrowing and the second's flowers have begun blooming. They've been in this position for about 4 days now, however. I've tried looking online for azalea-brugmansia compatibility but have been unsuccessful. Any help will be appreciated!

        Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android


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