Ask the Expert: re: azalea
I recently received a blooming azalea. It is loosing massive amounts of its leaves. What should I do? Sheila
Your plant is in shock. Probably from the move from the florist shop to your home or office. All plants will go through some shock when they are moved from one place to another. This won’t kill the plant if you take the proper steps to help it through the shock. With blooming Azaleas the shock is intensified when the plant is over-watered or under-watered.
The first thing I do when I receive a blooming plant is remove the beautiful foil wrapping. The foil wrapping makes for a great presentation but not for a great environment for the plant. You can enjoy the plant for a couple days with the foil on but, then it is imperative that you remove it. Why? Because the foil won’t let the plant (in this case a blooming Azalea) drain properly.
All plants need to have good drainage or they can get root rot. Of course too much water is not always the problem, too little water, exposure to too much cold or heat and light issues can, also, cause the plant to loose leaves. So, we must determine what is the root of your problem.
Check the soil for moisture. Is it dry or soggy? Correct either condition so that the soil is moist to the touch when you stick your finger an inch or two deep in the soil. (Tip: pull a little soil out from that level – can you roll it into a ball? If no it is too dry. If yes but you can sqeeze water from it to wet.)
Now check your light source. For a blooming Azalea, it needs bright light.
Make sure the plant is not exposed to a cold or hot draft. The air temperature needs to be a constant as possible. Normal household temperatures will usually suffice.
Once you have corrected all of these issue, you are good to go from here on out. However, you need to keep in mind that the damage may have occurred before you received it. Don’t panic plants are very resilient and will bounce back when given the right conditions. The key is to look for new growth and DON’T Fertilize Til Plant is out of shock. It might take a week or two but the leaves will stop falling off and new growth will start to emerge. Just make sure to keep all of your conditions light, temperature and moisture constant. Good luck and keep me posted.