Home Shop Flowers Bloomin' Blog Find Florists About FSN Contact FSN Florists Only!
Find Your Local Florist:
Home Shop Flowers Bloomin' Blog Find Florists About FSN Contact FSN Florists Only!

Azalea Issues Leading to Browning

Ask the Expert: how to revive an azalea
my grandpa has three azalea bushes on the front of his house. they are kinda small. but one of the end ones isn’t doing too great. half of it basically looks dead and the other half isn’t spectacular but it looks a good bit better than the other half. the leaves and stems are turning brown as if they’re drying out but they have had plenty of water due to rainfall. he has treated it with some sort of triple threat funguside called fertiloan that is supposed fight fungus and mites but it still does not look good. any suggestions on what type of treatment it might need? Tim

Plant Expert Reply:
First, you might as well prune out the brown branches that are dead. This will do 2 things: 1) removes any disease tissue that might have twig blight, 2) should stimulate the plant to produce new growth. Don’t burn the branches instead place them in a garbage bag for pick up.

Second, make sure the azaleas are not getting too much water. Over-watering can present the same signs as under-watering and Azalea do not like wet feet. They are very susceptible to root rot. If your Azalea are newly planted, check the planting depth. The original top of the rootball should be slightly higher than ground level.

Planting An Azalea

Planting An Azalea

This drawing is my attempt at demonstrating the correct root-ball placement when planting an azalea. You want the root-ball positioned so that the top is slightly higher than ground level. You will take the soil you dug out of the hole and used it to close the gap but you won’t need to place it on top of the root-ball. You can cover the top of the ground and root-ball top with mulch. If the Azaleas are planted too deep, they will not properly drain and the plant could have problems just like the ones you are describing.

If water isn’t the issue, give the triple action time to work. It won’t correct the damage already done, but it will keep it from progressing. Spider mites and fungus can also cause Azaleas to turn brown. Triple Action has the right mixture to take care of both problems.

If you haven’t fertilized the azaleas, give them a dose of fertilizer specifically blended for azaleas. Your local garden center should have one. At our garden center we carry a Fertilome Azalea fertilizer and a Hi-yield Fertilizer that work well. Azaleas need a slow-release fertilizer once a month April thru August.

Good luck and keep me posted.


  1. wow that was way more than i expected. i really appreciate the advice and we will look into these solutions. thank you so much.

  2. The leaves on my baby azaleas have larg-ish brown spots on the leaves. Does anyone know what this is?

  3. If your Azaleas have turned completely burn “”looking””burnt is their a way to save them?..They have only been planted maybe 3 mth but we have had an abundance of rain this yr however it’s very well drained

  4. Leatha,

    IF the plants were recently planted and you have received too much rain, the plants make be in stress. Snap your branch starting at the tip and see if the you see green. Continue to snap the stems until you see green. If the plant still has green stems it should come out of the stress provided the stress issue has been taken care of. If too much water is the issue make sure that the water is draining away from the plant.

  5. Alene,

    Depends on what the brown spots look like. It could be a water stress issue or a fungus. Send a picture if you can and I will try to identify the problem.

  6. Hi, my azaleas has plenty of flowers but they dont open, turning down and fall… What it could be the problem? I planted about 3 months ago. Its on the sun. Thanks in advance!!

  7. Krisztina,

    There are many reasons why your azalea isn’t blooming. Most rhododendrons take 2 to 3 years to bloom from a rooted cutting unless forced. Some take longer and some bloom sooner. From seeds the plant may take 1 or 2 additional years. It could also be nutrients and fertilizing. Nitrogen promotes leaf and branch growth and discourages flower bud production. It can also force late season growth by frost damage. Phosphorus promotes flower bud production and hardiness. Potassium is necessary for well being of the plant. Hope this information helps!

  8. vivian gerard says:

    why do some of my azelas have brown branches and some have leaves

  9. Vivian,

    Are you azalea planted outside? If so the plant could have some winter dieback. Cut those branches off until you see green stems.

  10. Trisha Frost says:

    Hi. My small Azalea bush has been healthy and pretty. Recently though, we hsd lots of days with heavy rain storms. Now thge leaves have turned darkish and almost an Ashy color. They are starting to fall off too.
    What hss happened? Is ther something I can do to SAVE MY
    Trisha Frost

  11. Miroslava Casiano says:

    We are sorry to hear that Trisha. What you can try to do is make sure that your azalea is getting at least half a day of sunlight. Azaleas need light to be full and beautiful. If they are not getting enough light, be sure to move them to a better location. When you move them, take the time to trim them by following these instructions –> Trim your azalea back to half its size. Make sure the bottom is a little fuller than the top so that light will get through to all of the plant. Once you’ve trimmed the azalea you’ll need to use some fertilizer. This way the azalea gets the nutrients it needs and is also protected from bugs and insects. Hope this helps!

  12. I just bought my semi dwarf pink azaleas I haven’t planted them yet but the flowers are turning brown on all but one. what do I need to do to get them in the ground and make sure that they are in a good spot they get morning sun and it shades towards the evening. I don’t know what’s wrong with them I want to make sure that I plant them in a good spot

  13. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Lynna,
    Depending on how they have grown previously is how you need to plant them. If you bought them from a nursery that had them growing in the full sun, it would be best plant them in a sunny area, but if they were in a shaded area then it’s best to plant them in a shaded area. If they have to be in a sunny area, but they had started in the shade growing up then they will need to acclimate to the sun. You’re going to want to water your azaleas regularly.