Growing Rosy Lights Azalea Bushes

Variety: Rhododendron
Family: Ericaceae
Cultivar: Rosy Lights
Zones: 5 to 8
AHS Heat Zone: 5 to 9
Soil Type: Sandy loam to clay loam
Soil pH: 4.5 to 6.5
Sunlight: Partial shade to sun
Watering: Normal
Fertilizer: Flowering shrub and tree fertilizer
Availability: Sold as live, potted plants or root cuttings

When to plant: Rosy Lights Azalea can be planted at any time there is no danger of frost.

Planting Method
Dig a planting hole twice the width of the root ball and as deep as the soil in the container. Fill the hole with water. Place the Rosy Lights Azalea into the hole and fill it in with soil. If this plant came wrapped in organic burlap, you can leave the burlap on the root ball. Once the plant is in the planting hole, remove any staples or ties holding the burlap around the root ball and fold the burlap down, so that it is completely covered with soil. Create a watering ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. Mulch the plant and water well. The watering ring will divert water to the outside of the shrub, encouraging the roots to grow.

Watering

Water with at least an inch of water per week. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Deep watering is always preferable to frequent, shallow waterings, as deep watering encourages root growth and a stronger, healthier plant.

Fertilizing
Fertilize the young Rosy Lights Azalea with a phosphorus-based fertilizer. Once the plant becomes established, fertilize once a year with a good, all-around flowering shrub and tree fertilizer. Prior to fertilizing, do a soil test to be sure all of the needed nutrients are present. If the soil is low on a specific nutrient, use a fertilizer with the missing nutrient.

Production
Rosy Lights Azalea is a low-maintenance, deciduous shrub that produces leaves that are mid-green in color, along with showy, purple-red flowers with orange blotches.

Harvesting
Cut flowers early in the morning before the dew dries. Cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife or garden shears, then immediately immerse them in cold water. Put a teaspoon of sugar in the vase water, and change the water every other day to prevent bacteria from forming. When changing the water, snip the stem at an angle.

Diseases

  • Blight: Blights are caused by various fungi and bacteria. Blights spread quickly and can kill all the plants in an area. There are many different types of blight, and each type has its own method of control. Help prevent blight from attacking this plant by keeping it disease and pest free.
  • Chlorosis: Chlorosis causes the leaves, particularly vein areas, to turn yellow. The plant turns yellow because the soil has too much iron. Too much iron can be caused by a higher pH than what the plant needs or by waterlogged soil. Chlorosis also occurs when plants are placed close to concrete surfaces.
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungus that usually affects plants that have low air circulation and inadequate light. It is a bigger problem in the early spring and fall months, when the temperatures swing from high during the day to low at night, especially in zones with a lot of humidity. Powdery mildew forms a white or gray coating on the top of the leaves, making them turn yellow, curl up and drop off. It also causes stunted fruit that drops early. To control powdery mildew, decrease watering, use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and keep water off the foliage. Apply fungicides as directed.
  • Pythium and Phytophtora Root Rot: Pythium and phytophtora root rot attack a plant if there are fungal spores in the soil and the plant is overwatered, creating a high moisture level. Roots turn black and break. Leaves yellow and fall off, usually from the bottom up. Contaminated water or soil mix is the usual cause of root rot. To control this disease, remove infected plants, make sure the soil is well-drained and do not overwater or overfertilize plants. There is no chemical treatment for root rot.

Pests

  • Aphids: The aphid is a small insect that forms clusters on seedlings and new plant growth. It's pear-shaped body ranges from 1/16- to 3/8-inch long. Aphids spread quickly, feeding on plant juices, which weakens the plant. Signs of infection include honeydew and sooty mold on plants, curling leaves, stunted growth and yellowing of foliage. Remove infected plant matter and keep the garden weed-free. Do not use high-nitrogen fertilizer, as this promotes aphids. If you have a light infestation, you can spray the aphids off the plant with water, then apply insecticidal soaps or pesticides. Aphids will develop a resistance to pesticides, so use them sparingly and as a last resort. If you do not wish to use insecticides or pesticides, you can introduce natural enemies of the aphid, such as lacewings, parasitic wasps or pirate bugs.
  • Caterpillars: Caterpillars are heavy feeders and can be quite destructive. They are the immature forms of butterflies and moths. Control caterpillars by removing all weeds around the area and introducing parasitic wasps. Certain insecticidal soaps and oils will kill caterpillars.
  • Lacebugs: Lacebugs are rectangular, short bugs with wings that look like lace, hence their name. They suck the sap out of plants. Though they have wings, they do not fly. They leave spots on plants that look like bleach was splattered on them, as well as hard, black excrement. Most of the damage by lacebugs is done underneath the leaves of a plant. They can be washed away with soap and water and insecticides or, in a mild infestation, by simply removing infected leaves.
  • Scale Insects: The 1/8-inch-long scale insect attaches itself to the leaves and stems of plants. While the males have wings, the females do not, and spend their lives attached to the plant, sucking out juices with their piercing mouth parts. The scale insect excretes honeydew, which causes sooty mold that attracts ants. Cut any infected leaves off the plants. If the stems are also infected, you may have to dispose of the entire plant. You may be able to control them with insecticidal soaps or pesticides. You can also introduce parasitic wasps to your garden, as they are the scale insect's natural enemies. Lady beetles are also natural enemies.
  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies are less than 1/8 of an inch long, with white wings and yellow bodies. Their eggs hatch in 8 to 11 days. They have piercing mouthparts and suck the juices from plants, which causes stunted growth and yellow leaves. They can be controlled with pesticides, but in order for them to be effective, the underside of the leaves must be treated. Parasitic wasps and lady beetles can be used for outdoor control.

Cleanup
Prune Rosy Lights Azalea each spring and throughout the growing season for dead and decaying plant matter. Removing dead and decaying wood leaves room for new growth and improves air flow to the interior of the plant. Pinch the stem tips early in the season to encourage a bushier shrub.

Saving Seeds
The best way to propagate the Rosy Lights Azalea is to use a stem cutting. Cut a non-woody stem, making sure there are a few leaves, but no buds, on the stem. Dip the stem in rooting powder, then plant in a container. Once the plant is established, you can transplant it outside.

Warning: The Rosy Lights Azalea is susceptible to blight. Blights are caused by various fungi and bacteria. There are many different types of blight, and each type has its own method of control. Help prevent blight from attacking this plant by keeping it disease and pest-free.

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