Growing UNRRA Mollis Hybrid Azalea Plant

Variety: Rhododendron
Family: Ericaceae
Cultivar: UNRRA
Zones: 5 to 8
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant
Soil Type: Sandy loam to clay loam
Soil pH: 4.5 to 6
Sunlight: Partial shade to full sun
Watering: Normal to moist
Fertilizer: Flowering shrub and tree fertilizer

Availability: Sold as live, potted plants.

When to plant: Plant UNRRA Mollis Hybrid Azalea at any time during the growing season when there is no danger of frost.

Planting Method

  • CONTAINER: Dig a planting hole twice the size of the root ball and as deep as the soil in the container. Center in the planting hole and backfill with soil. Create a water ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. The water ring will help divert water to the outside roots and will encourage proper root growth and nourishment. Mulch with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark and water well.
  • BALLED AND BURLAPED: Dig a planting hole three times the size of the root ball and as deep as the root ball. Scarify the sides of the planting hole with a pitchfork or shovel. If the burlap is synthetic, remove and discard it, as synthetic burlap does not decompose. Center in the planting hole. Remove any staples or ties holding organic burlap on the plant. Fold the top of the burlap down far enough into the planting hole so that it is completely covered when you backfill. Backfill with soil. Create a water ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. Mulch with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark and water well.
  • BARE ROOT: Soak the roots for at least eight hours to ensure proper hydration. Dig a planting hole as wide as the spread-out roots and as deep as the discoloration on the trunk, which shows how deep the azalea was previously planted. Center in the planting hole and backfill with soil. Create a water ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. Mulch with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark and water well.

Water with at least an inch of water per week. The soil should be kept moist to a depth of 18 inches. Water again when the top few inches of soil dries out. Always water deeply, as frequent, shallow watering encourages a shallow root system and an unhealthy plant.

Fertilize this plant with phosphorus during the first year. Phosphorus encourages root growth. Once established, fertilize with flowering shrub and tree fertilizer in the spring, before new growth appears. If a soil test shows low or missing nutrients, use a nutrient-specific fertilizer instead of an all-purpose fertilizer. If you use organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion, be sure to follow the instructions on the package, as different brands have different ingredients and strengths.

UNRRA Mollis Hybrid Azalea is a low-maintenance shrub that produces green foliage and fragrant, showy, single flowers in shades of orange and red. The flowers are long lasting.

Cut flowers early in the morning before the dew dries. Use a sharp knife or gardening shears to make an angled cut on the stem. Immediately immerse in cool water. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water to provide the blooms with nutrients. Change the water every other day, adding a teaspoon of sugar and making a fresh, angled stem cut at each water change.


  • Black Spot: Black spot shows up on young leaves as black circles. The circles are irregular and will sometimes have a yellow halo. Black spot causes the leaves to yellow and fall off the plant. New leaves will follow the same pattern. If you notice black spot, water the plants from the bottom, keeping the leaves dry. Always keep plants properly pruned. Dip shears or knife in a water-bleach solution after each cut when pruning. Mulch plants with at least 2 to 3 inches of mulch. If you cannot get black spot under control with these methods, remove the infected plants, then spray the rest with a fungicide.
  • 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.
  • Leaf Spots: Bacteria or fungi cause brown or black spots on leaves. The leaf spots have no particular shape, but the edges look yellow. People, rain and insects spread leaf spots. When the plant is dry, remove the infected leaves. Be sure to keep the plant pruned properly, and clean up any dropped leaves under the plant. Water plants from below, taking care to keep the foliage dry. Leaf spots can also be controlled with fungicide.
  • 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.
  • Rusts: Rusts generally overwinter on plant foliage and spent flowers. They are host-specific and usually appear as small, yellow or bright-orange pustules under the leaves. Sometimes the pustules can be brown. Other fungi and splashing water causes most rust problems. Rust tends to worsen when the weather gets moist. To control rust problems, water the plant from the base, keeping the foliage dry. Make sure the plants have enough air flow to all leaves by thinning and pruning. Water only during the day, giving plants a chance to dry before nightfall. Rusts can also be controlled with a fungicide.
  • Southern Blight: Southern blight is a fungus that leaves lesions on the stem of a plant. The lesions can usually be found near the soil line. The lesions cause the plant to suddenly wilt. This fungus likes temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be controlled with a fungicide.


  • 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.

Prune UNRRA Mollis Hybrid Azalea in the spring and throughout the growing season for dead and decaying plant matter. This plant has growth buds. If you pinch the terminal buds (at the end of each branch) off, the lateral buds will be forced to bloom.

Saving Seeds
Propagate with cuttings. Cut a six-inch stem tip and dip it in rooting powder. Plant the stem tip in amended soil and water well. 

Related Life123 Articles

The Novelty Glen Dale Azalea plant is an evergreen rhododendron available with a variety of colored flowers, allowing you to pick the shades that best match your garden.

Rossy Lights azalea bushes provide a dazzling display of pink blooms in your landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions on
More Related Life123 Articles

Get some tips for C Esvled Mollis Hybrid Azalea care and harvesting.

Calder Knaphill Azalea care can be a bit involved because of the plant's susceptibility to diseases and pests.

Learn about the proper care and planting of E. Cuthbert Mollis Hybrid Azalea.

© 2015 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company