How to Properly Care for a Swamp Azalea Plant

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    General Care

    • Plant swamp azaleas in an area where they will receive sun and shade. Filtered sunlight is optimal as they do not do well in full sun but also do not fare well in heavy shade. The ideal time to plant a swamp azalea outdoors is in the fall to enable the plant to adjust before being exposed to high temperatures.

      Plant swamp azaleas in an acidic soil, and add pine bark or other organic material to ensure proper drainage. Insufficiently drained soil can cause root rot. If planting more than one swamp azalea, plant them at least five feet apart to allow for adequate room when the plants are full-grown. The bedding area should be dug six to eight inches with four inches of composting material added. You should plant with the root ball level with the top of the ground since leaving the root ball below ground level can cause problems for the azalea, such as root rot.

      After planting water the swamp azalea well to give them a good start, remove any air pockets from the soil. No fertilization is required at this time as plants should be given time to establish themselves first.

      Mulching the area around the swamp azalea will hold in moisture, moderate the plant temperature and discourage the appearance of weeds. Two to three inches of pine straw or compost is ideal. Swamp azaleas have shallow roots that can dry out quickly, so water often. Use enough water to soak through at least eight to 12 inches of soil. Drip irrigation works well for swamp azaleas, but avoid overhead watering such as sprinklers.

    Propagation

    • You can propagate swamp azaleas by taking cuttings from the plant in late summer or early fall. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and dip the tip in rooting hormone. Plant in a mixture of sand, peat moss and soil that's damp but not soaked. After inserting the cuttings in to the soil, cover the container with clear plastic such as a plastic bag or a cut-off plastic bottle.

      Don't place cuttings in direct sunlight, but give them light. Cuttings should establish roots with in two to four months. Water during root establishment infrequently while the cuttings are covered in plastic since over-watering can cause the cuttings to rot.

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