Azaleas are hardy landscaping plants that often bloom several times during the year. Their bright flowers and beautiful green foliage are very popular, and they are fairly low maintenance. However, azaleas can fall prey to various infections if they are not properly maintained. The best way to keep your azaleas thriving for years is to know the signs and symptoms of diseases of the azalea plant.
Azalea Petal Blight
Azalea petal blight affects azaleas in spring when they first start to bloom. While azalea blossoms usually last weeks, azaleas experiencing petal blight will drop all of their flowers within a few days of the first bloom after first turning brown and mushy. To treat this condition, remove affected blooms using sterile pruning techniques. Then apply petal blight fungicide when new buds appear as soon as color starts to appear in the folded petals. This should eradicate the infection.
Azalea Leaf and Flower Gall
Azalea leaf and flower gall is particularly prevalent in moist conditions. It is not generally life threatening, but it can distort plants and stunt their growth. Leaf and flower buds and new shoots will start to thicken and bulge, creating a corky, bulbous growth. While these growths will appear light green at first, they will develop a thin white covering, then shrink and become hard, permanent distortions. Removing and destroying the galls while they are still green will prevent the spread of the infection and should put a stop to the problem.
Black Vine Weevil
Black vine weevils are small, nocturnal animals. In their larval stage, they feed on azalea and rhododendron roots and leaves. If your leaves are showing notched, uneven edges but you do not see any signs of a fungal or insect infection, the black vine weevils are likely the culprit. They tend to travel in potted plants, so if possible, quarantine new plants for a few months before planting. Pesticides containing imidacloprid are also effective for moving black vine weevils out of your azalea beds.