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Azaleas/Rhododendrons, Hydrangea, Hibiscus, Roses


(I’m a 1st-time blogger and don’t want to get a bad rep for asking too many questions. If I have, set me straight.)

I understand that Azaleas and Rhododendrons are close in care requirements and like acidic soil. I have hydrangea planted somewhat close to my azaleas and they have pink flowers which I think means that the soil isn’t very acidic. The azaleas there are losing leaves and don’t seem to bloom well. Do I need to raise my overall acidity if I want blue hydrangea flowers and more healthy Azaleas? Should I feed my Hibiscus and roses with plant-specific fertilizers? Is Miracle Grow OK for everything or do I want to be more discerning than one shoe fits all? I use Bloom & Grow type products for my flowering annuals. Are they bad for my perennial bushes? It is 95 degrees today!. I thought that watering the leaves of my bushes would lessen the stress in the burning sun but I’m told that water left on the leaves acts like a magnifying glass and can burn them. Yes?

Finally, I have two Golden Retrievers that think my annuals make digging in the garden more fun. I’ve heard that red pepper is a deterrent. Any other ideas that seem to work?

More blog posts by dumbinpa



I'm between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon with technology. How do I include pictures that I've taken with my phone onto your website?

18 Jun, 2018


Hi, assuming you have internet on your phone you can log onto GOY then upload your photos via the tab at the top of the page 'Your Options'. With regard to your soil usually looking in your area and neighbours is a good indicator of your soil type, I have acidic soil but my hydrangeas were never blue, but rhodos and azaleas do ok in it. You can get ericacious compost with added feed which I put around my rhododendron. Regarding watering you should water early in the morning or evening when it is cooler. I'm sure others will have other advice too. :-))

18 Jun, 2018


Ask as many questions as you like!
But its better to ask them on the Questions page rather than as a blog.

For blue rhododendrons the acidity of your soil needs to be pH 6 or under(you can buy a pH metre at any garden store) although my blue ones seem to do OK at 6.5. Maybe it depends on the variety. (I struggle to keep my red one red) You can buy a hydrangea bluing treatment or you can mulch with peat or pine needles or you can add aluminium sulphate.

Not enough acidity in the soil isn't likely to cause leaf drop, unless its extreme, more likely that the leaves would turn yellowish. Is the azalea fairly newly planted ? But maybe your daytime temperatures are too high and your azalea would be better in a more shady position - they are woodland shrubs. Don't move it in the hot weather though! If you do replant it in a shadier spot add some peat to the panting hole.

If your soil is reasonable there isn't normally a need to add fertilizer for annuals but if you want to the one you are using is fine. If you want to you could dress the ground with a general granular fertilizer in the spring at no more than the rate suggested on the box and this should last the season.. More is not better. .

You can buy a special rose fertilizer . Don't know about the hibiscus but most established shrubs don't normally need any feeding. If you have plenty of good compost these would appreciate a mulch in the autumn but its not essential.

Especially in hot weather do your watering in the evening. If any plants are really flagging then you could spray them lightly with water if you want to (but not in the sun as you know now!)_ but they will take up all they need from the soil with all night to go at. If you water in the mornign as well keep water off the leaves if its going to be sunny..

18 Jun, 2018


Hi, welcome to GOY. All my photos on here were taken using my phone. Due to them being too big (data wise) and I haven't worked out how to reduce them on my photo, I email them to myself. I select a photo, choose the share option, put in my own email address. At this stage next to the photo is an option to reduce size. I normally choose 70%. This reduces the data, not the photo size. I then send it. Once it comes through, i save it. By doing this it is added to my photo gallery. When I then want to post it on here. I choose the "your options". A list then come down. I choose "add a photo". I choose that and it comes up to 3 options. I choose "documents". It comes up with all my photos so I just click on photo I want, then post it.

When writing a blog, I do all the same, just adding photos in the blog section.

Hope this helps and we will see more posting from you on here.


19 Jun, 2018


PS chilli pepper does work but if and when it gets into your eyes it is extremely painful and I wouldn't think you'd want to risk it with a digging dog.

19 Jun, 2018


Can you spare a bit of garden for your dogs that they could dig in without problems? Perhaps burying a few treats would encourage them to dig there only, but don't blame me if they think the whole garden might have treats!

19 Jun, 2018

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