S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Red Formosa Azalea
For Northeast Florida Jacksonville | St. Augustine area Landscape
( Rhododendron Indica ‘ Red Formosa’ )
Red Formosa Azalea Origins:
– Most Azaleas found in modern nursery sites are evergreen members of the Rhododendron family and are native to Asia, but North Florida is the native home to a few deciduous Azaleas with somewhat gently fragrant blossoms.
– Red Formosa belongs to the Azalea grouping known as Southern Indica Hybrids selected for their vigorous growth habits and sun tolerance and are a very hardy landscape plant for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area gardens.
Red Formosa Azalea Preferred Exposure:
– The Red Formosa Azalea is part of a grouping of Azaleas known as Southern Indicas ( a selection from Belgian Indica Hybrids) and are among the best selections for Azaleas that will get a little more sunlight in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine areas gardens.
– Southern Indica Azaleas including the Red Formosa can be planted in partial sun or shaded conditions.
Red Formosa Azalea Foliage:
– Large evergreen foliage is a deep dark green color and looks its best when trimmed or pinched back each year following the spring bloom.
Red Formosa Azalea Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Red Formosa Azalea’s will prefer fertilize, well drained soils that are
acidic ( from 4.5 – 6.0 on the PH scale ) Iron chlorosis will become problematic when planted in Alkaline soils.
– Avoid planting in heavy wet clay soils as root rot will cause the foliage to
yellow and wilt or the plant to completely die out after heavy rains.
– Will not tolerate wet soils even for short periods.
– Not recommended for use in poorly drained areas that will stay wet during our heavy rain season. If you just must plant Lavender Formosa Azalea into a consistently moist area raise the area into a berm 8-12 inches above the existing soil level with compost to help its roots get up out of the water after a rain.
– Azalea shrubs have a low salt tolerance and should be avoided for coastal
Red Formosa Azalea Size Variance:
– Red Formosa Azalea can reach sizes of 6-8+ feet High | 4-6 feet Wide but are most often kept to about 4 ft with annual or semi annual pruning.
Red Formosa Azalea Growth Habit:
– Azalea Formosa shrubs will need to be pinched and shaped a bit to keep them at their best in the landscape. Unpruned the have a naturally open rounded habit but are more thinly foliated than their manicured counterparts.
Red Formosa Azalea Growth Rate:
– Fast growing shrub quickly establishes itself into the landscape.
Red Formosa Azalea Bloom:
– Large, dark maroon colored blooms cover the foliage of the plant each spring with a flower display you cant help but notice, even from a distance these plants in bloom are spectacular!
Red Formosa Azalea Water Requirements:
– Azaleas tend to form a shallow root system and should be planted into landscapes where supplemental irrigation is possible during prolonged periods of drought.
– Will not tolerate wet soils even for short periods.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Attracts butterflies.
Best Uses For Red Formosa:
– Azaleas are among the most common landscape shrubs for the North Florida area. They can be used as foundation plantings, mass plantings in large beds, trained to single or multiple stemmed tree form and used as foundation accents or focal points.
– Azaleas are perfect when massed in large groupings as under plantings for the edges of natural areas or larger native Oaks and Maples.
Care of S & J Nursery’s North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine Azalea Shrubs:
– Azaleas should be pruned each year after flowering to maintain the best foliage and shape possible. They may be trimmed at any time during the summer months but remember not to trim to late in the season or you may be cutting off next years blooms! A good rule of thumb for the North Florida are is not to prune in the fall, wait until they have bloomed the following spring and trim once after spring and once in the summer.
– Azalea shrubs will need acid plant food made for Azaleas for best results.
– Azalea shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area at any time during the year. In normal and well draining soils dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Plant the top of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils.
-Avoid planting in poorly drained soils.
– Water every day during the establishment period. For most 3 gallon size shrubs in the North Florida landscape in average soil, that is neither heavy clay that holds water or really sandy that will take 2-3 weeks of daily watering to ensure that your newly planted shrub will begin to put out new roots and grow into its new home happily. After the first few weeks begin tapering back your watering to every other day then every third day and so on until your newly planted items are flourishing without your assistance.
– Azaleas will need supplemental irrigation during times of excessive heat or drought.
– IMPORTANT: If planting shrubs in heavy clay soils that hold allot of water after a rain or irrigating, remember to check the soil for moisture by sticking your fingers into the soil near the root ball of the newly planted shrub down to 2-3 inches. If it remains wet from the previous watering wait for the top 2-3 inches to dry out before watering again.
– IMPORTANT: When planting shrubs into poor sandy soils be sure to amend the planting hole by mixing compost or cow manure etc. with the native soil that will go back in the hole around the new plants root ball when installing your shrub material, this will not only give your new shrubs good soil to grow its new roots into but help it hold water.
– When planting Azalea shrubs from containers be sure to loosen the roots as much as possible pulling loose roots away from the root ball before installing your new plants, if the roots are to tight to easily loosen with your hands use a knife to cut a few slits into the root ball being careful to go all
the way from the top to the bottom and making the cut at least an inch deep. This will ensure that your plant will immediately begin to form new roots into its new surrounding soil.
– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible. Azaleas will benefit from a 2-3 inch layer of Pine bark or Pine Straw as they will help acidify the soil over time.
– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of Milorganite and a good acid fertilizer made specifically for acid plants like azaleas camellias and gardenias. Be sure when fertilizing to sprinkle the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the shrubs.