Red Orange Leaves On Pink And White Gumpo Azaleas

Filed Under: Rhododendrons, Diseases and Fungus · Keywords: Gumpo, Azaleas, Red, Orange, Leaves, Summer, Disease, Fungus · 1938 Views
I planted them in amended soil ( was North Carolina Clay) where they get morning shade and some Intense full sun in the afternoon. The leaves have turned red orange and they don't look healthy. One out of 4 looks great but the others need help. What's happening.

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Hi Barbara-If the leaves were turning yellow, orange, or red in the fall or early winter this would most likely be normal as most evergreen azaleas have to shed the older leaves which will turn these colors before dropping. As the weather gets cooler leaf color changes are normal. Leaves turning yellow then possibly orange or red during the summer usually indicates some type of stress. Too hot a temperatures, too much hot direct sunlight, too little or too much water, or nutrient deficiencies can cause this color change. Are all the healthy and struggling azaleas planted in the same location and type of soil? Are they all newly planted? If they are I would assume nutrient deficiency may not be the problem at this time as some are doing well. Are the older larger leaves discoloring more so than the newer foliage? Too much water or too little can stress a new plants more easily many times causing the leaves to turn yellow first than possibly changing to orange then or to red before dropping. Too little water especially in heavy clay soils can cause root rot. High soil moisture and warm soil temperatures help to develop this root rot. Eventhough you have ammended the soil around the plants some holes may be acting as bowels to hold in too much water around the roots zone. Over watering or rain fall may be affecting some of these plants causing stunted growth and discoloring of the leaves.
I would first check the soil around the unhealthy plants for too little or too wet a soil. When digging down 6 inches or so the soil should feel cool and moist but not too wet or dry. If you could let us know what you find and answer these few questions it hopefully will help to find the problem. If you could also upload a picture of an unhealthy looking plant and an upclose picture of the discolored leaves it may help to identify the problem. Above this comment and to the right of your name below your question you will see where you can upload your pictures.

8 years ago ·
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Answer #1 ·'s Answer · Hi Barbara - I've grown gumpo azaleas for many years here in mid Georgia. I know they prefer a well-drained soil and a break from the afternoon sun. I've had the best success growing them in raised beds or mounds and in morning to early afternoon sun with mid to late afternoon shade. As with all other azaleas, gumpos prefer an acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline there will be problems with leaf color and with flowering. The orange-red color on the leaves of your azalea could be caused from too much water around the roots, soil pH, or it could be rust. If you could upload a closeup picture of the foliage this might help with a diagnosis and possible remedy.


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Barbara Peck

Barbara Peck · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Sorry, we just came back from a trip. I planted these azaleas about 3 months ago. I thought I was watering them enough. In the last week we had a lot more rain and the plants seem to be returning to green. I'm new at this and have a lot to learn. I do not have the ability to send a picture at this time. Thanks for your answer. I will watch them carefully to see what happens.

8 years ago ·
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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Sounds like you might have got your answer. It was probably lack of water, which is almost always better than too much water. Glad to hear the azaleas are perking back up:-))

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