Holly-tone

Holly-tone

This is not meant to be a commercial for Holly-tone. It is the fertilizer of choice that was recommended to me by old times when I first began collecting and growing azalea. I thought that if it worked for the pros, surly it was what I needed in my gardens. Turns out it was a good choice. And, I can find nothing objectionable in continuing a tradition. Especially if it works.
Since I am not big on fertilizing my gardens, I appreciate the fact that Holly-tones formulation is organic. At a rating of 4-3-4 this acid-loving fertilizer is not going to burn, nor push my plants into weak growth that can become insect magnets. I will be pulling the mulch back, scratching very lightly as azalea roots are so shallow, sprinkling the fertilizer and then pulling the mulch back into place.
While I am feeding my azaleas I usually sprinkle around my other acid-loving woodies as well. Creeping wintergreen has never looked better with abundant blooms and berry set than when I used Holly-tone for the first time. This year I intend to use a bit on my partridge berry and see how it reacts, since it has been sparse on berry set.

Epson salts
Another recommendation from old timers when feeding my azalea is to use Epson Salts. Two tablespoons to the gallon of water, sprinkled around the root systems. I have read several articles on the internet concerning its use with plants. I see articles recommending the use, articles saying it can do no harm and finally not recommended. Again, if it does no harm and may help, why not go for it? I think my azaleas are more lustrous in leaf, more small stems and thus more buds with leaf and bloom. If it does not help the azalea, it certainly make me feel better performing the ritual.