A few years ago I had some Lorapetalums/Chinese Fringeflowers looking pretty puny, and while I kept adding some Medina Hasta Gro to the watering process, they never got much better. They had a kind of dull appearance to the leaves, instead of that vibrant purple-maroon mixed with dark green that makes them so special.
About that same time, my Uncle Tom, who is in the landscape business, told me to throw down some azalea food. I did. And VIOLA! The lorapetalums bounced back with a rich color once again.
I told my Uncle Tom that I should make an email tip out of that information. So, from the "better-late-than-never" department, if you have some Chinese Fringe Flowers/Razzleberries/Lorapetalum and they are looking somewhat dull, try some azalea food around their root system and see what happens.
This also got me to thinking about how versatile Azalea food is, in general. And I decided it might be worth coming up with a list of plants (other than the Yah-Yah plants - Azalea, Camellia, Gardenia -- that have historically been the sole recipients of this specific plant food) that might benefit from a dose of Azalea food. So, without further ado, here is that list.
TREES AND SHRUBS THAT CAN UTILIZE AZALEA FOOD
Carnation of India (tropical shrubs with flowers)
Bush Jasmine (Grand Duke)
If you can think of any other plant that, that isn't on this list, that has benefited from azalea food in the past, please give us a call this weekend on the radio show and provide some input.
It's kind of helpful how systemic azalea foods (those infused with systemic insecticides like Disyston or Imidacloprid) also work well at preventing damaging insects like spider mites and scale. These are specifically helpful on many evergreens such as Junipers and Hollies.
In a bit of irony, but as a huge precaution, don't use azalea food on newly planted azaleas. Once they have been established in the landscape for about one year, then you can start using it.
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.