Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Azalea Leaves Turning Yellow, Dropping?

Evergreen Azalea in early December.  PHOTO/Amy W.
When leaves of a favorite, beautiful azalea turn yellow and begin to drop, a homeowner might become somewhat alarmed. We tend to think of azaleas as being evergreen, and in our minds, "evergreen" is nearly the same as "never-yellow."

However, the UGA publication Selecting and Growing Azaleas, by Extension specialists Wade, Braman, and Woodward, in cooperation with members of the Azalea Society of America, points out that not all azaleas are evergreen, and for those varieties, total leaf-drop is completely normal.

It turns out that some leaf yellowing and loss is completely normal for evergreen azaleas, too.

In the online article Are Your Evergreen Azalea Leaves Turning Yellow or Reddish-Purple This Fall?, Joey Williamson, of Clemson's Home and Garden Information Center, explains:

"Remember that no leaf lasts forever. The older leaves, further down the stems, will fall off during the late fall and early winter season..." He adds, "White and pale-pink colored azaleas will typically have bright yellow-colored foliage just before leaf drop."

For information about selecting, planting, and care of azaleas in the landscape, along with descriptions of other potential causes of leaf yellowing and lack of vigor in azaleas, read the UGA publication linked above.

For azaleas about which the cause of a problem is unclear, the local Extension office can be contacted to provide assistance in tracking down the cause.