Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keeping the Azalea Under Wraps


Azaleas are somewhat of an iffy sort here in Zone 5b, meaning they are supposed to survive our cold winters and bloom beautifully in the spring, but sometimes they do neither.  I've lost a couple of them to the cold and while the lone shrub we have now has made it through a couple of tough winters, it didn't bloom much this past spring.

Knowing it is a marginal shrub for me, I've always mulched well, but there are other outside forces that conspire to bring it down from its potential glory. Freezing and thawing, drying cold winds, and scalding winter sun can do a number on trees and shrubs, so a little extra protection may be needed.



This year, I decided to wrap the azalea in burlap. Our local Walmart had plenty of it in their fabric department for $2.49 a yard, so I bought 1½ yards, which was plenty to lay over the shrub and wrap it loosely.



I secured the burlap at the bottom with a hooked bungee cord, so the winds wouldn't blow it away. Other ways of keeping it in place are with ground staples or stakes.




And just for fun, because it's Christmas...


15 comments:

Melanie said...

What fun I hope it survives. Hardier azalea's are available . Rhododendron x 'Northern Lights' is hardy to zone 3

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your azalea looks like a christmas package. I hope it survives and blooms its head off since you are taking such good care of it.

Carolyn gail said...

Gift wrapped - What a pampered life your azaleas lead, Kylee :-)

Hope it works. If it doesn't just buy the extremely hardy Korean azaleas, or the PJM and Olga Mezitt Rhodies. I've got two Korean azaleas and an Olga Mezitt Rhody that's over 20 years old and you can guess how many cold Chicago winters it's survived. I don't even mulch heavily around it - I just add some black forest soil conditioner and cotton burr compost and its happy.

garden girl said...

The bow adds the perfect holiday touch Kylee! Hope your azalea makes it through the winter.

Merry Christmas!

Janet said...

Love the bow!!

NellJean said...

I agree with the prior posters who suggested cold hardy azaleas, and rhododendrons. If I could grow rhodies, I certainly would. The foliage is so pretty even when they are out of bloom.

I hope your burlap wrap works. Will you be taking it off on warm days and back on for cold nights?

Marsha Neal Studio said...

I love the Christmas Bow on your lovely wrapped and cared for Azela! How perfect... I love to see simple extra efforts like that! Good thinking and Merry Christmas!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

That is good advise Kylee. Mine has not bloomed yet but I thought it maybe because it was young, maybe it is the winters here.
What a good idea to cover it and it does look Christmasy now ;-)
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Lona

patientgardener said...

I do like your festive plant protection - will remember that for next year. Happy Christmas

Gardenista said...

I grew hardy azaleas from the northern lights series in my zone 1 garden (microclimate more like zone 3) but also had troubles and so I ripped them out. I also tried the burlap wrapped exactly like you did and even heaped snow ontop the shrubs. They would get buds in spring, but I think spring frosts would get them every time. I think in your zone, the northern lights series might do much better, especially if wrapped like you did.

Bren said...

SO cute with a bow... great idea! I have always wanted an azalea in my country garden. You have inspired me to try one this year!
(((HUGS))) and Merry Christmas to you!

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Good job.
We need to get the snow off of everything that's drooping.
Enjoy the holidays.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

A very festive azalea--hope the burlap does the trick. Happy Christmas to you, my friend across the miles. I hope it's a very blessed one for you and your family.

Rose said...

Now that's a clever way to disguise an otherwise ordinary plant protector!

Enjoyed seeing the photos of your first snowfall, Kylee--lovely. We're still waiting for ours, but right now I've given up on a white Christmas and am just praying the rain doesn't turn to ice instead.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Commonweeder said...

Beautiful photos of the snowfall, and the azalea. I have a neighbor with aat least 50 deciduous azaleas and our winters are quite severe. I'm happy knowing they survive the cold.
Merry Christmas!

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