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Azalea blooming from the middle

Round Lake Beach, IL(Zone 5a)

I purchased 3 Gumpo Red Azalea bushes and planted them in a new raised bed. Problem is it is blooming from the middle of the plant. I took a good look at it and the blooms are about 1/2 way up the branches and there are new growth. The buds cannot open because it's all squished. Can someone tell me what to do...Should I rip them up and return them? Pull the buds off? Any suggestions? HELP

Loren

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Usually, I try not to be concerned with bloomage during the first year since it is preferable that the plant develop a healthy root system for winter than flowers. So no, I would not bother returning them. I would show a photo to a person in charge who can maybe give a small credit for the inconvenience and use it to buy some Holly-tone or cottonseed meal.

Do you have any idea how they could have squished the buds on the lower parts of the bushes?

I originally thought you were describing a rabbit problem, meaning that a rabbit had been nibbling on the buds; because of their short stature, they eat buds only on the lower part of the shrubs so azaleas flower from above where the rabbit could no longer reach (the middle of the plant).

Round Lake Beach, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you so much for the help.

Loren

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