Azalea soil mix

(dave) #1

hello guys,

want to as about azaleas soil mix.
i know the best soil for azaleas is pure kanuma, but can and is it possible to subtitute into another mix?
in my country, only have this type of substrates:

  • nursery soil
  • lava rock/scoria
  • cocopeat
  • perlite
  • vermiculite

thank you

(Mauricio Santinelli) #2


I have heard from several people, that the “Turba Rubia” (Peat moss) is acid and you can use it in azaleas, I do not know if you can find it in your country, where are you from?


(Jonas Dupuich) #3

Alternative soils can be tricky for azaleas. They love organic material like peat moss as it can raise acidity, but using organics can make managing water and fertilizer in a pot difficult over time.

Half scoria and half cocopeat or something similar with large particles, similar in size to the lava, would be a place to start.

Do let us know how it goes!

(dave) #4

hi mauricio,

i’m from jakarta, indonesia.
peat moss that i can get is ista peat moss (actually its for aquarium media filter).
is it suitable for azaleas?

(dave) #5

hi jonas,

cocopeat that i can get are like nursery soil, its a small particle i think.
here is the photo.
do i need to use akadama?

thank you

(Jonas Dupuich) #6

Thanks Dave - the medium looks quite fine. Coco peat tends to be somewhat acidic so it could be a good from a pH standpoint, but the particles are pretty small. If pumice is available, I’d use a lot of that and maybe use something acidic as fertilizer or a top-dressing.

What I don’t know is how fine, organic soils will work for azaleas in hot, humid environments over time. Have you found other azaleas growing in Indonesia? If so, see what they’re planted in and how they’re doing.

(Mauricio Santinelli) #7

Hi Dave,

I do not know that kind of peat, at first sight it looks the same, maybe you can try it and see if it works.You will tell us

(dave) #8

Hi jonas,

I already got kanuma.
But its available in coarse size.
The size is between 5mm-1cm.

Kanuma just like akadama right?
Lighter color, buat easily break with fingers
I can easily crush it with my finger.
If i crush the kanuma in small grain, can i still use it? Just between 3-7 mm
Thank you

(Jonas Dupuich) #9

That sounds right to me - the color is yellow. And yes, you can break it with your fingers. The standard mix for satsuki azaleas is straight kanuma.

Note azaleas have fine roots. Don’t use large particles around the roots as that will create large air pockets. Better to use slightly smaller particles near the roots and larger particles below.

(dave) #10

the kanuma i got is pretty big grain, if crush to smaller grain.
can i use it? or must find real small grain?
thank you

(Jonas Dupuich) #11

You can try crushing it, but it may turn to dust. You can also experiment and see how it goes with the larger particles.

In general azaleas like humidity and the roots don’t like to dry out.

(bflin) #12

I think it’s already eluded too. But just an extra data point. When I use to work with reptiles, I bagged up peat and ran water over it to reduce ph in tank water, but keep the peat particulates nicely contained. Tank water would turn slight yellow. Used nylons (i.e. Pantyhose) or bags made for aquarium filters. I wonder if growing in small pumice/lava and have a few tea bags of peat on soil surface would work.

(dave) #13

Hi guys,
Thank you so much for all advices.
I already make a big cut on the azaleas trunk, prune, re wired and repot it.
I use coarse lava rocks as 1st layer, coarse akadama, medium lava rocks with lots of sphagnum peatmoss (its 50:50 medium coarse lava rocks and peatmoss).
Cannot get kanuma in the right size, so peatmoss it is.
Here is a picture of my azalea

(Jonas Dupuich) #14

Thanks for the update.

The trunk looks good. If you want the branches to thicken, use a bigger pot next time and really let the tree grow for a few years. Once the primary branches have thickened, the focus can shift to the finer branches.

(dave) #15

Okay got it jonas. Thank you