Why Are My Azalea Leaves Dropping? (And How To Fix It)


Indoor potted azalea plant dropping leaves.

Azalea is a beautiful plant for its pleasing appearance. Indoor gardeners grow this plant as a decorative flowering plant.

This plant is very easy to care, but problems can arise. Azalea leaves dropping is one of the common problems indoor gardeners face. 

Why are azalea leaves dropping? Azalea leaves dropping because of some common causes; including:

  • Overwatering
  • Chlorosis
  • Transplant shock
  • Lack of sufficient light
  • Temperature fluctuation
  • Air humidity
  • Diseases
  • Insect infestation
  • Wrong placement
  • Incorrect pot selection
  • Transplanting during flowering

Keep reading to find out a bit more about the causes of azalea leaves dropping and what can you do to fix the problem.

Also, I will clue you in about how you can prevent it from happening. 

12 Common Reasons Azalea Leaves Dropping And How To Fix Them

Indoor beautiful  potted azalea blooming

Indoor azalea demands regular care. Leaves dropping is the primary response of azalea to care mistakes. 

At the first signs of wilting and falling of leaves, You have to determine the cause and try to eliminate it. Let’s dive into how you can do it.

1. Potential Reason: Overwatering

Are you giving your azalea way too much water? The main reason for azalea leaves dropping is waterlogging. Azalea needs regular and moderate watering but overwatering will cause damage to your azalea.  

With excess moisture, the tips turn black first, then leafy plates and the affected leaves fall off. From excess moisture, not only the leaves but also the stems change color. They begin to blacken and dry out.

How to fix 

In fall when the buds come out, reduce the amount of watering. Azalia does not like hard water. 

Use settled or filtered water and must be of room temperature. As azalea loves acidic soil. You can add 3-4 drops of lemon juice per liter water. 

You can collect and store rainwater for you not only for azalea but also for other houseplants. If the watering conditions are not met, the azaleas will drop the leaves.

2. Potential Reason: Chlorosis 

As you already know that azalea loves acidic soil. So, if your pot soil is of high pH or alkaline then it will hurt your plant badly.

High alkalinity, waterlogging condition, root rot will make the nutrients unavailable for the plants. As a result, your azalea will not be able to produce chlorophyll, and chlorosis will occur. 

If you fail to act quickly the leaves will turn yellow and drop off from the plant. Let’s find out how you can fix the problem.

How to fix

If your azalea is already ill with chlorosis, preventative measures will not work. Rather, you can try changing the soil. Also, if the pH is high( test your soil with a kit) consider watering with lemon juice/acetic acid regularly.  

But besides this, the plant will have to add iron to the diet. Apply it in chelated form (You can find acid-loving plant diet on Amazon).  This is most easily digestible even by a sick plant. 

This type of plant diet works faster if you spray it on the leaves. Beneficial substances penetrate the plant tissue within a day. You can also apply them when watering. This way it may take up to 3 days.

3. Potential Reason: Transplant Shock

This is completely normal that any plant can go through this process. Sometimes the transplant shock or stress causes a high impact on the plant. Consequently, the plant shows symptoms like wilting, leaves turning yellow, and leaves dropping.

It happens because the root system takes time to establish in a new condition. Also, the roots may be damaged during the transplant procedure. So, it will not be able to absorb water or nutrients. 

There are few reasons that cause transplant shock; including mistakes in the transplanting process, selection of pots, damaging the root system, improper watering, etc.

How to fix

You can not completely avoid the transplanting shock. This is completely normal. During this period you can water your plant frequently until the root system is established.

Take care of the newly transplanted, inspect regularly, and try to identify the problem, if any.  This way you can reduce the transplant shock a bit. 

4. Potential Cause: Lack Of Sufficient Light

Plants need light for photosynthesis and producing chlorophyll. So insufficient light will disrupt the physiological processes of the plant. Lack of food and chlorophyll lead azalea to drop its leaves.

How to fix

It is very easy to fix this problem. Azalea loves bright light but not direct sunlight. Keep your azalea in a shady place where it can get abundant light. 

If the natural light is not available then artificial light will work just like natural light. Don’t worry, plants can use artificial light for photosynthesis without any issue. 

6. Potential Reason: Temperature fluctuation

Azalea feels great at an air temperature of no higher than 22 °C/71.6°F  in summer and 15 °C/59°F in winter. 

The main reason for azalea leaves dropping is dryness and high air temperature. In fluctuating temperatures, the plant tends to cope up with it. 

How to fix

As soon as you identify the leaf dryness,  you should lower the room temperature (so that the plant can recover more easily), water it with acidified water, and spray the plant. 

7. Potential Reason: Air humidity

Low air humidity can cause azalea leaves to drop. Azalea loves moisture and does not tolerate dry air. The plant feels great at 80% humidity.  

How to fix

If the air is too dry you should spray the azalea leaves regularly. To maintain air humidity around blooming azaleas, you can place a humidity tray below the plant to maintain the required humidity. 

Here is a helpful video on how you can set up a humidity tray for indoor plants.

8. Potential Reason: Disease

When the azalea is infected with rust, the leaf plates first change color and then fall off. This is a fungal disease and occurs because of excess humid conditions. 

Excess watering and stagnant water causes root rot disease and causes your azalea to drop diseases. 

How to fix

If your azalea is infected with rust, your first step should be removing the infected parts from the plant. In this situation stop spraying water to the leaves to prevent the disease from spreading.

Make sure you are not overwatering the plant and water drainage is working well. You do not want stagnant water in the azalea pot to prevent root rot.

Now, if your azalea is severely infected with root rot then you have to cut off the infected root parts and then transplant it with new soil.

9. Potential Reason: Insect Infestation

Your azaleas can get infested by various insects. Insect attack also causes leaves to turn yellow and the young leaves fade and fall. 

  • Whitefly insects literally suck liquid from leaflets. 
  • Aphids also feed on leaf juice. Due to the appearance of the pest, the plant can bloom much earlier than the due date. 
  • The flowering of young azaleas may cease due to the appearance of a mealybug. 
  • Spider mites appear in low humidity. You will find cobwebs on stems and leaves. They cause azalea leaves to dry out and then fall off.

How to fix

You should inspect the plant regularly to find out any symptoms of insect infestation. If you find any then you have to take immediate action to eliminate them.

You can easily eliminate the small insects with soft skin with a soap water solution. Neem oil with liquid soap works even better.

10. Potential Reason: Wrong Placement

One of the main reasons why azalea drop it leaves is the improper placement of the indoor plant. You must select an illuminated place but direct sunlight should not be allowed to fall on the leaves. 

How to fix

It is best to place the azalea on the east side of your home. If you place it on the south side, it will get direct sunlight which is harmful to the plant.

11. Potential Reason: Incorrect Pot Selection

Sometimes the azalea throws off foliage due to an improper selection of indoor plant pot. Azalea has a fibrous root system, which needs space to expand.  If azalea drops leaves, what should I do?

How to fix

It is necessary to transplant your azalea into a large container. In the larger pot the roots will get breathing space. This way the plant will get enough nutrients from its expanded root system. 

12. Potential Reason: Transplant During Flowering

If you attempt a transplant during the budding or flowering of azaleas, it will provoke a drop of flowers and can cause a drop of plant leaves. 

If a transplant is necessary (if you suspect a root system disease, root damage by pests, severe waterlogging of the soil with the appearance of traces of mold on the surface),  carry out the procedure very carefully. 

How to fix

You have to manually remove most of the buds and flowers. If you do not remove the buds before transplanting, all the stocks of nutrients and plant strength will be spent on maintaining the flowers.

The root system in the new soil is likely to take a little bit of time to settle, which can lead to dropping leaves or death of the plant.

How To Care For Azalea At Home If It Has Dropped Leaves

First of all, you need to adjust the care conditions of azalea in your home. For example, summer is a period when your azalea needs peace. You can not rearrange the azalea to a new place during the flowering period. 

In winter,  you must move your azalea away from the heating appliances and constantly monitor the level of humidity. In the spring, during a transplant, you must follow the rules for this procedure.

Conclusion

To keep your azalea happy and enjoy the flowering you need to remember the rules for caring for it and not make mistakes that can provoke this problem. However, if this happens, identify the cause and you already know what to do.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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