Azalea – Small Root Ball in Pot

Q: My wife came home from a nursery with some native azaleas. I dutifully planted them but the root ball seems exceptionally small for a plant of this size. It was in a 3 gallon container. Do you think I will have any trouble getting these plants to establish with this small a root system?

A: It’s normal process for a wholesale nursery (or even some retailers) to move a small plant to a larger pot and let it “grow up” for a few months. For some reason this one still has a small root system; it never established a big root system like it should have.

In my opinion you should put it back in the pot and take it back to the nursery for an exchange. After all, you paid for a three-gallon root system.

If you don’t want to do that, make sure your planting spot is very well amended with organic matter and pay close attention to watering when it get hot.

azalea small root ball

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