Why are My Azalea leaves Turning Red (Reasons & Best Fixes)

You can easily find that the older leaves of Azalea plants turned red. It is very common and natural at the time of the fall. But if all plant leaves get red together, or if the plant is not too old and its leaves are getting red, these are the indirect indications of struggle and stress.

This azalea leaves turning red is a big problem, and you need to find its remedy to tackle it.

Environmental stress is the most common reason why azalea leaves can turn red, such as excessive exposure to sunlight, overwatering, etc. To neutralize these stress factors, the plant produces anthocyanin(a red pigment).

Besides that, there are also some other reasons, which we will discuss in this article.

Azalea leaves turning red
Azalea leaves turning red

Azalea Leaves Turning Red: 8 Probable Reasons (And Solutions)

When Azalea leaves change colors, it looks pretty and natural in the fall. But, if the plant is a newborn, it is an issue. There are many reasons for azalea leaves turning red. Here we are mentioning the common causes of it and course its remedies.

Stress (Anthocyanins)

Sometimes it may become purple, or sometimes it may become red. It plays a critical role in saving the plant from danger. Anthocyanins are produced by an Azalea when it is under stress. It protects the plant from UV rays.

When the light is low, it helps the plant in its photosynthesis. It protects plants from alkaline or acidic soils. In low-temperature areas, these Anthocyanins help the plants to survive.

Stress (Anthocyanins)
Stress (Anthocyanins)

How to Cure?

Keep the plant in such an area where it feels comfortable. Keep the plant in an environment where the temperature is about 85°F. Keep the plant away from drafts and any type of heat sources.

Don’t keep the plant in direct sunlight for a long time, but ensure that the environment has a lot of indirect sunlight. Please ensure that the solid has a perfect draining system, enough moisture, and the soil is slightly acidic.

Leaf Spot Diseases

If you find some Red, Brown or yellow spot on the leaves of Azalea plants, they might be affected by some fungal and bacterial diseases. These diseases are mainly caused when the plant comes in contact with heavy rain. Bad watering techniques can also cause fungal infections.

If you water your plant carelessly, its natural organism process will take hold and cause the plant to face various problems. When the plant comes in contact with water infected with bacteria, it can also get infected.

Red spots are the direct indications of stress, and yellow and brown spots are made for fungal or bacterial disease.

Leaf Spot Diseases of Azalea Leaves
Leaf Spot Diseases of Azalea Leaves

How to Cure?

Bacterial leaf spots are hard to treat. But some fungal leaf spots can be treated with fungicides. Preventing these bacteria and fungi from your plant is better than curing them. For it, clean the pot regularly and remove all the debris and fallen leaves.

Keep the plant away from heavy rain and when watering it, try not to put any single drop on its leaves and stem. It will make the root strong and minimize the chances of infection. 

Nutrient Deficiency

Azaleas don’t need huge amounts of nutrients. But for its healthy growth, it needs various nutrients, such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, nitrogen, etc. To absorb nutrients effectively, it needs acidic soil. In the deficiency of these nutrients, there will be slow growth, and it can become red, pale, dark green, and sometimes yellow.

For the deficiency of different nutrients, there are different symptoms. 

The plant can become pale if it has a low nitrogen supply. You can notice red blotches and edges on the old leaves of the plant. If there is a lack of Magnesium, the leaves and the veins will become yellow.

On the upper surface of the leaves, you can notice some red or purple colored blotches. If the leaves of your Azalea get dark green or along the midrib, there are red stripes or red blotches, then the plant has phosphorus deficiency.

Nutrient Deficiency of Azalea Leaves
Nutrient Deficiency of Azalea Leaves

Of the lack of iron, the young leaves and your Azalea’s veins can become yellowish. The edge of the leaves can become red. The young leaves are the first ones to display these symptoms, and the older leaves get lately affected. These symptoms are also common for manganese, but for iron, these are severe. 

How to Cure?

The problems that are occurring for nutrient deficiency can easily be solved by offering more nutrients to the plant. But determining the specific nutrient low in the plant is the toughest and most crucial task. For a detailed breakdown of the nutrients in the soil, you need to test the soil in labs.

Azaleas need a solid that is acidic (pH 4.5 – 5.5) and full of nutrients, and there must not be too alkaline. If the solid is perfect, adding nutrients once a year will be more than enough for any alkaline. While adding fertilizer, you need to follow the instructions very carefully. Else it can bring a negative impact on the plant’s health.

If you planned it on alkaline soil, you must make it acidic first. You can also consider ferrous sulfate here. It can gradually lower the pH of the soil. But never use Ammonium Sulfate in your Azaleas.

Sunlight Overexposure 

A place where not too much direct sunlight is present is the perfect environment for Azaleas. You can consider a shaded area. The function of Azaleas’ leaves gets affected by strong sunlight, or else it can get curl, or in extreme conditions, the leaves can fall. The leaves can become dark red if the sunlight is not excessive.

Sunlight Overexposure on Azalea Leaves
Sunlight Overexposure on Azalea Leaves

And before drying off, it will become brown. We have already mentioned that Azaleas produce anthocyanins that protect them from excessive sunlight and UV rays. But the presence of anthocyanins makes the leaves red. But if the plant is open to sunlight for several days, then anthocyanins cannot save the plant. 

How to Cure?

To place your Azaleas, consider a place where too much indirect light is present and direct sunlight comes only for 1.5 to 2 hours. Never choose such an area that is close to the window or door. Choosing the perfect position is the critical task here.

Insufficient Light

A shady area is a perfect position for the Azaleas. But under a deep shade where there is insufficient indirect light is not a favorable position for the growth of Azaleas. Insufficient light insists the plant produces Anthocyanins. It helps the plant to photosynthesize, but it makes the leaves radish. 

How to Cure?

The place you have chosen to place the Azaleas must have indirect bright light for at least 10 hours. Some symptoms of insufficient light sources are radish or dark green leaves and leaves leaning towards a side (close to the nearest light source).

Spider Mites 

spider mites also can bring danger to your Azaleas. When it feasts on the plant’s leaves, it starts to consume nutrients and water from the plant. It causes the plant to face a deficiency of nutrients, and the leaves start to turn red.

Spider Mites on Azalea Leaves
Spider Mites on Azalea Leaves

How to Cure?

To control spider mites, you can use insecticidal soap. You need to spray it on the top and bottom of the Azaleas’ leaves. Or you can use horticultural oil. Both are very effective on spider mites. 

Improper Watering

Azaleas prefer soil with a proper drainage system that constantly remains moist. Wetty soil and dry soil are not both good for Azaleas. Such soil condition gives the plant stress and makes the plant produce Anthocyanins, making the plant’s leaves red. 

On the other hand, if you notice the leaves of the plant getting curled, then there is insufficient water in the soil. It is an indication of dehydration. It will make the plant die. The waterlogged situation is also very dangerous to the Azaleas. The plant can’t intake or absorb anything from the soil. 

How to Cure?

Follow the proper watering method and time. You can use a moisture meter to understand whether the plant needs water. Or you can water when the top 2 inches of compost get dry. Never water Azaleas when not needed. Daily watering is also not needed for this type of plant.

Fungal Diseases

Fungus is also very harmful to Azaleas. If your Azaleas leaves get red, it may be an effect of fungal infection. There are many mediums with which the fungal spores can be transferred, such as water or a human hand.

So while watering your plant, don’t touch it, and try not to put water on its leaves or steam. Fungal diseases are very common when you leave your plant open to rain in a highly humid area.

Fungal Diseases on Azalea Leaves
Fungal Diseases on Azalea Leaves

How to Cure?

While watering Azaleas, be cautious and don’t put any single drop on its leaves. Only put water on the soil. Keep the plant in a protected shaded area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should you worry about Azalea leaves turning red? 

If your pants are young, this red can be irregular. You need to find its cause. For older plants, it is normal and nothing to worry about.

Should you prune red Azalea leaves?

No, pruning the red Azalea leaves will not solve the ‘red colour’ issue. It is the internal or environmental problem of the plant.

Do Azalea Leaves turn red in the fall?

Yes, it is a natural phenomenon of the Azaleas. Nothing to worry about if your Azalea leaves turn red in the fall.

Why is my Azalea turning brown?

Dehydration or lack of water is the main cause for which the leaves of your Azalea can become brown. It is also possible when there is too much water or the plant is in direct contact with Sunlight for a long time.


The redness of Azalea leaves very common in the fall. So, don’t panic if your Azalea leaves are turning red. Try to identify the cause. If you give this plant proper maintenance, nutrients, and environment, then nothing to worry about.

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