Azalea lace bug
These annoying insect pests suck the juices out of leaves, causing them to lose colour.
The problem isn’t just cosmetic, either, as they weaken the plants and reduce their chances of growing well in summer. Look under the new leaves in spring and you can often spy the 2–3mm-long insects with lace-like wings, hence their name. You’re even more likely to see the copious dark droppings they deposit on the leaf undersides. Try hosing the pests off with a strong jet of water or spraying with a horticultural soap. Remember, though, that once the leaves are discoloured, they stay that way, so it’s best to get rid of these pests now while their numbers are still relatively small.