Need a way to brighten up your garden?
With proper care, you can enjoy the white, red, or pink blooms of azaleas every spring.
The first step to achieving this is learning when to plant azaleas.
When to plant azaleas? Plant azaleas any time between late spring and early fall to get healthy, vigorous plants. As part of the Rhododendron genus, you can plant azaleas year-round if you live in an area with a mild climate. For cold climates, early spring planting is the best. Plant in the fall if you’re from a hot climate.
Choosing Which Azalea Variety to Plant
Not many shrubs can rival the beautiful blossoms that azaleas produce.
Depending on where you’re from, you will find a wide selection of azaleas that could thrive in your growing conditions.
When choosing a variety to plant, you will have to decide between two choices: deciduous and evergreen azaleas.
Their main difference is that deciduous azaleas drop leaves in fall, while evergreen azaleas hold onto theirs even through winter.
Most home gardeners plant evergreens so that their yards remain lively and cheerful throughout the year.
How to Plant Azaleas
While you can grow azaleas from seeds, most home gardeners choose not to.
Instead, they grow them from stem cuttings of already established plants.
The reason behind this is that if you plant seeds, you won’t be certain if they would even resemble their parent plant.
So, to achieve the look that you want, grow azaleas from cuttings instead of seeds.
Step 1: Pick a variety to plant.
Those in warmer climates would fare better if they plant deciduous azaleas, which endure warm temperatures better.
These grow like small trees and won’t require pruning. One example of this type is native azaleas.
Evergreens like the Kurume hybrids also don’t need much maintenance.
Because they don’t grow larger than three or four feet, you can plant them in raised beds, directly in the soil, or in containers.
On the other hand, expect Southern Indian hybrids to grow larger and taller.
As such, you will need to prune them regularly.
These evergreen azalea hybrids are perfect for spacious gardens.
Step 2: Decide where to plant them.
Most azaleas don’t like full sun and won’t grow to their potential when planted in areas exposed to too much sunlight.
For the best results, find a shaded spot in your garden for your azaleas, such as near shady trees.
If there’s none, make sure you choose a variety known to do well in sunny gardens.
Step 3: Prepare the soil for planting.
Once you’ve picked a spot for your azaleas, check that the soil conditions match the requirements.
You would want the soil to be well-draining to avoid root rot.
To check if the soil drains well, dig a hole and check on it after it rained.
If it has water inside, it probably has too much clay mixed in.
Loosen it up by tilling several feet deep and adding in well-draining organic matter.
You should also check that the soil is slightly acidic, which azaleas like.
If it isn’t, mix some sulfur in it to achieve a soil acidity of pH 5.5 to 6 before planting.
Step 4: Plant the azalea in soil.
Now, this is where the fun part begins. Though before planting your azaleas, you would want to wet them first.
You should also loosen their roots to encourage them to grow deep into the ground.
Next, dig a hole a little wider than the root ball but deep enough that you’re sure it will accommodate the roots and the bottom of the azalea.
Making sure the top of the root ball rests on the ground’s surface, place the azalea upright into the hole.
Then, put some of your soil mix back in until you fill the hole and your azalea is stable in place.
Step 5: Water.
Immediately after planting, water the azalea and the soil around it slowly but surely.
Do this again the next day.
How to Water Azaleas
Azaleas may look like high-maintenance shrubs, but they really aren’t.
After you’ve planted them in your garden, here are watering steps to keep in mind:
Step 1: Water once a week.
A newly planted azalea plant will need a constant supply of nutrients as it establishes its roots.
The primary source of these nutrients is water, so you will want to give it enough hydration every week.
Azaleas exposed to full sun will require a little more frequent watering schedule than that, though.
Step 2: Add mulch.
When growing azaleas, it is very important that you keep the soil moist, or they will wither and die.
For this, you can use mulch like wood chips, pine needles, or pine bark.
Mulching also keeps weed growth at bay and keeps the soil’s temperature even.
You would want to re-apply mulch after the flowers fade.
Step 3: To Fertilize or Not?
Azaleas have a shallow root system, so fertilizing might actually do more harm than good.
Only fertilize your azaleas if it’s absolutely needed, and do so in spring.
How to Grow Azaleas
Are watering and fertilizing the only things you have to do? How else can you guarantee your azaleas grow beautifully?
Here is where we list the tips and tricks of the trade to help you out.
Pro Tip 1: Trim dead branches.
Removing dead branches means you are making way for new growth to sprout.
If you’re going to do this, do so later in the summer and use razor-sharp clippers.
Pro Tip 2: Prune after the flowers fade.
Are the blooms over and done with for the season?
This signals it is time to reshape your azalea shrubs to however you like it.
More often than not, this is about three weeks after the blooms have faded.
Pro Tip 3: Prune drastically if needed.
Got azaleas that are too big?
After spring blossoms have faded, you can trim your azalea plant down to about a foot from the ground.
As long as the plant has a strong root system, it will come back bushy, healthy, and beautiful.
How Long Do Azaleas Take to Grow?
This perennial flowering shrub would probably take three long years to mature and reach its full size.
Often, Southern Indian hybrids will grow quicker than smaller-sized Kurume hybrids.
What’s great about them is that, given proper care, you can expect them to bloom and produce beautiful flowers year after year.
Now that you know when is the best time to plant azaleas, it would be easy for you to add them to your garden.
These shrubs will quickly become the crowd’s favorite, thanks to their healthy foliage and delicately beautiful flowers.