Azaleas (Rhododendron species) are beautiful flowering shrubs that add a lot of color to your garden in the Spring. Gardeners love growing Azaleas because they produce a spectacular show without much effort from the gardener. Perfect for the lazy gardener! Here are tips on how to grow Azaleas in your garden.
6 Tips on How to Grow Azaleas
1. Your Azaleas are Happiest in Part Shade
Azaleas thrive in part shade. In fact, if you are in zones 7-11, they grow well in dappled shade that gets a few hours of morning sunlight. For colder climates (zones 3-6), plant in full sun locations that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day if you want productive blooms and to avoid mildew problems.
2. Get the Soil Right for Your Azaleas
Azaleas need to be planted in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil (pH 4.5-6). Azaleas don’t do well in alkaline soil.
3. Get the Watering Frequency Right for Your Azaleas
Water azaleas once a week since azaleas have shallow roots that can quickly dry out. They need moist but well-drained soil.
4. Fertilize Your Azaleas Sparingly
Azaleas don’t need to be fertilized to produce beautiful blooms. Only fertilize if you notice declining blooms. Fertilize sparingly in the early Spring or after the first flowering.
5. Azaleas Don’t Need to Be Pruned
Azaleas don’t need to be pruned. Just remove dead branches. If you do need to prune, do it right after it blooms.
6. Your Azaleas are Not Deer Resistant
According to Rutgers University, azaleas are not deer resistant. They are rated occasionally to frequently severely damaged by deer. However, from personal experience, I have not had any deer damage with my azaleas but maybe cause I have hostas planted near them and they prefer the hostas!
Facts About Azaleas
|Botanical Name||Rhododendron species|
|Sun or Shade||Part Shade|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Slightly acidic soil|
|Bloom Time||Varies- Spring to Summer|
|Flower Color||Many Colors-Pink, White, Purple, Red, Yellow and Orange|
|Height||Varies- less than 12 inches to over 10 feet|
|Toxic to Pets?||Yes|
Tips for Planting Your Azaleas
Where is the Best Place to Plant Azaleas?
Plant azaleas in a shady location that gets a few hours of morning sunlight if you are in zones 7-11. For colder climates (zones 3-6), plant in full sun locations that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Since azaleas have shallow root systems, it needs to be planted in moist, well-drained soil. They need soil that is slightly acidic. Avoid planting near foundation walls since the surrounding soil can be slightly alkaline.
How to Plant Azaleas?
Before planting your azaleas, you need to prepare the soil first. Prepare the soil by making sure it is acidic and adding compost. You can add soil acidifier to make the soil acidic. Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and 2x as wide as the root ball. Don’t dig too deep since azaleas have shallow root systems! Top with soil, mulch, and compost. Water thoroughly. Keep up with the watering since the roots can quickly dry out.
When is the Best Time to Plant Azaleas?
The best time to plant your azaleas is in the Spring.
Azaleas: Frequently Asked Questions
Are Azaleas Toxic to Pets?
Azaleas are toxic to dog and cats. Use fencing to keep your dogs and cats away from your azalea shrubs.
What Fertilizer Should You Use on Your Azaleas?
Use acidic fertilizer specifically for azaleas.
How Big Do Your Azaleas Get?
Azaleas can grow from less than 12 inches to over 10 feet. It depends on the azalea variety.
How to Choose Healthy Azaleas to Plant?
When buying azalea plants, choose an azalea plant without flowers. Also, look for medium to dark green foliage, and avoid buying azaleas with pale green foliage. Check that the roots are strong (pull it out of the pot and it should not break off) and that there are no signs of diseases. Also, make sure the soil is moist. Don’t buy potted azaleas with dry soil.
What’s the Best Way to Prepare your Azaleas for Winter?
Prepare your azaleas for winter by mulching them but leave the area around the trunk unmulched. Water during warm days in the winter since Azalea’s shallow root system is prone to drying out.
Where to Buy Azaleas Online?
You can buy azaleas from online retailers like Amazon.com and Naturehills.com. Click on the links below to compare prices.
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How Do You Propagate Your Azaleas?
You can propagate azaleas from stem cuttings. Simply cut off a 4 inch long stem from any azaleas branch. Avoid cutting from branches with yellow leaves. Dip the azalea stem in rooting hormone and then plant in moist soil or sand. Keep the stem cutting in part shade and watered. Wait for the roots to develop. You can check occasionally by gently tugging on the cutting, if there is resistance, then you know there are roots. Be patient, it takes approximately 2-4 months to develop roots.
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