Shrubs & Hedges
Planting and Growing Azalea Shrubs
Choosing a Location for Azalea Shrubs
Azalea Shrubs need an area that is partially shaded with acidic (pH 5.5), well-drained soil. Getting your soil tested with a kit from your local nursery or from your state or county agriculture extension service office will help you know what your soil needs are. If it's too acidic, you can add lime. If it is too alkaline, add ammonium or peat moss.
Planting Your Azalea Shrub
Carefully remove the plant from the pot, being sure not to pull on the plant to get the roots out. When planting more than one shrub, allow a few feet between to give the shallow roots plenty of room to spread.
Dig the hole a few inches deeper than the pot, and as wide as the mature plant. Azaleas should sit even, or slightly higher, than the ground around the hole. Place your new plant in the hole and water. Fill with soil, gently tamping it down as you add soil so as not to damage the roots. Once the hole is filled, water the azaleas slowly for 5 to 10 minutes to eliminate air pockets. Next, spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the soil.
Caring for Azalea Shrubs
Early spring is ideal for pruning azaleas, especially Conversation Piece Azaleas, before they put out new growth. You may even cut off this season’s flowers to bring their beauty inside. This will give the plant plenty of time to fill out and for the growth to mature before winter. Azaleas start growing next year’s flower buds right after they bloom.