What are Azaleas?
Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron. These hardy bushes are perfect for adding color and depth to the home landscape. Low maintenance and easy to grow, Azaleas are great for group and foundation plantings, hedges, or even a single specimen. You have an endless list of options to brighten up your yard. Try a few different varieties for a lot of impact! All of the Rhododendron spp. that we carry are evergreen. Growing zone recommendations will vary with different Azalea varieties, but almost all grow in US hardiness zones 7 to 9 and many grow in growing zone 6 and zone 10.
What are Encore Azaleas?
The Encore Azalea collection boasts hardy evergreen Azaleas that rebloom for 3 seasons! They bloom in spring, summer and fall. Encores are pest and disease resistant and do well in full sun to part shade. We have several of these popular dwarf azaleas to choose from, in an array of colors. Many are even cold-hardy into growing zone 6!
How to Care for Azaleas
Most Azalea plants prefer some shade, but some newer varieties can tolerate and even thrive in full sunlight. In hotter climates some afternoon shade is optimal. Your soil should be well-drained and acidic. Alkaline soil should be amended with compost and/or elemental sulfur to decrease the pH and allow better uptake of nutrients. Using pine mulch helps acidify the soil naturally over time. Fertilize in late winter or early spring with a balanced slow-release fertilizer. Once established, Azalea care requires little to no effort.
How to Plant Azaleas
Water your Azalea in the pot thoroughly prior to planting. Next, dig a hole at least twice the width of the root ball and not quite as deep as the root ball is tall. Place the bush evenly in the hole. Be sure the top of the root ball is slightly higher than the existing soil line and backfill with the original soil you removed. Water deeply until it begins to pool on the ground surface. Apply 1 to 2 inches of pine straw or pine bark mulch to reduce watering needs and weeds that compete for nutrients. Azaleas like acidic soil and pine mulch will help acidify the soil over time. Water daily for about a week, 2 to 3 times per week for the next month, and 1 to 2 times weekly for the next month or so until your plant is established.
When to Plant Azaleas
Spring and fall are great times to plant Azaleas. If you avoid freezing and extremely hot temperatures you can plant almost any time of the year especially in mild climates. Cooler climates at the extreme of the zone recommendations should avoid planting any later than early fall. Southern and tropical climates should supplement with an excess of water when planting in summer.
How to Transplant Azaleas
Cold regions should transplant Rhododendron Azaleas in spring. Fall is the preferred time for hot climates, but winter and early spring work well too. Water well several hours prior to digging your shrubs up. You want the ground moist and workable but not sopping wet and messy. Using a sturdy shovel dig up your plant taking as much of the roots with you as possible. For large shrubs, place them on a tarp to be able to move it with ease. Replant as soon as possible. Water well, just like you would a new plant.
How to Prune Azaleas
You don’t need to prune azaleas, but pruning after they are done blooming can help encourage bushier growth and renew an older plant. Prune for shape at this time by shearing. Remove crossed, crowded, and weak branches at this time as well. Rejuvenation pruning can be performed on older, overgrown plants. For severely overgrown Azalea bushes, prune back severely to about 6 to 12 inches tall or prune back ⅓ of the oldest canes to the ground yearly for about 3 years or until all old wood is removed.
When to Prune Azaleas
These flowering shrubs bloom on old wood. Azalea flower buds begin to form in mid to late summer. This means right after blooming in spring is the best time to prune these Rhododendron bushes. Remove dead or damaged branches as soon as you notice them. Minor pruning like this can be done at any time.
Azaleas with Red Flowers
Azaleas with Pink Flowers
Azaleas with White Flowers
Azaleas with Bicolor Flowers
Azaleas with Orange Flowers
- Orange Macrantha Azalea (zones 7-9)