are relatively pest-free, forgiving and easy to grow plants. Their
cultural needs include:
- High shade is preferable
but some varieties do well in full sun, especially deciduous types.
While more sun typically produces more compact plants with more
blooms, the blooms will not last as long.
- Slightly acid soil
(pH 5.5-6) is best and is usually found under oak, pine and holly
- A mulch of pine
bark, pine needles or wood chips helps to keep moisture in the
ground, even out changes in the soil temperature, and keep weeds
out. An inch or so around the root zone and a thicker layer between
the plants is desirable.
- Azaleas do not like
"wet feet". Good drainage is most easily provided by planting
azaleas with the tops of their root balls a few inches above ground
level and mounding the soil up to the plants. This is particularly
important with heavy clay soil.
- Azaleas like moist
soil at their roots. This may require supplemental watering through
early fall, at least until plants are established in the ground
for a few years. Adequate water after bloom helps to produce more
flower buds for next year. An infrequent deep soaking is more
effective than superficial sprinkling. The amount of water needed
depends on the soil, temperature, humidity, wind and sunlight.
In a dry fall, water heavily after a good frost, before cold weather
- Established azaleas
do not need fertilizer. To avoid inducing new growth which may
be killed in the winter, do any fertilizing in late winter or
early spring; never after July 1.
- To avoid cutting
off next year's flower buds, do major pruning of azaleas soon
after they bloom. Shortening or removal of long slender stems
with no side shoots and cutting out dead wood may be done at any
- As needed, a fungicidal
spray in the spring as the buds show color will control blight,
a fungal disease that appears as discolored dots on the petals
and quickly discolors and collapses the blossoms.