How to Prune & Transplant Azaleas


Azaleas are a flowering shrub closely related to the rhododendron. Their bright and extensively varied flowers bring a splash of beauty and color to the landscape. Hardy in USDA planting zones 4 to 9, the azalea can handle a variety of climates. Azaleas are understory plants meaning that they are most comfortable under the filtered shade of a larger tree. Transplanting a large azalea may take a few extra hands (and shovels) but once your plant is in the right place it will be beautiful and healthy shrub.

Step 1

Measure the diameter of the drip line around your azalea. The drip line is the line on the ground that is directly under the tips of the longest branches.

Step 2

Dig a hole at the new planting site that is 2 feet deep and 1 foot wider than the drip line under your azalea.

Step 3

Mix peat moss and compost in equal parts into the soil you removed from the hole. Fill the bottom 12 inches with your new soil mixture.

Step 4

Cut 12 inches straight down all around the drip line under your azalea. Get help and employ two or more shovels to lift the root ball out of the soil.

Step 5

Place the root ball onto a tarp or into a wheelbarrow to move it to the new planting site.

Step 6

Fill the prepared hole with water and than place the root ball of your azalea into the hole.

Step 7

Fill in the soil around the root ball and water the area until the soil is saturated.

Step 8

Spread a 4 inch later of mulch around the base of your azalea. The mulch circle should extend 6 inches past the drip line.

Step 9

Clip off the flowers as they finish blooming. Be careful to take only the spent flowers and leave the newly forming buds lower on the stem.

Step 10

Prune your azalea sparingly in the fall and then only if the plant is growing into an unpleasing shape. Take off any dead or dying branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tarp or wheel barrow
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Pine bark nuggets
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • North Carolina State University:Asaleas
  • Ohio State University: Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas in Ohio

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum-USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: flowering shrubs azaleas, understory shrubs, landscape shrub care

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.