How to Prune Native Azaleas


Native azaleas are sometimes called bush honeysuckle. Although the flowering shrub is not related to the honeysuckle family, they produce trumpet-shaped blooms similar to those produced by honeysuckle vines. Like most azalea shrubs, native azaleas need very little pruning. Pruning an azalea should be undertaken to make the plant fuller and better branched, or to remove weak spindly growth, dead or diseased branches and branches that rub one another.

Step 1

Prune your azaleas just after they bloom. Azaleas bloom in early spring on the previous season's growth. If you prune azaleas after they produce a flush of summer growth, the plants will have fewer blossoms the next year.

Step 2

Follow dead azalea branches back to the point where the azalea is alive. Living wood will have a green cambium layer beneath the bark. If you nick the bark with your fingernail, you will reveal the cambium layer. Cut back dead azalea branches to the living wood.

Step 3

Cut back an overgrown azalea by removing the longest branches back to the central trunk of the plant.

Step 4

Remove diseased branches of azaleas, branches that rub against one another or weak growth at the point where the branch meets the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not shear azaleas back with hedge trimmers. This gives the plants an unnatural shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Prune azaleas immediately after flowering
  • Texas A&M Extension: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Pruning Too Early

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension:Azaleas for Florida
Keywords: pruning azaleas, cutting back azaleas, spring blooming shrubs

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."