How to Care for Azalea Bushes

Overview

Azaleas are considered flowering shrubs of the rhododendron family. Azalea flowers bloom in the spring, but die back in the fall. Flower colors include white, orange, red and purple. These shrubs grow from 2 and 8 feet in height. Azalea bushes grow best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8b. If you have added an azalea bush to your landscape, you will need to learn how to properly care for it.

Step 1

Plant azalea bushes where they will get shade during the hottest part of the day. The area they are planted should also contain a well-draining soil. According to Ohio State University, azalea bushes require a pH of 4.5 to 5.5., so testing the soil for pH and proper drainage is a must.

Step 2

Add a mixture of sphagnum peat moss, organic compost and pine bark mulch to the top 1 foot of soil. This will add nutrients to the soil, help aerate the soil and keep the soil draining properly.

Step 3

Water your azalea bushes so that the soil is always moist. This is important, even during the fall months.

Step 4

Mulch around the base of your azalea bush with some pine bark needles. The Gardeners Network recommends pine park needles because they will help keep the the acidity levels where they need to be.

Step 5

Fertilize your azalea bush only once each year. Use a 10-6-8 water-soluble fertilizer in the late fall. Follow all directions on the packaging label.

Step 6

Prune your azalea bush once each spring. This will help promote new growth, but be careful you do not prune too heavily. This can lead to no blooms for up to three years.

Things You'll Need

  • pH test
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Compost
  • Pine bark mulch
  • Water
  • Pine bark needles
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Texas A&M University: Azalea
  • The Gardener's Network: How to Grow and Care for Azalea Bushes
  • Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas in Ohio
Keywords: azalea bushes, caring for azaleas, growing azaleas

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.