How to Bloom Red Azaleas

Overview

Azaleas are pretty flowering shrubs that belong to the same plant family as the larger rhododendrons. Thousands of different varieties of azaleas exist, and the red flowering variety is among the most stunning. This azalea prefers a somewhat shady environment and does best under filtered sunlight. If you grow your red azalea in soil that is slightly acidic and fast draining and you keep it moist, your red azalea should bloom in season.

Getting a Red Azalea to Bloom

Step 1

Build a raised bed that is rich with compost for your red azalea. Plant the azalea with the root ball slightly above the top of the soil. Spread a layer of mulch, such as grass clippings, around the base of your plant to keep the area weed free and the soil moist.

Step 2

Add compost to your soil every year after your red azalea stops blooming. If you want, you can also add a special azalea fertilizer, but it's not mandatory.

Step 3

Water well, especially during late spring and summer; check to make sure it is receiving at least three hours of sunlight every day. Give it the nutrition it needs, especially phosphorus.

Step 4

Nourish your red azalea with humus and mulch. Chemical fertilizers are rarely needed if your soil is rich and your plant receives some additional nutrition from the mulch.

Step 5

Force blooming by using a low nitrogen or "blossom booster" fertilizer in late winter before buds form.

Step 6

Deadhead spent flowers from your plant by pinching them off after they fade; this will encourage the red azalea to make more flowers rather than creating seeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid pruning your red azalea after it begins to set buds because doing this will eliminate future flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Azalea fertilizer
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Blossom booster fertilizer

References

  • Azalea web site
  • Azalea Society of America
Keywords: azalea red, blooming perennials, flowering ornamentals

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.