Pink azaleas are a classic southern choice for a landscaping shrub. But before you make room in your garden, keep in mind that these finicky beauties are quite difficult to grow. Without the right conditions and constant care, they will not reach their full potential. So before you plant pink azaleas, be sure that you have the time, effort and know-how to give them the care they need.
Choose a location for your pink azaleas. Azaleas are quite particular about where they grow. Ideally they should be placed in a location where they receive sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon (although they will tolerate dappled shade). However, if the shade is too deep, your azaleas will not grow or bloom to their full potential. Conversely, if they are placed where they receive too much direct sunlight, they become more susceptible to lace bugs and their pink blossoms may become bleached by the sun.
Dig a hole. If you are only planting one azalea bush, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the width of your azalea's container or root ball and 18 inches deep. For a row of azaleas, dig a trench that is 18 inches deep and 30 inches wide.
Amend the soil. Azaleas need a lot of organic matter in the soil. Create a soil mixture that is 1/2 compost and 1/2 peat moss and equal in amount to the soil that you excavated. Turn it into the excavated soil.
Test the amended soil's pH with an electronic pH meter. Pink azaleas need acidic soil, ideally somewhere between 5.0 and 6.0. If your soil is not acidic enough, amend the soil with agricultural ground rock sulfur according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Remove your pink azalea from its container. Loosen the roots with your hands by gently pulling outward. If the azalea is root bound, use a knife to make three to six 2-inch deep vertical cuts, evenly spaced around the surface of the root ball. Then loosen the roots with your hands by gently pulling outward.
Water the root ball thoroughly.
Plant your pink azalea. Fill in the hole or trench with amended soil so that your azalea sits 8 inches above ground level when placed in the hole. Mound the soil around the azalea (but not on top of the root ball) to create a raised bed. Then pat the soil down firmly to remove air pockets.
Spread a 2-to 4-inch layer of organic mulch around your pink azalea.