How to Landscape With Azaleas

Overview

The azalea is a perennial flowering shrub. The Azalea Society of America calls this plant the royalty of the garden. This popular shrub is showy with flower clusters that mass over the entire plant during peak bloom. Varieties range in height from 1 to 6 feet tall to fit nearly any landscape design. The versatile azalea comes in thousands of colors and blossom styles suitable for home gardens.

Step 1

Choose deciduous or evergreen azaleas. Native or deciduous azaleas lose leaves in autumn, changing from green to autumn orange leaves as they shed for winter. The bare plant opens up the ground to winter sunlight. Evergreen azaleas provide year-round foliage as landscape greenery. Pick varieties suited to the location. Azaleas are available in sun and shade varieties. The shade azaleas prefer filtered light or part shade and do not thrive in full sun or summer heat. Varieties of sun-loving azaleas will grow in shade, but give their most profuse blooming in full sun.

Step 2

Design your azalea plantings by foliage and color. Azalea foliage comes in green shades from pale lime to deep forest green. Blooms are red, pink, white, orange, yellow and maroon. Consider planting azaleas as the anchor plants for colorful annual bedding plants with contrasting foliage and blossoms.

Step 3

Plant by size. Use dwarf or low-growing azaleas in rock gardens, along paths or as container plants. These azaleas are planted in groups of three to five on mounds as landscape accents. Plant a low-growing border to soften the appearance of irregular or uneven ground. They spread as a colorful green mass with seasonal color. Use medium azaleas, maturing at 3 to 6 feet, as foundation plants or hedges. These azaleas form spreading green masses that can be easily pruned into dense home-hugging bushes. Select tall azaleas as background or wall shrubs. Growing 6 feet or more at maturity, these azaleas are suited to large or estate lots. The Azalea Society suggests planting the tall cultivars with their relatives, the rhododendrons, in woodland gardens.

Step 4

Prune your azaleas after blooming. They rarely need fertilizer. They are low maintenance when planted with good drainage. Plant other landscape plants among or near azaleas as the azaleas partner well with other plants and are not invasive. They tolerate a wide range of climates and naturalize to low water and drip irrigation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Azaleas are woody plants. They grow best when left in one spot. When mature shrubs are transplanted, they are often slow to recover.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Shovel

References

  • Azalea Society of America

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Selecting and Growing Azaleas
Keywords: azalea bloom, azalea landscape, azalea garden

About this Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.