How to Fertilize Azaleas

Overview

Azaleas are small shrubs that bloom in early to mid-spring. The blossoms often completely cover the plants and come in white, shades of pink and even yellow. Because they are an acid-loving plant, they require different fertilizing methods than most other garden plants. Azaleas don't need a lot of fertilizer, but they do require regular feeding in order to produce their spectacular blossoms every spring.

Step 1

Prune off any dead or diseased branches, as well as faded blossoms immediately after the flowers fade in mid-spring.

Step 2

Remove the mulch by pulling it away from the base of the azalea. Spread slow-release, high nitrogen granulated fertilizer around the plant, following the manufacturer's recommended rate of application. Keep the granules of fertilizer from touching the base of the plant as it can burn the bark. Replace the mulch.

Step 3

Apply granulated fertilizer that is specially formulated for azaleas around the base of the plant approximately six weeks after the first fertilizer application in the north and eight weeks in the south. Use the same method of application that you used to apply the high-nitrogen fertilizer and follow the manufacturer's recommended rates of application. Do not fertilize after July in the north. In the south, fertilize every eight weeks until early September.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize azaleas later in the season than is recommended for your location. The tender new growth will not have enough time to harden off before winter and may be killed off by cold weather, thereby reducing the number of flowers the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clippers
  • Granulated slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer
  • Granulated slow-release fertilizer specially formulated for acid-loving plants

References

  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Texas A&M University: Azalea Time Down South
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