Rose & Flower Gardening
Azaleas are bright and colorful and a sure sign spring has arrived. Easy to grow, azaleas make a colorful complement to any landscape.
Know the Best Time to Plant Azaleas
Spring and fall, when temperatures are cool, are excellent times. But if you buy in spring when the azaleas are blooming, you'll be assured of getting the colors you want. Summer planting is okay, but you'll have to water more frequently during hot weather.
Choose Your Site
Azaleas prefer a little sun and a little shade. Plant them in blazing hot sun and they may suffer leaf scorch or become targets for leaf-sucking pests, such as spider mites and lace bugs. Plant them in dense shade and they won't bloom. A good location is where they receive either dappled sun all day or sun in the morning and light shade in the afternoon. Good places might include spots under trees, or along the north side of your house.
Dig a hole that's twice as wide as your azalea's root ball. It should be deep enough so that the base of the shrub will be even with, or an inch higher than, the ground.
Put Your Azalea in Place
Tap the sides of your azalea's container, and then gently pull out your plant. Place it in the middle of the hole, and fill in the gap with a 50:50 mix of the soil removed from the hole and Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Trees & Shrubs. Gently pack down the soil, but don't stomp on it since your shrub's surface roots need air.
Water, Mulch and Feed
Once it's in place, water your azalea thoroughly at the base. Keep in mind that azaleas are sensitive to water stress. In summer, water every five days, making sure to soak the roots, not the leaves of the plant. Lay down a 3-inch layer of mulch to help your new plant retain moisture and stay free of weeds, or since your azalea loves acidic soil, mulch with a thick layer of pine needles. Be sure to keep the mulch 1 to 2 inches away from the base of the azalea. A month after planting, feed your azalea with a plant food formulated for acid-loving plants, such as Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food.