Azaleas: Tips to Grow a True Southern Belle

If you're from the South, your yard has to have at least one azalea but chances are you've got them everywhere. When these evergreen shrubs begin to light up our landscapes with pops of color, this is how we know that Spring has sprung! 

If you're anything like us, you've already got Spring fever. This weather has us putting on our gardening gloves and ready to play in the dirt. If you're looking to add color to your yard this time of year, try planting a row of azaleas. They come in hundreds of shades ranging from deep magentas to pure white. Take a look at our tips below to be sure you maximize your ROI (return on investment)!

Tips to Grow a True Southern Belle

  • It's a good idea to purchase your azaleas when they're in bloom (or at least beginning to bud) to be sure you've selected the perfect hue of pastel pink, fuchsia, salmon or white. 
  • If you'd like your azaleas to bloom more often, be sure to select one of the Encore variety which will produce blooms during the Spring, Fall and Mid-Summer.
  • Plant in a well-drained, sunny to particially-sunny area that receives between six to eight hours of light a day. Acidic soil is best. Azaleas do not fair well in clay. 
  • Azaleas make great hedges. If you'd like to create a hedge, be sure to read the tag. You'll want to plant according to the average plant width for accurate spacing. 
  • To plant, dig a hole about twice as wide as the root ball and about the same depth as the plant in the pot.
  • Amend the soil in the hole with soil conditioner and cow manure. 
  • To encourage healthy growth, add Biotone which promotes root growth. 
  • Water throughly and deeply after planting and then around twice a week after that. The roots of the plant will follow the moisture so don't just use a sprinkler for watering. Watering with a sprinkler will produce shallow roots. Water with a hose.
  • Holytone is the best fertilizer for acid-loving evergreens like azaleas but it encourages leaf growth. For your new plants, you'll want to wait until early fall to fertilize so that your shrubs can concentrate their energy on establishing their roots first. Wait until early Fall to fertilize. For any existing azaleas, fertilize in early Spring and Fall.

Interested in finding out more about plants, creating your own Spring DIY project or participating in one of our classes? Be sure to visit us for our annual Spring Fling! Registration is required for classes and they do fill up quickly.