1. Choose the right variety. Azaleas are popular in the southeastern of United States because the flowers fit not-too-cold winter and longer summers. Azaleas are strong and require little maintenance. While different varieties have different maintenance methods. When you purchase flowers, you need to learn their varities from sellers, so you can care for them better and grow healthy and beautiful Azaleas.
There are two main types of Azalea, native Azalea, which grow like vines and also need no pruning; and Asian Azalea, which grow like shrubs.
There are also two varities of Asian Azalea, both of which are evergreen:
Kurume Azalea. This variety is red and bright, and the extension area is not large. It can be planted in pH tester, grow beds or in the ground. It needs simple maintenance as it grow no higher than 1.2 meters.
South Indian Azalea. Compared with Kurume Azalea, it grows taller even same as widow or door, and has many colors, with pink and white being the most common. If you have a large space, you can choose the variety, but you need to prune.
You can refer to the recommendations of local agricultural association when you select the variety. Or you can browse online about the descriptions of individual Azalea varieties.
2. Choose a sheltered area. Find a shaded area in your backyard or courty yard where sunlight can dappled through. This light is best for Azalea growth as too much light is not suitable, According to the Azalea society of America, Azaleas grow best in shade. There are also varieties that accept stronger sunlight, you can choose those varieties if your garden have little shaded area.
3. Make sure both pots and soils have a good drainage system. Azaleas need well-drained soil, not soil that gets waterlogged after a rain. How to identify if the drainage is good? Dig a hole before it rains, if there is stagnant water after the rain, it means that the drainage is not good, and the clay content may be too high; if there is no water in the pit after the rain, it means that the soil is well drained.
If the soil has poor drainage, you need to mix up with compost or other organic fertilizer. To be specific, dig out dozens of inches of soil, shovel it up and then mix it wirh compost. Or plant Azalea in flower pots or raised beds so that you can control drainage easily.
4. Prepare a pH tester for your garden. Azaleas prefer acidic soils, such as pH 5.5 or 6. If the soil is alkaline, it can be balanced with sulfur.
1. Dig a hole and plant it. Use a shovel to dig a hole deep enough to bury the roots of the Azalea. The width is slightly wider then the root system. After putting the Azaleas in, the roots are slightly exposed to the soil. Fill back with soil, sprinkle soil around the roots, and pat to firm with your hands. Moisten before planting. Dip the roots of the Azaleas in a bucket or spray with a hose before planting. If planting multiple Azaleas, keep a distance of several inches.
2. Water. Water slowly and thoroughly. Water the day after planting. Water at least once a week, or more frequently if there is direct sunlight. Don’t let the Azalea dry out or it will wither.
3. Add mulch after the flowers have naturally faded. Use pine bark, pine needles or wood chips. Mulch maintains soil moisture and temperature and keeps weeds away.
4. Fertilize when needed. If the soil is acidic and nutrient-dense, frequent fertilization is not necessary. If you want to fertilize, do it after flowers have naturally faded in the spring. Use cottonseed organic fertilizer or other specific fertlizers. Improper fertlization can lead to disordered flowering of Azaleas, so do not fertilize indiscriminately.
Cut off dead branches in spring. Early pruning can rejuvenate Azaleas. Find dead branches and other twigs that need pruning. Use pruning shears to cut off excess branches and dead branches. Don’t prune too much in spring. Healthy branches that have been pruned could have produced beautiful flowers. Major pruning will have to wait until summer.
Do major pruning if necessary. If the Azalea grows too large, you can make a major pruning to allow it to grow back. It should also be pruned after the spring flowers naturally wither, to have a buffer period, so the next flowering period won’t be affected.