Planting Azaleas

azaleas-under-oakAzaleas are arguably the most beautiful of shade shrubs. They brighten the cool, shady spots in your landscape. Similar in culture to Ferns, Camellias, and Rhododendrons, they can be grouped together to create an inviting and colorful landscape. Azaleas are available in an amazing variety of colors and a few different species; some handling a little more sun.

Select the Proper Site
Azaleas are shade loving plants but most varieties will tolerate early morning sun. If you have an area with a bit more sun, “Southern Indica” Azaleas may tolerate sun as late as noon.  Azaleas prefer soils that drain well.

Preparing the Soil

  1. Dig a hole 1″ shallower and 2-3 times wider than the root ball. These plants are shallow rooted and their root ball should rise slightly above the surrounding soil areas.
  2. Broadcast 1/2 cup GreenAll FST within the perimeter of the hole and  work lightly into the native soil.
  3. Prepare a back-fill soil by mixing 3 parts Master Nursery Acid Planting Mix Natural & Organic with 1 part native soil. Fertilize this soil by mixing in Master Start Fertilizer Or E. B. Stone Organic Sure Start. (See the chart below to know how much to use.)
  4. Remove the plant from its container. Set it in the hole and confirm the crown is 1″ above soil level. Make adjustments as necessary. If the root ball is tightly compacted, loosen the outer roots by gently slicing with a knife 1/2″ deep vertical cuts about every 3″ around the root ball.
  5. Partially fill the hole around the root ball with the back fill mix. Tamp the soil lightly. The root ball should still be 1″ above the surrounding soil. (Never place soil above the root ball, covering the stem.  Azaleas are very particular about this).
  6. Make a water basin around the outside of the hole, large enough to hold a generous amount of water.   Add a nice layer of bark mulch 2-3″ deep around the base of the plant, (within the water basin, but again, not against the stem of the plant).
  7. Water deeply. Flooding the water basin will allow moisture to soak into the root ball.

azalea-chart

Watering & Feeding
Make sure to check your plants for water regularly. Where this planting method is great for the plants over time, it is easy for transplants to dry out soon after planting. Keep the root zone moist but not soggy. Maintaining the 3″ layer of bark mulch will help to retain moisture and acidify the root zone.

azaleas-under-oakWe recommend you feed your plants with Master Nursery Camellia Azalea Food or E.B. Stone Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Food monthly March through September. Supplement this with GreenAll FST in March, May and September. During bud set and blooming season (October through February for most of these plants) feed monthly with Master Nursery Master Bloom for bigger, more prolific blossoms.

Pruning and Care
After blooming, frequent pinching of the branch tips will result in a fuller, bushier plant.