How to Plant Azalea Bushes
Azalea bushes are easily one of the most popular shrubs in the United States. It is popular to plant azaleas in mass as a hedge for maximum effect and blossoms. While some Azaleas have a relatively short spring bloom time, Encore Azaleas, such as the stunning Autumn Starburst bloom in both the spring and the fall.
With many azalea varieties to choose from, you can easily find one that will match the size and style that you are looking for to enhance your landscape.
Azaleas will thrive best when planted in a location that receives sun in the morning, but a break from the afternoon sun. Direct all-day sun may scorch the azalea flowers.
Azalea shrubs have shallow leaves. This means they do not have deep roots that can search for water in times of drought. This means that you need to keep the soil moist. However, adjust the watering schedule depending on where your azalea is planted. If your shrub receives full sun and you are in a warmer climate, water more often and less often vise versa for shady cool areas.
Azalea Shrubs grow best when fertilized lightly in the spring once frost has passed with a well-balanced, extended-release fertilizer such as Espoma Holly-tone. Fertilize Azaleas again 6 to 8 weeks later to encourage extra flowers or faster growth of young shrubs. Either chemical fertilizers or organic matter can be used successfully with Azalea Shrubs. Since an organic method of applying manure and/or compost around the roots produces excellent results and improves the condition of the soil, this would be an excellent first line of attack. Organic additions to the soil can be combined with a shot of chemical fertilizer for maximum effect. If chemical fertilizers are used on your Azalea Shrubs, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year is probably the simplest solution.
Azaleas are notitably not cold hardy. Some varieties are hardy down to grow zone 5, others unfortunately are not. Generally, they are hardy between 30 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Azaleas are known to be toxic to both humans and pets. The danger is in their honet that is produced in the blossoms. Although severe injury is not likely, be sure to keep this shrub away from pets and children.
We highly recommend that you mulch your Azalea Shrubs with either a ground hardwood mulch or a ground cypress mulch depending on your local availability. Any mulch will do, but cypress or hardwood mulch will be of a higher quality. They will also provide better nutrition overall as they break down. Mulching helps keep weeds away that compete with your new investment for water and nutrients. A 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch is sufficient but remember to take care not to cover any part of the stem with mulch. It's better to leave a one-inch gap of space between the mulch and the stem or trunk of the plant.