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How To Grow Azaleas In Your Garden


Azaleas are perennial flowering shrubs. Popular in the southeast where the temperatures are mild and humid, azaleas are easy to grow and they add beautiful color to your yard. Azaleas are perfect for numerous landscape settings such as formal gardens, woodland settings, privacy hedges and borders along driveways or walkways. For both the novice and the experienced azalea planter, the gardening experts at Southern States have some tips on how to plant azaleas in your yard.

All azaleas and rhododendrons are classified as Rhododendron. These spring-blooming shrubs flourish in partial shade with well-drained soil. Choosing the right place to plant your azaleas will ensure their survival and you will be rewarded with beautiful, colorful blooms. A location with filtered sunlight is ideal, but azaleas can withstand morning sunlight with afternoon shade. Protect your shrubs from the wind by planting them near buildings. Azaleas will do best if planted in the spring or fall. If you plant them during warmer weather, be sure to keep them well watered.

Azaleas should be planted in an area with good soil drainage. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the best soil for azaleas is loamy topsoil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. If you are unsure of the soil's pH, use a soil test to determine its level. If the pH is too high, apply agricultural sulfur or iron sulfate to increase the acid level. Soil with high levels of acid, containing a pH level of 4.5 or lower, may be corrected by adding ground limestone.

In a prepared bed, space your azalea plants 3 to 4 feet apart depending on maturity size. Dig a hole in the dirt just deep enough for the root and the bottom of the shrub. Soak well after planting and add a light application of specialized azalea fertilizer made for acid-loving plants. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

When planting azaleas, it is better to plant your shrubs too shallow rather than too deep. Cover the exposed root ball with mulch. Use about two inches of mulch around your azaleas to help keep the soil moist and to protect the roots from extreme cold or heat. The best types of mulch to use include coarse materials such as partly decomposed oak leaves or shavings, pine needles and hardwood chips.

Prune your azaleas soon after they bloom. If you wait too long, you may cut off the next season's flowers. You can thin the azaleas and cut the long, stray branches with hand clippers. It is also a good idea to fertilize your azaleas after they have finished blooming.

When it's time to plant your azaleas, find all the tools and gardening supplies you need at your local Southern States.


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