The Q&A Archives: Azaleas

Question: I've moved into a new home with numerous mature azalea bushes, when, if at all, should they be pruned and what care should they be given in the spring before blooming?

Answer: Azaleas bloom in the spring and then spend the summer months producing flower buds for the following year's floral display. So, prune immediately after flowering has finished to give your plants ample time to produce new growth and new flower buds. I prune my plants lightly each year to keep them full and bushy, and to keep them blooming each and every year, but many gardeners prune them only every 3-4 years, knowing that they will lose out on a flowering season the following spring. If your azaleas are overgrown, you may want to gradually reduce their sizes over a period of years by cutting them back slightly after each bloom cycle. You won't need to do anything in terms of fertilizer until after blooming has finished. At that time, feed with a special Rhododendron/Azalea fertilizer in amounts as recommended on the label. Enjoy your azaleas!

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