The Q&A Archives: pruning azaleas and camellias

Question: Have very old and overgrown shrubs. Need info on pruning/care - fertilize, etc. Thanks

Answer: Both azaleas and camellias develop flower buds during the summer months so if you prune them back now, you'll be losing some of the flowering ability for a year or so. Very overgrown shrubs should be reduced in size over several years. If you prune them back drastically, they may not recover. So, prune them back by one third now, again next spring and again the following spring to get them back into control. You'll lose the flowers, but you'll be able to take control of your shrubs. Azaleas and camellias can be fed in the spring with an acidified plant food. Look for one formulated especially for camellias and azaleas and apply in amounts as recommended on the label (which varies according to size and age of the shrub). Best wishes with your landscape!

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