Can azaleas be grown in a container ? - Knowledgebase Question

Hershey, PA
Question by maryhammach
May 21, 2007
I received an azalea plant as a gift and am unable to plant in the ground because of other planting being done sometime this summer. I would like to know if I can plant it in a pot and keep it outside during the winter. Some friends told me that it will freeze and I would probebly lose it. It is really beautiful and I don't want to kill it, but I am in a bind. Can you help me?
Thank you for your help - MJ


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Answer from NGA
May 21, 2007

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Unfortunately, it will be difficult to keep it growing long term in a container under home conditions. Azaleas have a spreading, shallow root system so are not well suited to containers. They also need evenly moist yet well drained soil so special attention to watering is required. And in winter, as you mentioned, the roots are not as well insulated in a container as they would be in the ground. If you manage to keep it going over the summer, you might be able to overwinter it in a cool location that is below 45 degrees but above freezing, watering just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely. Otherwise, maybe you could plant it at a gardening friend's house where you could visit it from time to time. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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