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Pruning Azaleas: Advice from a Garden Expert

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Azaleas are so popular every spring in the south. Here in Georgia it represents the beginning of warm weather for spring and tells us that it’s time to break our slumber and get out in that yard and take back control. In the south, especially Georgia, azaleas thrive in conditions that most other plants detest. Shade and extremely acidic soil is often a deal breaker for other plants and turf grasses in the south but this is where azaleas hit their stride.



When I moved into my house 15 years ago my landscape was evolving slowly but as a couple springs had passed I found that I was jealous of everyone’s azaleas and it was time to do something about it. Having half an acre of tall hickory and oak trees and plenty of shade, the conditions were perfect. One weekend and 60 azaleas later I had done 1 huge mass planting with 3 different types of azaleas, 2 types of Indica azaleas and 1 type of Kurume azaleas.



Growing up with several George Tabor azaleas that were over 8 foot tall, I knew I had to get more of those as well as the brilliant purple Formosa azalea who’s color is unique to other azaleas. These 2 Indica azaleas grow much faster than the Kurume but adding the Kurume, which is shorter with darker, smaller leaves broke up the mass planting with its height and gave my yard an extended blooming time by having planted early and mid blooming azaleas. The late blooming satsuki azaleas will come next.



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When Do I Need To Prune?

This also means that I get to prune these plants 2 different times all about 2 weeks apart of each other. Azaleas need to be pruned within 2 to 3 weeks after they have finished blooming in the spring, as they set bud for the next year’s flowers shortly after blooming. That’s right, so if you prune in the fall then you have cut off all of next spring’s flowers.


Because Encore azaleas bloom repeatedly, there can be some confusion. The simple answer for Encores is to prune them after their early spring bloom if they need pruning. This way they will have plenty of growing season to bloom again.


How Do I Prune Them?


Whatever you do, do not trim them with the hedge trimmer. Doing this makes it look like you threw a flowery blanket over a bush next spring. Trust me when I say, it looks bad. Get your pruners and prune the bushes at 2 or 3 different depths. This allows for flowers to have depth into the bushes and you can increase your bloom time by several days and it looks much better.

Other related articles:

How and When to Prune Roses

How to Prune Crape Myrtles

Keep Your Azalea Garden Blooming For 8 Months

Encore Azalea


Indica Azalea


11 Shade Loving Shrubs

When to Fertilize Azaleas

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Posted 2015-01-04T21:15:57+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL
Great Post Ingar, 

Those azaleas must keep you busy! 

I would love to see some pictures when they are in bloom, it must be quite a display!

We love azaleas in Boston, but it is quick show... weather permitting. 

I am looking forward to Spring, and seeing some photos of your beautiful parade of azaleas. 
Posted 2015-01-06T15:33:09+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
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