Want to grow and care azalea? Don’t know where to start from? This article is a perfect guide for those who want to grow azalea in their home garden. Not only that, this article will help you to care for azalea post-planting. Have a look!
Azaleas are known for their royal beauty and notoriously colorful blossoms. This plant provides various vibrant flowers, including red, purple, orange, white, pink, and more just like hibiscus varieties.
Azalea is a form of a bush that makes your garden blissful and enchanting. To top of this, it’s a wonderful houseplant, so you can easily grow it in your garden spaces.
Therefore, if you want to learn how to grow Azaleas and care for this magnificent species, read the entire post. We’ve covered the information you need to grow a plant successfully.
Also Read: How to Grow and Care Hydrangeas
In the end, we’ve given caring tips that help to survive your plant for years. So, let’s get started and check how to grow and care azalea.
But before that, a little overview of azaleas will help you to know more about this plant and how you can take extra care of it. Have a look!
All About Azalea
Azaleas belong to the genus Rhododendron, and they can be grown as indoor and outdoor plants. The leaves of this plant are smaller and have pointed ends.
The shrub can grow up to 25 feet and easily thrive in all seasons. This plant species can grow excellently in the warm-climate region. However, it doesn’t survive in freezing areas.
Moreover, you’ve to be careful because Azaleas are poisonous to children and animals. Hence, it’s better to keep this plant away from the reach of children and animals.
There are more than 10,000 varieties of Azaleas available that are obtained through hybridization.
However, the two primary groups of the Azaleas are deciduous and evergreen. Read below to know about the most common type of the Azaleas which you can grow in your region.
1. White Tsutsuji Rgohodendron (White Evergreen Azaleas)
The species can be grown in the United States. However, it requires shady places to grow and produces rounded white flowers.
The foliage of the shrub is lighter green and grows off the ground. Growing plumeria also gives beautiful white color flowers.
2. Pink Azaleas (Rhododendron Subgenus Azalea)
The pink flowering plant is best known for its hardy wood and can grow in a cold climate. It can tolerate temperatures below zero.
The flowers of the plant produce magnificent fragrances to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Do think about growing sweet peas flowers if you love pink.
3. Lemon Lights Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Lemon Lights’)
The shrub grows yellow color flowers and belongs to the crucial part of the northern light series. The petals of the flowers are narrow and open facing.
The shrub loses foliage during the winter season. However, the blossom remains intact.
4. Orchid Lights Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Orchid Lights’)
The shrub is covered with light pink and lavender flowers. The flowers have a fuchsia spot, and the blossoms have a trumpet shape.
This variety also carries fruit and has ornamental value.
5. Hot Shot Girard Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Hot Shot’)
This is one of the ideas for a shrub with low hedges and borders. It produces bright orange color flowers throughout the year.
Moreover, the plant can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and have evergreen foliage. It can spread within 24-30 inches of area.
6. Fireball Hardy Azalea (Rhododendron ‘’Fireball’)
This variety of azaleas grows rapidly and has striking reddish-orange color flowers. The foliage has a dark green tint and produces deep red blossoms.
This shrub doesn’t require pruning. These are some of the varieties of azalea that can be grown with minimum care and have beautiful flowers.
You can choose the one according to the place where you live.
How to Grow and Care Azalea
Azalea can be grown through various propagation methods and from seeds. We have mentioned both the ways that will help you to grow azalea in your garden.
The caring tips will be after once you learn how to grow azalea. So, let’s not wait further, have a look at the propagation methods to grow azalea.
How to Propagate the Azalea
There are mainly two methods that help in propagating azalea. One is through stem cuttings while the other is using the Air Layering method.
We have written both the methods in steps format so that it will be easy for you to understand. Have a look!
Method 1. Propagating Azalea through Stem Cuttings
Find the steps below to propagate azalea from a healthy stem cutting from a grown plant!
- You need to cut the semi-hardwood cuttings that are flexible, tender and have new shoots.
- Cut the stems at least 5-6 inches right after flowering. Select the wood that is at least one year old and is flexible
- Remove all the leaves from the lower half and trim the leaves from the leaf node region.
- Gently scrape out the bark of the cuttings with a sharp knife
- Now dip the cutting end into the rooting hormone and remove the excess root hormone.
- Insert the cutting into the moist rooting medium, such as vermiculite, peat moss, and sand.
- Keep the container in a shady spot in the garden where the cutting can receive bright light.
- Add water regularly and keep the soil moist. Do not waterlog the soil. Check out many other soil preparation tips by clicking the link.
- The roots will appear after 4-8 weeks, and once you observe the roots, you can transplant this cutting into the bigger pot and let them grow.
Also Read: How to Take Proper Care for Orchids
Method 2. Propagating Azalea through Layering Method
Layering is the best and easiest method to grow the Azaleas in your garden spaces. Have a look that the steps that will help you grow azalea through the layering method.
- Pick a downward branch that is long & elastic adequate to bend before breaking and touching the ground. The stalk should be in touch with the ground by 2 to 3 inches. The branch tip should protrude 6 to 8 inches off the ground.
- Gently scrape out the part of the stem you want to bury under the soil. Make sure to scrape out an inch long.
- Apply rooting hormone to the section and remove excess rooting hormone.
- Now dig out the soil at least three to four inches deep and place the stem in the soil and cover it. Leave the top of the stem.
- Roots will form after 6-12 weeks. You can check the roots by gently tugging the stem tip.
- Let the plant be at the place for at least two years. Then, snip the parental stem just above the earth to transplant.
- Dig just beyond the new plant’s continuously moving to soften the soil from around touching stem with a spade or shovel.
- The dripline is a hypothetical circle that wraps around the plant, starting at the stem tip that would be the closest away.
These are the methods that will help you propagate azalea. You can choose the one that you find easy and supports the location where you live.
Azalea Growing Tips
Below are some of the azalea growing tips that you can follow to have a healthy plant. Have a look!
- Late spring is the right time to grow Azaleas in your garden. It grows excellently in partially shady places with wind protection. However, the deciduous species of the Azaleas can grow well under the full sun.
- Make sure to provide humus-rich, well-drained, acidic soil. The pH of the soil is 4.5-6.
- Add mulch during the winter because the shallow roost can dry out quickly if you do not cover it with mulch. The mulch can be of pine needles, oak leaf mold, pine, and aged oak. It is also helpful to enhance the acidic level.
- The decaying mulch can enrich the soil with vital nutrients, so you don’t need to add extra fertilizer to the soil.
- Diseases and insects may bother plants, so you must take care of the plant.
How to Grow Azaleas
Azaleas can easily be grown from seeds. You can collect these seeds from the seed pod and purchase them from the stores.
The seed pods are observed when the flowers of the Azaleas start dropping. However, this is a slow process and may take two to three years to grow and let the shrub blossom.
But if you want to grow your Azalea from the seed, you must first collect the seeds before they turn brown. Once you collect the seeds pod, dry them until the seed pod splits open.
- Collect the seeds and clean them. During the winter, the seed pod may have a mixture of peat moss and sand. You can clean it before sowing the seeds.
- Sow the seed on the surface of the plastic tray and cover it with soil. Place it in a warm and bright-light location but not in direct sunlight. Cover the tray with plastic wrap.
- The seeds will germinate within two to size weeks. At this stage, the seeds will split out and start showing true leaves.
- Once you observe the tiny leaves, remove the plastic bag and transplant them into the pot and keep it in bright sunlight and then in the shade to grow them properly.
- Continue growing your plant in indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Make sure to allow plants to breathe fresh air and get bright sunlight during the morning.
These are the steps above that you can follow to grow azalea from seeds. Once the plant is growing, some azalea caring tips are discussed below.
How to Care for Azalea
Doesn’t matter whether you are growing Azalea as an indoor or outdoor plant. You have to take care of your plant in both conditions.
These are some of the caring tips that you have to follow:
Azaleas can grow happily under the sunlight. However, you can avoid putting them under direct sunlight all day long. Also, avoid keeping them under shades full-time.
The best way to grow your shrub is to keep them under sunlight for 4-6 hours and under shade in the afternoon.
The water requirement may vary from climate to climate. It depends on the amount of sunlight your shrub receives.
Azaleas growing in cooler climates may require less water, only two to three times a month.
However, if you are growing your plant is a hot and humid climate, you may need to water your plant at least 2-3 times a week.
Azaleas can tolerate extreme weather conditions. But it cannot tolerate frosting and doesn’t tolerate temperature if it exceeds 80 degrees F.
On the other hand, the shrub growing in the Northern zones can tolerate an extreme temperature range of -20ºF. They can easily tolerate temperature ranges between 30ºF and 85ºF.
Poisonous honey is produced from the flowers of the Azaleas. The most frequent victims of azalea poisoning are dogs and cats.
There might be risks if the honey escapes everywhere throughout the factory. People who purposefully ingest the plant may develop life-threatening symptoms.
However, severe poisoning is uncommon. These are some of the best azalea caring tips that you can follow to grow a healthy plant.
Also Read: How to Grow and Care Black Dahlias Flowers
Pests and Diseases in Azalea
You don’t need to worry about pests and diseases if you have chosen the right place to grow your plant. But some insects like lace bugs and caterpillars can attack your plant.
Therefore, you can hand-picked them and kill them. Alternatively, you can use some insecticidal soap to deal with insects.
- The nematodes can also attack the shrub roots. Sadly, no such treatment is available to cure the shrub of the problem. The only thing that you can do is choose a disease-resistant variety and the right location.
- Other serious pest and disease issues are bark scale, leaf miners, and whiteflies. The bark scale can cause the blackness of the branches and may result in white cottony spots on the leaves.
- You may also observe sticky sooty things on the wood region. The best way to protect your plant from such an issue is to remove the infected branches and dispose of them.
- At the same time, whiteflies can cause wilted leaves, yellow color, and early falling of the leaves. You can use neem oil to protect your plant from whiteflies.
- The leaf miner is another major serious problem pest associated with the shrub. First, you have to remove the infected part of the plant. Sometimes, larvae of the leaf miner are deposited beneath the leaves.
- Moreover, they can make tunnels inside the foliage. Once they start maturing, the larvae may create the problem of a small brown color blister on the leaves.
- In addition, the leaf margin and tip start curling. Therefore, you can remove these larvae and destroy them as soon as you notice them.
- As far as diseases are concerned, powdery mildew is the most common disease which is caused due to Eryripe Azalea. On the other hand, petal blight is the most common fungus problem, which can easily be controlled with a fungicide.
- The powdery mildew can show grey dusting and fuzzy white dust on the stems and leaves.
- Moreover, the petal blight also shows similar sports and waterlogged spots on the leaves and flower petals. This may cause the flower to rot and turn the flower slimy.
- Other diseases that are associated with Azaleas are rust and twig blight. The twig blight is also a disease that can happen due to the fungus Briosia Azaleas; this results in the death of the bugs and early falling of the twigs. Moreover, the tips of the lead turn brown.
Therefore, removing infected branches and leaves is the only solution to dealing with such diseases.
Common Problems of Azalea
These are some of the common problems that are associated with Azaleas. You should take care of them in the early stages to save your plant from being dead.
1. Burnt Leaves during Spring Season
Burnt leaves are the most common problem associated with Azaleas. It happens when shrubs tolerate excessive cold weather and desiccating winds.
Hence, remove dead twigs and branches if you want to keep your plant healthy. With this method, the shrub recovers faster.
Moreover, you can keep the plant indoors and provide the necessary shield to prevent the burning effect.
2. Branches Die Back
The shrub’s branches usually die back when it is infected with the fungus Phytophthora. It causes dreaded root rot and prevents water from reaching the branches.
Although there is no cure for this infection, you can reduce the spread and ensure the soil is well-drained. Also, remove the infected parts of the plant.
3. Yellowing Leaves
The yellowing of the leaves of this shrub indicates that Azaleas are suffering from Chlorosis. This happens when the soil has an iron deficiency, and the pH is alkaline.
In that case, you can add acidifying fertilizer that helps relieve such conditions and grow a healthier plant. Some acidifying amendments are pine needles, peat moss, and agricultural sulfur.
4. Flower Petals Collapse
This condition arises due to the plant’s air-borne fungus during the winter. The best way to protect your plant is to remove old mulch and plant debris that is associated with it in the early spring season.
You can also spray fungicide as soon as the flower petals open or are about to open.
If you find any such signs mentioned above, it is advisable to treat them right away and save your plant from dying.
Grow and Care Azalea
Azaleas are the royal beauty of the garden areas. It shows vibrant beauty and looks enthralling at the same time.
You can choose the varieties mentioned above to grow in your garden spaces.
However, the plant can affect by air-borne fungus, so you have to provide the right treatment to avoid such fungus issues and keep your plant healthy.
In addition, you can add fertilizers timely and water regularly to keep it healthy.
This is everything we have for now on the subject of how to grow and care azalea. We hope our guide will help you to grow azalea the easy way.
Let us know what do you think of this guide in the comments section below.
How much sun does an azalea need?
Azaleas can tolerate sunlight all day. But it would be great to keep them under the sunlight in the morning and under the shades in the afternoon. If you plant Azalea under direct sunlight, then be sure not to have excessive exposure to sunlight for more than 4-6 hours.
Do azaleas grow back every year?
The encore series of this shrub can grow throughout the year in the spring and fall seasons. However, other species and series don’t grow throughout the year unless you prune them properly.
Are used coffee grounds good for azaleas?
Yes, the coffee grounds are excellent for the Azaleas because it’s acid-loving plants. These coffee grounds help lower the soil’s pH and make it acidic so that Azaleas can grow into it easily.
How do I prune Azaleas?
Pruning can be done to retrieve the plant. You can cut dead twigs and branches to maintain their desired shape and keep it healthier.