Azaleas are a southern garden staple! With so many types and colors, there truly is an azalea for everyone; and azalea-lovers can fill their landscape with many varieties and never get bored! And remember: we guarantee all our trees and shrubs for life*, so you can plant with confidence!
Choosing an Azalea
Before choosing which azalea is right for your garden, you'll need to consider several things:
- Sunlight. Most
azaleas prefer partial shade, which is 4 to 6 hours of sun in the morning and shade
in the afternoon. Some hybrid types like
the Encore series can tolerate more sun.
- Size. Azaleas' mature size is different for each variety. Check their tag or talk to a Pike certified plant expert in the store and then choose an azalea that will fit in the space you have.
- Bloom color. Azalea bloom colors range from white, pink and lavender to red, orange and even many bi-colored options. Some types will only bloom once a year, while others will bloom throughout.
- Deciduous vs. Evergreen. Some azaleas lose their leaves in winter while others keep their foliage all year round. Choose what works best in your garden, or plant both for some variety.
- Hybrid reblooming azaleas will produce flowers throughout the year - in spring, sporadically in summer, and another flush of blooms in fall.
- 'Encore,' 'Re-BLOOM,' and 'Bloom-a-thon' are three series of evergreen, re-blooming azaleas with multiple varieties in each series.
- 'Encore' azaleas can tolerate full to partial sun, while the other two series prefer partial shade
- We'll use the term "common" here to refer to non-trademarked, non-native azaleas. This is a big category, but at Pike we've done the hard work for you and curated a selection of azaleas that will thrive and perform well in our region. These are generally evergreen types and can tolerate full shade to partial sun.
- Popular "common" azalea varieties include 'Formosa,' 'George Tabor,' 'G.G. Gerbing,' & 'Gumpo.'
- Native azaleas are deciduous and will lose their leaves in winter
- These types only bloom once a year in spring (mid-April to mid-May)
- They thrive in partial shade
- Popular native species include Alabama, Flame, Florida, and Piedmont azaleas
- In our region, early spring and fall are the best times to plant them.
- Dig a hole that is about 3 times the width of the pot your azalea came in & the same depth.
- Azaleas prefer a rich, well-draining soil, so if you have clay or sandy soil, you will need to amend it. Azaleas thrive in slightly acidic soil, so use a specialized mix like Pike Azalea and Camellia Soil.
- Add the azalea mix about 50/50 with your native soil, plus a handful of Dr. Earth Root Zone organic starter fertilizer & mix it up. This will allow for better drainage, add nutrients, and allow tender new roots to grow easily - creating a stronger, healthier plant.
- Planting depth is critical because azaleas are shallow-rooted plants. Place them so the root ball in about 2 inches above the soil line & mound the amended soil around it. This will help keep the roots closer to the surface for water, oxygen & nutrients.
- If you want to grow azaleas in a container, plant them with Pike Potting Soil and Dr. Earth Root Zone organic starter fertilizer.
- When removing the plant from the pot, massage the root system to loosen up roots and encourage them to grow outwards.
- Before planting, wet the root ball to make sure it's moist. A dry root ball is difficult to re-wet once it is in the ground.
- Azaleas need regular watering in their first season while their root system is establishing. Give them a deep watering about once a week for the first year.
- Always water right at the soil level. Never spray the leaves or blooms - this can cause disease, especially in our humid summers.
- We recommend using a soaker hose connected to a faucet timer to make supplemental watering easier and more efficient.
- Then apply a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch or pine straw to help retain soil moisture.
- These plants don't need much fertilizer to thrive, so just feed them once a year after the blooms fade in late spring.
- Use an organic fertilizer for acid-loving plants like Espoma Holly-tone or Azalea-tone.