In late March and April, Azaleas begin to bloom, brightening up many a shadier spot in gardening beds! Many think Azaleas love full sun, but in our planting zone, they actually perform their very best in morning sun with good afternoon shade. On the east or north side of the house would be ideal locations. If planted in full sun, they become stressed in our hot afternoon summer sunlight and usually have burned leaves or less flowering due to that location. This can also lead to an insect problem.
There are many different varieties of Azaleas, including evergreen (keep their leaves all year) and deciduous. Encore Azaleas are evergreen and come in a large variety of colors. Depending on variety, they grow to be approximately 3-5' tall and wide at maturity. A big bonus of Encore Azaleas (besides their size and being evergreen) is they bloom twice- once in spring and once in fall. Other Azaleas bloom once in spring. No matter the variety of Azalea, their blooms in spring last for several weeks and are very showy.
They love well-draining, fertile soil, and love to be fertilized in late winter/ early spring with a fertilizer such as Espoma's Hollytone. Always follow the directions on the back of the fertilizer bag so you do not accidentally damage your plant.
They don't need a lot of pruning, but when needed, you may prune them after they bloom in spring. Waiting to prune in fall or winter could risk cutting off blooms that are forming inside stems for the following spring.
When planted in the right location with the appropriate soil, Azaleas are a low maintenance, resilient shrub. Like any plant, they can have an insect be attracted to them from time to time. Spraying dormant oil in early spring on your Azaleas and the ground around them (we recommend it on almost all outdoor plants) will help keep insects away. We are always happy to help recommend an insecticide if needed.
Azaleas are now available in many varieties! Call us at 615-468-2008 for more information or stop by to enjoy their beauty for yourself.