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Azalea Shrub Care with Photos and Videos

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden, growing plants for beauty and food.

Azaleas in bloom

Azaleas in bloom

Show Stopping Azaleas

Azaleas are magnificent flowering shrubs that put on a dazzling show in the springtime in our part of the world which is Houston.

Depending upon the variety of which there are many thousands that have been bred and propagated for literally hundreds of years, azaleas come in various sizes and color variations.

One thing that they have in common is their similarity to rhododendrons although azaleas are smaller and have single blossoms as opposed to clusters.

Azalea Growing Conditions

Azaleas all do prefer acidic soil conditions and most of them like some shade or partial shade during the day.

For many years when we had pine trees growing in our yard we used the pine needles for mulch around our azaleas which helped to keep the soil on the acidic side.

The photo below was taken at a local restaurant in Houston that was situated along some water. The reflections of the blooming azaleas in the water are so pretty. Don't you agree?

Azalea Plants in Bloom

Azalea Plants in Bloom

Fashion Azaleas

This photo shows the fashion azaleas that bloom in our garden generally late in the year, and then again in the Spring. Springtime brings about the heaviest blossoming.

Fashion azaleas are a smaller type of azalea than the larger varieties and can easily be trimmed to around two feet or so but can grow up to four feet if untrimmed. They make a great small hedge and their leaves are smaller than the larger varieties of azaleas and yet their blossoms are just about as large.

You can tell from this photo that when they are in full bloom one can hardly even see the leaves!

Fashion Azaleas

You can see that our Easter lilies are coming up in the foreground with the fashion azaleas in full bloom behind them.

You can see that our Easter lilies are coming up in the foreground with the fashion azaleas in full bloom behind them.

Encore Azaleas

There are different azalea types that are evergreen and others that are deciduous which means they lose their leaves at times of the year.

I have personally only seen the evergreen types being grown here in Houston. Azaleas are grown in many parts of the world.

One of my favorites is the Encore azalea which blooms several times throughout the year. It is one of the newer hybrids. We have several of them in our garden and just replaced a bush of another type that died with an Encore Azalea.

When planting azaleas it is best to plant them on a slight mound or at least have their root ball slightly above ground level. Do not cultivate around them once established because they have surface roots.

And in the woods a fragrance rare

Of wild azaleas fills the air,

And richly tangled overhead

We see their blossoms sweet and red.

— Dora Read Goodale

Pruning Azaleas Information Here

Pruning and Caring for Azaleas

I fertilize them in the spring after they have finished blooming, and this is the time to trim them back or shape them if desired. If done too much later, you risk cutting off what will be next year's blossoms.

Houston, Texas, is ablaze with color every spring, and just like other towns and cities across America, we have our Azalea Trail. Generally, this is in the first couple of weeks of March.

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If ever planning a visit to our fine city, this would be a wonderful time of year to come. The weather is also more moderate than our sizzling summertime temperatures.

I hope you enjoyed this look at some of the azaleas in Houston.

If you grow azaleas in your neck of the woods, what type do you prefer growing?

Hedge of blooming azaleas

Hedge of blooming azaleas


Pretty Piano Music accompanies this Azalea Gardens Video


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

We have many of the Encore azaleas planted at our home. I love the fact that they bloom several times during the year instead of just in the spring when most of the other types put on their show. Some of them are in bloom right now as a matter of fact. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 21, 2018:

The Azalea blooms are so vibrant and such a soothing sight.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 23, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

We have many azaleas growing here in the Houston area and we have many in our own yard. We keep them well composted.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 22, 2018:

Lovely plants but I never have much success wth them. Interesting re pine needles. I had not realised they like ericaceous compost

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

With any luck I will find an encore azalea that matches many of the others that are already planted. If this excessive heat continues we may just mulch the area and wait for cooler temps. We have been under a heat advisory the last few days and cooling centers have opened up around Houston to help those people without air conditioning in their homes. Sending good thoughts and blessings your way today.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 22, 2018:

Yeah..those doggone weeds can be a bit of a pain. Hoping to plant some in the yard of my new present I have none I can take along. Be sure and photo your new plant so we can enjoy it too. Angels once again bringing blessings your way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

As long as the soil is right and the lighting conditions good, azaleas seem to thrive. Sometimes I get behind on their feeding schedule but they seem to do well anyway. We want to purchase one more to replace a shrub that we had dug out and already have the mulch. The plants are discounted now but it has been so scorching hot that we keep putting it off.

Thanks for the greetings and angel wishes. Sending prayers your way today.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 21, 2018:

You nailed it with 'show-stopping'...they are gorgeous every year. And really do not demand a lot of attention...I consider them to be very forgiving if I do not give them as much attention as I should. Lovely photos....Angels once again are bringing you blessings and hugs and love...and if you do not realize it, YOU are one of our Angels, Peggy ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2018:

Hi Dolores,

Sometimes starting over can be best when it comes to old and diseased shrubs. We have done some of that with some of our older shrubs that were planted here countless years ago. Good luck with your new azalea plants. I think that your proposed color combination sounds pretty with the color of your home.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 19, 2018:

Hi Peggy - it's me again. After cutting the old girls back, they leafed out quite well but in the end looked pretty louzy. I had fought bugs and snow damage in the past and I think years of stress were too much for them So I dug them up and am in the process of revitalizing the bed. Then I will test the soil's pH. My house is green and I am thinking about all white azaleas. I think they'll look so nice against the green. Delaware Valley is a beautiful azalea so think I'll look for that.

I am just hoping that the lace bug eggs are gone. We pulled off the top several inches of soil to get rid of them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 29, 2017:

Hi Dolores,

Coffee grounds would certainly not hurt the azaleas. They do like to live in acidic soil conditions. What you did by cutting them way back and treating them with the need oil should reward you as they regrow. They probably do need a little more help regarding acidity living as they do between your house and the sidewalk which is probably making your soil more alkaline.

Sphagnum peat placed around your azaleas as a mulch might also help raise the acidity over time.

I had some old azaleas that were looking less than attractive. I thought about just pulling them out and replacing them. Instead I severely cut them back and fertilized as normal with azalea food. They came back thick and lush and are once again attractive shrubs.

Hope you have the same response.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 29, 2017:

Hi Peggy - I love azaleas and was upset to see (after a magnificent flowering) that the leaves looked horrible and the old plants leggy and pathetic. So I whacked the shrubs way back and sprayed them with need oil because it looked like they had azalea lace wing. These are old girls set between the house and a sidewalk so I imagine the acid needs to be brought up. Do you think that coffee grounds might help increase the acidity?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 28, 2016:

Hi Robert,

Glad you found this information regarding azaleas helpful.

Robert Sacchi on July 17, 2016:

Nice pictures and Azaleas Garden video. Interesting and useful information about azaleas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2016:

Hi Genna,

I am glad that they do so well here also. I particularly like the Encore Azaleas that bloom several times during the year.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 02, 2016:

Peg, I just love azaleas and am lucky that we live in an area that has the right kind of soil for these seasonal beauties. These photos are stunning! :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2016:

Hi Rachel,

We have several different kinds of azaleas also. Wishing you a very Happy Easter also.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2016:

Hi Frank,

I also love that photo with the azaleas reflected in the water. That is such a beautiful spot in Houston!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on March 23, 2016:

Hi Peggy, Azaleas are one of my favorite flowers. I have several of them. Your pictures are beautiful, especially the one near the water. Thanks for sharing.

Have a blessed Easter.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 23, 2016:

wow these are so beautiful especially the growth around the water.. amazing and so colorful.. just like your hub

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2016:

Hi MsDora,

I am glad you liked my photos. I had fun taking them in various locations around the Houston area including our very own backyard. Do you grow azaleas in the Caribbean?

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 21, 2016:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful springtime article. Good information and gorgeous pictures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2016:

Hi Alicia,

Spring is certainly beautiful and so is fall in a different way. Actually every season of year has something special by way of beauty. In the south the seasons are not as radically different as in colder climates.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2016:

Hi purl3agony,

Eventually if you do not fertilize them they will not bloom as much and they might get a bit leggy looking if not trimmed once in a while. They do not do well if the soil is not acid. You must have the perfect soil for them!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 19, 2016:

Spring is my favourite time of year because of all the flowers that appear. I love the colours and scenes in your photos. Azaleas are so pretty. Thanks for sharing the useful information as well as the photos and videos.

Donna Herron from USA on March 19, 2016:

We have a bunch of azaleas in our yard. I love all the different colors of blooms that we get, but I don't do much to care for them. Thanks for sharing this information about pruning and fertilizing. I'll try to take better care of them now (though I'm grateful that they are so low maintenance).

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