• Botanical name – Rhododendron spp.
  • Height – 3 to 15 feet (1-5 m)
  • Spread – 3 to 12 feet (1-4 m)
  • Sun exposure – partial or filtered shade
  • Soil type – acidic, well-drained, rich in organic matter

Nothing is more beautiful than an azalea shrub in spring bloom. These easy-care shrubs come in so many colors it’s hard to find one that doesn’t suit your needs. Azaleas can be grown in nearly any garden, instantly adding interest and color to drab areas. 

How to Grow and Care for Azaleas

To keep azaleas looking healthy, it is essential that you choose an appropriate spot in the landscape. Azaleas actually look the most attractive when they are planted alone. But mass plantings work well in larger areas, such as wooded sites.

Since the flower coverage on azaleas encompasses the entire shrub, placing them against a background of conifers, such as pines, or other acid-loving plants will help set off their colors and make them pop without being overwhelming. 

Do Azaleas like Full Sun or Shade? 

Full sun, especially in southernmost climates, can actually burn the leaves of an azalea. On the other hand, heavy shade can deprive them of necessary oxygen, resulting in poor blooming and weaker growth. Azalea shrubs perform best in partial shade or sunlight filtered by trees. They will also do well in a spot that receives morning sun followed by afternoon shade. 

When to Plant Azaleas 

No matter where you are, autumn is the best time to plant azaleas, because the plants can settle in during cooler temperatures. In warm locations you can plant azaleas any time of year, but spring and summer planting can be stressful. If you will be planting during a warmer time of year, provide plenty of water, keep moisture in the soil.


Best Soil for Azaleas 

Azaleas have shallow roots and require well-drained soil. They thrive in low pH, or more acidic, conditions. If you have high pH, or more alkaline soil, you’ll need to amend your growing area. Aluminum sulfate, sulfur, coffee grounds, and pine needles are good for this. Peat moss used to be recommended, but due to environmental concerns it is no longer a good option.