All About Azaleas, Houston’s Premier Springtime Plant

The green foliage and large flowers characteristic of azaleas make them a popular and go-to Houston plant. Known for their extensive varieties and possibilities when it comes to size, shape and color, Azaleas can also be spring bloomers, twice bloomers and late bloomers. Although the plants can be somewhat fussy and require seasonal maintenance, many Houston gardens are home to these plants.

While there are a lot of guidelines to initially planting and establishing your azalea shrubs, it’s just as important to properly maintain them once they’ve bloomed to ensure the next season is equally lush. We’ve included a few general tips to keep your azaleas bright and healthy.

• If needed during blooming season, you can lightly prune and apply an organic fertilizer or equivalent.
• After your azaleas bloom, prune and fertilize them no later than June. Use a controlled-release, acid-forming fertilizer like cottonseed meal, commercial azalea food or equivalent.
• Once the blooms fade in the spring, apply a light layer of mulch to help beds retain moisture.
• Azaleas require moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils, so if you notice pale or yellow leaves, add a soil acidifier to revive them.
• Due to their shallow root system, you’ll need to water azaleas during periods of drought.

Azalea Facts
• The best time to plant azaleas is in early spring, followed by fall or in January or February.
• There are many hybrids of azaleas that range in height. Some can grow as tall as 6 or 8 feet, but more dwarf varieties stop at about 2 or 3 feet.
• Azaleas love the high humidity the Houston area is known for.
• The plant will tolerate sunny locations where they receive anywhere from 8-10 hours of sunlight a day, but heavy shade will reduce flower production and slow its growth.
• Don’t plant azaleas near shallow rooted or invasive root plants, shrubs and trees.
• Azaleas can be used in the landscape in multiple ways, including hedges, borders, containers and foundation plantings.