Spring is favorite but not best azalea-planting time

John Young, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.

Sustainable Landscape News Distributed 03/16/09

By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Allen Owings and John Young

Azaleas are Louisiana’s most popular shrub. Fall is the best time to plant the flowering shrub, followed by winter, spring and summer. The vast majority of azaleas, however, are planted in spring.

Spring is the favorite azalea planting season because garden centers have the best selection at that time, and gardeners can see the plants in bloom.

You can have long-term positive results with azaleas in your landscape by planting properly, selecting the correct variety and providing the most ideal growing conditions.

Before purchasing azaleas, make sure you ask what the mature size of the plants will be. Azaleas may mature at less than 2 feet up to 10 feet. Don’t purchase plants that will grow too large for your available space.

Spring-planted azaleas may take a little longer to become established than those planted in the fall or winter because flowering and shoot growth occur at the same time as planting. This combination slows down root growth and establishment.

Fall and winter are the ideal times to plant. Planting in those seasons encourages root growth before spring bloom and shoot growth. Summer planting really should be avoided, although you can be successful planting by providing extra care (primarily by watering).

Many azalea varieties will tolerate full sun if provided with adequate moisture. Generally, however, azaleas grow best under partial sun to partial shade. Four to six hours of morning sun from an eastern exposure is considered ideal.

Azaleas tend to have sparse foliage, look leggy and bloom poorly when planted in too much shade. If grown in too much sun, azaleas may wilt constantly during hot, dry weather and scorch on their leaf edges. Western sun exposure during the summer months and into the early fall is hard on azaleas.

Azaleas require good drainage but also need an even supply of moisture. They will not thrive in a location that is constantly wet or constantly dry. Consider soil texture and soil structure of the native soil. Amending native soil with pine bark or a similar organic material will help improve the soil.

Many azalea varieties are recommended for Louisiana landscapes. Popular ones include the Southern Indica, Robin Hill, Satsuki and Encore groups.

Come to LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is located near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (La. Highway 30) in Baton Rouge across the street from the new LSU baseball stadium. Go online to Louisiana Yards and Neighborhoods for additional information.


Editor: Mark Claesgens 

3/16/2009 8:15:11 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture