Planting azalea properly

So that the dream of a paradisically flourishing azalea in the garden comes true, lay the foundation stone with the skillful planting. First check the pH value at the selected location, because it should be between 4.0 and 5.5. Ideally, the location is sunny to partially shaded and offers humus, deep soil. This is how the procedure works successfully:

  • Dig a planting hole 30-50 cm deep and four times the diameter of the root ball
  • Optimize the excavation with leaf compost, bog soil and horn shavings
  • Plant the azalea while maintaining the previous planting depth and water it with soft water

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When planting in a bucket, add a few potsherds as drainage between the substrate and the opening in the ground.

Care tips

Choosing the right location is half of the way to successfully growing azaleas. How to care for the rose tree with expertise:

  • Keep the substrate constantly moist with soft water
  • Fertilize organically or minerally every 4 weeks from April to September
  • Regularly clean withered flowers
  • At the end of the flowering period, cut back if necessary
  • Light winter protection in the year of planting and in rough locations is recommended

If the rose tree should become bald from the inside over the years, treat it to a rejuvenating cut in early spring. Otherwise, cutting measures on this ornamental wood play a rather subordinate role.

Which location is suitable?

In order for a garden azalea to do justice to its middle name rose tree, the light and temperature conditions should be as follows:

  • Sunny to partially shaded location, with protection from the blazing midday sun
  • Airy and cool, without summer heat build-up
  • Nutrient-rich, fresh, moist and acidic soil with a pH value of 4.0 to 5.5

The moister the soil, the sunnier the location can be. The small blossom tree finds optimal living conditions when it is in turn placed under the protection of tall deciduous and coniferous trees.

The correct planting distance

The expected height of an azalea defines the planting distance within a group. The following values ​​have proven themselves in practice:

  • Low-growth species, such as Japanese azaleas: 30-50 cm
  • Foliage hybrids, such as Knapp Hill azaleas: 50-80 cm
  • Vigorous varieties such as Ghent azaleas: 80-100 cm

The planting distance is measured from tree to tree at crown height.

What soil does the plant need?

In their natural range, azaleas thrive in the loose, humus forest soil of Southeast Asia, which is constantly moist due to frequent rainfall. The closer the conditions in the garden come to these criteria, the more vital the opulent blossom tree will thrive. The following features are important:

  • Loose, fresh and moist and rich in nutrients
  • An acidic pH of 4.0 to a maximum of 5.5
  • No risk of waterlogging

In order for an azalea to thrive in a planter, we recommend using a special rhododendron soil with a correspondingly acidic pH value.

What is the best time to plant?

The ideal time window opens twice a year to plant an azalea. The best time is from early September to mid-November. Alternatively, plant the rose tree in the weeks between mid-March and the end of May.

When is the flowering time?

In the garden, the azaleas bloom in normal weather in April. The splendid tree boasts of its white, red or purple flowers until August / September. If you can't get enough of this enchanting abundance of colors, you can cultivate a room azalea on your window sill throughout the winter. Their flowering period extends from October to April.

How to cut azalea correctly

At the end of the flowering period, cut off the withered azalea flowers so that the rose tree does not invest all of its energy in growing seed heads. There is nothing wrong with shortening the ornamental wood to the desired size and thinning it out thoroughly on this occasion. A shaped cut also encourages the plant to branch out richly, for the benefit of a bushy and compact silhouette. As an alternative date for the pruning, an overcast, mild day in March can be considered, since a better view of the entire appearance is offered in the leafless state.

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Watering azalea

Water an azalea regularly with soft, lime-free water. The substrate should never dry out, even in winter. Ideally, on your daily tour of the garden, check the moisture content of the soil to water if necessary. For a gentle spray mist in the early morning or in the evening, the rose tree thanks you with fragrant clouds of flowers over lush green foliage.

Fertilize azalea properly

Start fertilizing in March to get the growth going. Choose organic fertilizers, such as acidic hardwood or coniferous compost with horn shavings. (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) Until October you administer compost or an alternative organic fertilizer every two weeks. Alternatively, you can apply a mineral rhododendron fertilizer with immediate effect in March and then continue the nutrient supply on an organic basis.


Since garden azaleas are deciduous ornamental trees and at the same time are completely hardy, well-established specimens do not require extensive winter protection. Only in the year of planting and in rough locations, we recommend the following precautions:

  • In autumn cover the tree slice with leaves and pine needles
  • Cover the crown of the freshly planted tree with jute ribbons or fleece
  • When there is a clear frost, water the azalea on a mild winter day

Wrap a bucket with several layers of bubble wrap and place it on a wooden block. The substrate should preferably be covered with peat waste or wood wool.

Propagate azalea

For the propagation of azaleas you can choose from the following methods:

  • Pull the sinker to the ground, dig it in the middle and maintain it until a root system has developed
  • In summer cut cuttings with a length of 15 cm, put in small pots, put on a hood and keep moist

The lowering method has the advantage that the mother plant continues to supply the offspring while the roots are growing. The cutting method scores with the possibility of growing the young azalea on the windowsill throughout the winter in order to plant it out in the spring.

How do I transplant properly?

The best time to transplant a rose tree is in autumn. At this time the azalea takes root more quickly in the sun-warm soil. In contrast to other ornamental trees, there is no pruning in connection with a change of location. This requirement applies to all rhododendron species, not just azaleas.

Azalea in the pot

As a small tree or shrub, the azalea decorates the summer balcony with its lavish blooms when it can stretch its roots in acidic rhododendron soil. Drainage above the water drain in the bottom of the pot prevents damaging waterlogging. Since there is always a higher water requirement in the pot, the daily thumb test is the top gardener's duty. If the earth feels dry, soft water is poured. When it comes to the supply of nutrients, care runs smoothly when you administer a liquid azalea fertilizer according to the dosage instructions. If you protect the pretty blossom tree from blazing midday sun and pamper it every day with a lime-free spray, the gem will attract everyone's attention.

Is Azalea Poisonous?

As a member of the heather family, poisonous substances flow through the supply lines of an azalea. Eating flowers and leaves can cause significant symptoms of intoxication, so small children and pets should not get near the rhododendron. So that you do not have to worry about unpleasant skin irritations, we recommend wearing gloves for all planting and maintenance work.

Yellow leaves

If the leaves turn yellow well before autumn begins, the azalea is suffering from leaf chlorosis. This damage results from the use of hard tap water. If you switch the water supply to lime-free water immediately, the tree will recover.

How do I care for a room azalea?

For an azalea to bloom on the windowsill from October to spring, it depends on a sunny to partially shaded location, with cool temperatures not exceeding 18-20 degrees Celsius. In addition, a high humidity of 60-70 percent is the top priority. A place at the west or east window is ideal, as is the south window, provided that there is protection from the blazing midday sun. If these site conditions are met, maintenance is quite uncomplicated:

  • Water regularly with lime-free water so that the soil never dries out
  • Spray every 1-2 days with soft, lukewarm water
  • Liquid fertilization with a special preparation for rhododendrons in a highly diluted concentration
  • Clean up withered flowers every few days to induce new shoots

At the end of the flowering period, cut off all withered flower heads and shorten excessively long shoots to the desired length. The blooming beauty spends the summer in the partially shaded place under the open sky.

How do rhododendrons and azaleas differ?

Within the genus rhododendron, different species and varieties are called azaleas. Although there is still disagreement among experts with regard to the exact systematisation, the following rule has prevailed among gardeners: Azaleas are summer and winter-green species of rhododendrons that primarily come from Japan. In addition, the non-hardy, evergreen rhododendron species from India are defined as indoor azaleas, as they are ideal for cultivation in the flower pot.

Nice varieties

  • Cabaret: A fantastically beautiful, evergreen azalea with pupur pink flowers in July and August; Height of growth 130 cm
  • Arista: Deciduous variety with half-double flowers in pink, accentuated with delicate orange; Height 120-160 cm
  • Petticoat: Impresses with its full, double flowers in pink and a dramatic autumn color; Growth height 60-70 cm
  • Sarina: premium variety with salmon pink flowers and wonderful autumn colors, robust and hardy; Growth height up to 140 cm
  • Goyet: Indian room azalea with dark red, ruffled flowers, profusely blooming; Height 50-70 cm
  • Gold topaz: Historic Knapp-Hill azalea with yellow flowers from May to June and robust winter hardiness; Growth height 120 cm
  • Eisprinzessin: dwarf variety with lush, double flowers in pure white; ideal for the bucket with a height of up to 35 cm