I grew up hearing of the azaleas out in the yard. What kind of kid pays attention to azaleas? None I knew, including me. I probably passed by the highly prized azaleas in the yard of my grandmother’s house a million times without ever being able to identify them. Don’t make the same mistake I made. If you are gardening with intent and plan to introduce azaleas into the scheme of things, get to know the intricacies of raising azaleas before you dive into the great big world of adding these rhododendron varieties to your landscape theme.
The location in which you plan to grow azaleas needs to meet certain conditions in order to achieve peak results. The nice thing is that if you cannot meet these conditions to a perfect degree, then you are not doomed to failure. Azaleas are pretty robust plants that can handle certain inhibitions in the conditions in which they grow. That said, if you want to all but ensure the most beautiful azaleas in the neighborhood, then plant in acidic soil that provides more than adequate drainage. Plant in raised beds in which you have added a healthy amount of organic matter to facilitate the nutrient content of the soil.
Water a Lot…Then Not So Much
Azaleas can almost be said to have a split personality when it comes to watering demands. During the first couple of years after planting when your azaleas are struggling to become fully established, you will need to stick to a strict plan for keeping them appropriately watered. If you are not prepared to remain committed to keeping your growing azaleas adequately moist, then you may lose the battle before establishment is accomplished. The payoff for such dedication is beyond your wildest dreams. Upon attaining maturity, azaleas become remarkably resistant to drought and can withstand dry spells that would have killed them off during those first two years.
One of the reasons that azaleas have remained among the most popular plants in American yards is that they are particularly easy to transplant. If you reach a point at which you want to try something new with your landscaping plans, you can incorporate existing azaleas into the transformation in a way that may be out of reach for many other plants. The roots of azaleas are not only shallow, but fibrous. This combination makes the roots of azaleas far easier to dig up without causing any undo damage than many other plants. So if you are the type of gardener who likes to shake things up every once in a while by moving plants around, you definitely should consider making azaleas a prominent part of your landscape.