Pruning Azaleas


We've recently moved to a home that has several mature azaleas. Unfortunately, the previous homeowners could not do much to maintain the landscaping. The azaleas are about 15 feet tall and are filled with mostly dead branches in the center. How far back should I cut them back and are there any tricks to make sure they will redevelop full, instead of leggy. Thank you for your help!


It's important to prune azaleas soon after the blooms have faded. You can also prune re-blooming azaleas, right after the first bloom cycle in spring. Because the branches on azaleas are so thin, all you need is a pair of sharp pruners.

When you cut them, don't sheer them straight across the top to give them a flat-top. Azaleas and other shrubs look better when their natural form is maintained. So, just selectively remove the stems. Go for older canes, and always remove any dead wood you might find.

When you prune, make a smooth cut next to the stem, so you don't leave any little stumps. Also, on new stems, make the cut just above a leaf bud. Don't be timid. Azaleas are very forgiving.

With the pruning done, feed them with a granular fertilizer that's blended for azaleas and other acid loving plants. And then in about a month feed them again, so they'll set lots of buds for next year's bloom. These pruning techniques not only apply to azaleas, but to other early spring flowering shrubs that bloom before the middle of June, like forsythia, quince and spirea.
Share this articlePrint this article
Related articlesSave this article in your favorites



by catzma1 on June 20, 2014 06:13
How do you pick herbs to downsize bush and harvest from a herb bush?

Fungus gnats

by Norma5Star on May 8, 2014 12:43
Wonderful! I am happy to finally have an answer to those tiny, annoying pests! Thank you P. Allen for saving Mom\'s house plants.

poultry problems

by dotti on September 15, 2013 02:27
I want to raise chickens and ducks but I don\'t have a coop. I live on 40 acre farm in ND. I am deciding between 6+ breeds of ducks and chickens but cant decide they\'re all pretty good egg layers and docile. I want pure breeds and have to have to have them all. What should I do? Where should I order them? Please help.

Virginia Creeper

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:41
Just another thought... the VC and the BK in my previous post are also nearly identical.

Targeting Just the Weed

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:39
If you want to use the synthetic weed killer close to good plants, try making a bottomless box out of an old cardboard one. Mark the outside of the box as such before you start spraying. Then place the box over the offending plant and spray... just it. Trick is to match the size of the box to the size of the weed you want to kill. But boxes are easy to come by, so you can make more than one. Had to do this to target some Bush Killer that came too close in my yard, and it did protect. Getting rid of the BK, however... well... :(

Dogwood tree

by gardenman18 on July 20, 2013 04:06
I want to learn how to plant a dogwood tree right way.

Clay Ground

by on February 3, 2013 09:18
Will Roses do good in very bad clay ground?

Theme music

by betsi.vesser on October 13, 2012 09:15
I love this piece of music! It is so calming and just right for all those who love gardens. It actually describes my 94 year old mom who still likes to get out and work around in her garden! Thank you for giving us this lovely piece (peace) of music on each show.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.