How to grow How to: care for azaleas

How to: care for azaleas

Photo - Vera Zinkova/

Azaleas bring in spring with a blaze of glory. 


We love them in hot pinks and bold magentas, in pale pastels and in pure clean white. 


But in warm subtropical areas these are not set-and-forget plants. To get the most from them gardeners need to pay attention and provide some nurture. Here’s how.


Start with the plant in a position it will love. Azaleas can be grown in the ground or in pots. Either way, offer protection from hot midday summer sun and choose a spot or pot with good drainage: azaleas hate wet feet. If grown in-ground, enrich the soil with plenty of compost; if in pots, always use a good quality azalea/camellia potting mix. Azaleas are surface-rooted so don’t plant too deep but do top the roots with a good layer of mulch.



Azaleas are light feeders, so take care not to apply too large a dose at any one time. That said, the plants respond brilliantly to a good feeding schedule. Apply a complete azalea/camellia fertiliser, such as Kahoona, in early spring. From September to March use a high-nitrogen liquid feed, such as Aquasol, once a month to promote growth.



Top up mulch over shallow roots to keep moisture in the soil.


Watch for

Petal blight is a fungus that causes flowers to become brown and soggy. Treat with Zaleton as soon as buds appear and throughout the flowering period.  


Photo - Hannamariah/


Text: Shane Neill

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Joy Reynolds commented on 13 Sep 15

5ft high azalea bush ,growing in between 2 others both of these are healthy,
the one in middle has died back branches on one side, ihave cut them off. applied Seasol
What else can I do please ?????

Anonymous commented on 06 Jun 15

In your article How to: care for azaleas, you have a photo of plants other than azaleas, could you please tell what the red/orange flowered shrub is?

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Author: Shane Neill

Garden Clinic TV