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What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom – 4 Secrets To Keep Azaleas Blooming Every Year!

Wondering what to do with your azaleas after they bloom to keep them strong, healthy – and ready to bloom again next year?

Azaleas, with their stunning blooms, are a welcome sight after the long, dark days of winter. They add beautiful life to gardens and landscapes as their bright flowers appear, signaling to all that spring is finally here.

However, as their blooms begin to fade away in late spring, there is often a lot confusion on the proper way to care for them for the remainder of the summer months. Do they need fertilizer? Is it safe to prune them during the summer or should pruning take place in the fall?

azalea after they bloom
Help your azaleas bloom beautifully year after year by taking care of them after they bloom.

One thing is for sure, proper post-bloom care is crucial to maintain the vitality and health of azaleas. And even more, to make sure these gorgeous bushes will bloom even brighter next spring!

Azalea Varieties – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

There are actually quite a wide variety of azalea bushes and each variety has its own unique characteristics. These include bush size, flower color, bloom time, foliage, and growth. However, these varieties can be broadly categorized into two main groups: deciduous azaleas and evergreen azaleas.

Deciduous azaleas tend to be tall and can produce blooms for about a 3 to 4 week period. Many begin flowering long before summer begins and carry their beauty into the fall with brightly colored foliage that sheds before going dormant for the winter. They are prized for their larger flowers, often with intense fragrance, and a broad color range.

Evergreen azaleas retain their foliage throughout the year and are typically more common in gardens and landscapes. They prefer to be planted in partial shade and bloom prolifically in early spring.

deadheading blooms
Once azalea blooms begin to fade it’s time to take action to help the bush recover from blooming.

Evergreen azaleas come in a wide range of flower colors, including shades of white, pink, red, purple, and orange. They are often smaller in stature and more compact in growth, making them ideal for hedges and borders. Some new evergreen varieties can actually bloom again in the fall.

What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

The good news is that with once azaleas stop flowering, there are really only 4 simple tasks to do keep your bushes in great healthy – and even more, help the bush have bigger and better blooms year after year.

No matter what variety you grow, as soon as their blooms start to fade, it’s time to take action. And that all starts with deadheading the old blooms to save energy!

Deadheading – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

The first task to help azaleas as they finish blooming is to take off the spent flowers, a process known as deadheading. This will not only make the fading appearance of the bush look more attractive but also help direct the plant’s energy towards new growth rather than seed production.

But when doing so, you must be very careful. This is because the buds for next year’s flowers are already developing just below the current flowers. To do this without worry, simply take off only the bloom stem.

Pruning – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

As with many plants, pruning can improve the air flow between branches and encourage new growth. It will also help the bush remain healthy by preventing diseases like powdery mildew from forming.

However, azalea plants actually need minimal pruning. Start by focusing on removing dead or diseased branches. Then remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing stems. You want to avoid over pruning as azaleas are meant to have a natural cloud-like shape.

When it comes to pruning azaleas one of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is when they prune them. There is basically a 3 week period of time when this can be done. This is the only time period that you should prune your azalea bushes.

This is because azaleas form their spring blooms on the previous year’s new growth. That means they form the buds that will create next year’s blooms on the branches that grow from late spring until fall. Therefore shortly after azaleas bloom the new buds are already beginning to form.

If you prune your shrubs in mid summer, fall or winter you hinder the bush from blooming. This is because you are cutting the old wood where the new blooms are forming.

Therefore the only time to prune azaleas are right after they finish blooming. This will ensure that the old wood has time to develop healthy and strong new buds before winter. Always be sure to use clean and sharp cutting tools so that you don’t damage the stems or transfer disease.

pruning azalea
Pruning Tools Needed – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

Small hand pruners are the best to use for cutting the small outer branches. However, in order to reach the center of the shrub to remove those branches that are crossing over each other it is best to use long-handled loppers.

If you use these pruning tools for other plants, shrubs or vegetables, be sure to wipe them clean between use. This will help prevent the spread of disease between plants.

A simple disinfectant wipe will do the trick. Be sure to wipe both the blades and handles clean. Then dry them well before using.

Fertilization – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

In addition to deadheading and pruning, azaleas can benefit from fertilizing after they bloom. These shrubs prefer acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5 to 6.0. Periodically test the soil and amend it with organic matter or sulfur to maintain the desired pH level. Acidic soil conditions are vital for the plant to absorb essential nutrients effectively and in turn, bloom beautifully.

organic fertilizer

After the azaleas bloom, apply a slow-release fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth will minimal blooms. (Affiliate Link: Organic Azalea-Tone 4-3-4 Natural Fertilizer)

Watering – What To Do With Azaleas After They Bloom

The final step in taking care of your azaleas after they bloom is to provide them with adequate moisture. At this time they will be spending their energy forming new buds and need to have adequate nutrition and water to do so.

Although established shrubs are relatively low maintenance, ensure that they have a consistent amount of water throughout the growing season. The soil should be slightly damp, but not waterlogged.

This is where mulching around the base of the bush is extremely beneficial. Not only will it help keep the moisture where it is needed, it also helps prevent weed growth. (See our related article: How To Mulch Flowerbeds To Stop Weeds – 3 Mulching Secrets That Will End Weeds For Good!)

What you do with azaleas after they bloom significantly impacts their health, appearance, and future performance. By following these 4 tips for post-bloom care, you can ensure that your azaleas continue to thrive and produce vibrant blooms year after year.

Simple Garden Life

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