Spring Gardening: Extend the Blooming Season of Azaleas

Flowers represent so many different things to people. If you live in the Northeast, they are a long-awaited sign of spring popping through the recently cleared ground.

If you’re a wedding planner, they’re a staple of your business, bringing color and joy to a newly married couple.

If you suffer the death of a loved one, they bring comfort and soothing to those left behind.

And on any given day, flowers simply brighten the world with their rainbow of colors, shapes, and heights.

However, they’re fickle creatures, each having their very particular preferences regarding amount of sun, shade, and water. It takes a skilled gardener to coax a plant to bloom a bit early and stay face-to-the-sun slightly longer than usual.

Azaleas fit this category perfectly. These flowering shrubs bloom in the spring, yet only grace us with their beauty for a few weeks. At the azalea gardens in Georgia, the horticulturists use a number of strategies to encourage these bushes to burn bright a bit longer.

Where to Plant Azaleas

If your gardens are mostly shaded, don’t choose azaleas. When planted in total shade, they simply won’t bloom. Full sun isn’t a good choice either. Choose a spot that received sun on-and-off throughout the day. Small, frequent doses of both sun and shade are tolerated by this Rhododendron relative. When you visit the gardens near Atlanta, you’ll notice their azaleas growing near, or under trees.

What Type of Soil Do Azaleas Like?

Your soil mixture is as important as environmental factors and you are in complete control. Be sure your soil is moist, yet well drained, scoring about a 5.5 when testing pH value. You’ll want to add lots of organic matter including peat moss, ready compost, and chopped bark or leaves.

Spring Azaleas in Soft Sunlight

How Much Should I Water It?

Nature should take care of this for you, but if you’re having a particularly dry year or experiencing a drought, water it every other day until the moisture content returns. This is especially true if you have recently planted the bushes and they are still taking root.

How Much Space Will I Need?

Take a good look and you’ll notice these blooming bushes have a wide berth from each other. When initially planting, it can look like you’re over spacing them, but don’t doubt yourself. Although they have shallow roots, once they begin to thrive, they will grow and expand. Place your new seedlings up to six feet apart.

How Can I Extend the Blooming Season?

Attention to all the right details when planting your azaleas is the first step to extended season blooming. Consistent care will also help. But the best thing you can do is shop smart. Did you know that within the azalea family there are many different varieties? And better yet, they all bloom at a different time of the spring, summer, or fall. Do your homework and buy a bunch of each, and then the fun begins.

Decide if you want them all grouped together, or staggered in an A-B-C pattern. Whatever you choose for a landscape design the blooms will go on and on.

Take a trip this spring! There are so many places near Atlanta to visit with azaleas blooming all season long but Callaway Resort & Gardens has one of the world’s largest displays of native and cultivated azaleas. Book your trip today!

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