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Azaleas & Rhododendrons
Planting & Care

Planting    Watering    Mulch

Shade    Wind


Because the delicate roots of azaleas and rhododendrons are easily destroyed, excellent drainage is important. These plants tend to root in the upper layer of soil so they do not tolerate being planted too deeply. To test drainage, dig a hole 6 inches deep in the bed and fill it with water. If the water has not drained from the hole in four hours, you may consider utilizing a raised bed. 

1 Prepare the garden by removing existing vegetation

2 Dig the hole twice as wide as the container. 

3 Mix existing soil with 1/3 peat moss. Compost and sand can be utilized as well. 

4 Place the plant in the hole so the top of the root ball is 2" above ground level.

5 Backfill with the amended soil to the top of the root ball to create a slight mound.

Image by Alli Remler
Image by bordercollie 1712


After planting, water well. To ensure strong root growth, apply root stimulators at a ratio of:

3.5 Tablespoons per gallon of water= 3 applications.

Frequently check the root ball and water when the topsoil approaches dryness. Once established, usually after the 1st year, the plants generally require an average of 1" of water per week. 


Use 2-4" of organic mulch; do NOT use rock for mulch. Natural type mulch cools the soil, conserves water and helps control weeds. 


Many people think of azaleas and rhododendrons as shade lovers. Yet dense shade is not satisfactory. Filtered sunlight is ideal, but morning sunlight with shade after 1 p.m. is satisfactory. Plants may survive in continuous shade if trees have branches pruned high. Protection from afternoon sun may also be given by fences, shrubbery or screens. 
Some deciduous azaleas are less sensitive to full sun and should be used if the location is not suitable for evergreen types. However, in full sun the delicate flower shades will bleach quickly even though the plants may grow well. 


Always plant azaleas and rhododendrons where they will get protection from the wind. Buildings and slopes provide good barriers. Evergreen shrubs or trees such as pine, juniper or spruce planted to the south or west of rhododendrons protect them and make good backgrounds for showing off the flowers. 

Plants not given protection from the wind often develop leaf scorch or splitting of the bark on the stems. Avoid corners of buildings where wind tends to be stronger. 


Avoid planting on south or southwest sides of buildings.  

For more information, 

you can call the store at 417-882-5200, email us at, or send us a message on Google or Facebook!

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