6 Tips on How to Prune Azaleas

Your new garden adventure takes you to how to prune azaleas. Let’s begin. Azaleas are flowering shrubs that belong to the rhododendron family. They produce long-lasting blossoms that cover the bush in a burst of color in the spring, ranging from white to deep crimson.

They don’t require much attention once they’ve established themselves. Pruning azaleas properly will result in layers of gorgeous bell-shaped flowers.

how to prune azaleas - pruning pink azaleas with scissors

Learn everything you need to know about pruning azaleas below!

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What are the types of azaleas?

There are two kinds of azaleas, so before you get the pruners out, make sure you know which one you have in your garden.

  • Evergreen azaleas – Sometimes known as Japanese azaleas, are smaller, ranging 18-30 inches (40-80cm) in height and including dwarf azaleas which are mostly native to Asia. These only require trimming to remove dead wood or to lower their growth if they are starting to grow over a pathway.
  • Deciduous azaleas – These are taller and lose their leaves in the fall, some of which change color from golden to blazing crimson and brown before falling to the ground, and are native to North America. These only require minimal pruning to remove diseased or broken stems.
Azalea flowers. Pink azalea in the garden

What is the best time to prune azaleas?

The ideal time to prune is when your plants are nearing the end of their bloom cycle. When spent blooms start to brown and shrivel, it’s the ideal moment to cut them down.

However, because you don’t want to chop off fall-produced flower buds that will be next spring’s flowers, you shouldn’t prune them towards the end of the summer or in the fall.

Azalea pruning should be finished and pruned heavily in late winter and early spring by mid-summer.

How do you prune azalea bushes?

Azaleas look best in most environments when they are pruned as little as possible, enabling them to maintain their natural, graceful form. To prune azaleas, follow these steps:

  • Cut individual branches with sharp pruning spears or hand pruners.
  • Remove any branches that have outgrown the shape of the plant you want to make.
  • Cut the branches off and place them in a natural location so they can sprout in a lovely shape.
  • Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing shoots, including damaged branches above a leaf and dead branches at their source.

How hard can you cut back azaleas?

The size and age of an azalea will determine how hard it is to prune back. If the azalea is scraggly or has become out of control, drastic treatment and severe trimming may be required.

An azalea that has been aggressively pruned will not flower the next year, but it will be well worth it if an old shrub that has outlived its usefulness will turn into a young, healthy, and well-shaped azalea in the following years.

Pruning azaleas in the backyard

How often should you prune azalea?

Over the course of a few seasons, regular gentle trimming of azaleas after blooming can substantially modify the habit of a deformed azalea plant. Controlling azaleas that are consuming too much space close to a drive or a path may also be necessary.

How do you rejuvenate an old azalea?

Cut the plant back to around 8-10 inches above ground level. You have the option of cutting the entire plant back or leaving one or two smaller stems as a source of energy, as the stems will clip these back as growth resumes.

During the first season, make sure to provide the revitalized plant with enough water. Mid-season, new buds may have to be trimmed.

How to Prune Azaleas Video Tutorial

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