Azaleas are also known as the royalty of the garden, thanks to their bright beauty and adorable look.
Many gardeners in different regions, including Georgia, are already familiar with these perennial shrubs.
If you want these flowers to bloom in your yard at the correct time, you should know when to plant azaleas in Georgia.
My article will tell you how to grow and the best time of year to plant azaleas. Scroll down for more!
General Information Of Azaleas
Azaleas belong to the genus Rhododendron of the heath family, which is highly varied, with more than 800 species. Actually, Rhododendron and evergreen Azaleas have different appearances.
The former features large leaves and beautiful blooms resembling bells, while the latter produces funnel-like flowers and small leaves. Azaleas’s Hardiness Zones are from 4 to 9.
Its width and height depend on the species, yet most can reach several feet.
When do azaleas bloom in Georgia? Well, it depends on the types of azaleas. Early spring is the most common time, and the showy blooms continue to appear through the end of the season.
Some can have more bloom times. For example, the encore azalea can also produce flowers twice yearly, in spring and mid – summer.
When To Plant Azaleas In Georgia?
Early fall is considered the best time to plant azaleas in Georgia, as the weather is cool with mild temperatures.
Plus, the top of the plant starts to grow slower, reducing stress on the growth. Despite the dormancy of the top in winter, the roots still keep thriving throughout winter.
Besides, the proper planting time may vary, depending on where you want it to thrive, in a border or a pot.
Planting In A Border
The best time to plant azaleas in a border is during the fall. As mentioned above, azaleas go dormant in this period, benefiting its growth.
In addition, the soil is still warm in the fall. When spring comes, the plant is well-established and ready to produce flowers and support new growth.
Besides, late spring is also considered a good time. Its roots will have time to thrive in the soil (of at least 8 inches deep) during summer before the cold weather comes.
You can also start growing azaleas in Georgia in summer, but remember to water them more as the hot weather may cause the plant to be stressed.
Avoid planting seeds outdoors in the winter as the cold weather can cause damage, and the plant is unable to grow.
Plus, you should not start the process when the soil is full of water or frozen, as deciduous azaleas’ roots can be damaged or die due to severe damage.
Planting In A Pot
Establishing a nursery-grown Azalea in a new pot should be done at the end of spring and the beginning of fall.
As I’ve researched, the width of the planting pot should be wider than the root ball. The ideal one for container-grown azaleas is around 6 inches (or 15cm).
I highly recommend you choose the large pot that is enough for the plants to grow for 2-3 years before transplanting them to the larger pot.
Besides, ensure that you choose the one with drainage holes at the bottom.
Tips On Planting
Before starting, you should know which type of evergreen or deciduous azaleas suits your garden. Ensure you understand your cold hardiness zone to have a good caring plan.
Next, knowing their bloom period is also important. They produce beautiful flowers at different times of year and can last for around 8 months.
For example, the R. canescens type blooms in March and April, while the R. prunifolium shows its color from July to October.
Choosing a healthy plant also plays a huge role in planting. You should go for those that are well-branched, sturdy, and have no disease. Don’t buy the plans with a poor root system.
Here’s my tip for you to check if its roots are healthy. Gently put your hand on the root balls’ top, carefully invert it, and slowly remove the pot.
Once you see the roots with light brown color, not dark brown, it means they are still viable.
To find the place where azaleas grow best, you should consider the plant’s mature size, flower color, and suitable location to grow it.
Make sure when the plant grows up, its size will not bother the neighboring trees.
The color should blend well with the surrounding landscape to assist your garden’s beauty. Think well before planting that you want to put it at the entrance or in the water background.
The most important thing that the site should have is filtered shade to prevent the plant from direct sunlight and extreme heat. It will also provide the necessary light for the flower bud to form.
The ideal location is a place that is exposed to morning sun and afternoon shade.
Unshaded areas or west-facing walls are not recommended, as the heat radiated from the surfaces can affect the moisture supply during the hot summer.
Soil Type And pH
The next thing you should care about when planting azaleas in Georgia is to provide proper soil type and pH level. The plant should be cultivated in well-drained soils rich in humus.
If the ground in your area has sandy or heavy clay properties, you need to add quite a lot of organic material, such as compost, to have the same soil conditions.
However, remember that the plant can also easily be damaged by the excessive soil moisture. High acidic soil is an ideal condition to assist azalea plants to thrive.
I suggest you maintain a pH level of 4.5 to 6 to improve healthy growth conditions and obtain optimal health for the plant.
As discussed above, fall and spring are the best time to plant Georgia azaleas. Yet the specific suitable time for you depends on the region.
For example, growing in the summer is preferable if you live in cold areas with hardiness zones of 4 or 5. In warmer regions, such as zone 9, you can even proceed in the winter.
Group of planting instructions are crucial for the best Azaleas for Georgia. Follow the steps below to make it right:
- First, you need to dig a hole with a depth of 8 to 10 inches. About its width, I suggest you make it wider than the root ball (around three times).
- Add a proper amount of organic matter to the removed soil and mix them.
- After mixing, place the soil back into the hole. Ensure the root ball’s top is around 2 inches above the soil surface.
Note that different soil quality will require slightly different planting instructions.
For example, when you work with sandy soil, the top of the root ball should be at the same level as the surrounding ground.
When your soil has high clay content, dig a hole 4-5 times wider than the root ball. You should also place the plant with its top root ball 3 to 4 inches above the soil level.
Gray-green, curling inward or scorching along the edges, are signs of wilt leaves. To avoid these symptoms of moisture stress, provide your azaleas in Georgia with the proper amount of water.
Once the soil is dry, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to supply water slowly. The soil wet depth should be around 8 to 12 inches.
Ensure not to water the area too much; otherwise, it will be flooded, giving rise to root rots.
Don’t apply chemical fertilizers because the plant has shallow roots, and excess fertilizer may take a toll on the plant. However, you can use supplemental fertilizers occasionally.
When you see the pale green leaves or the appearance of interveinal chlorosis, it means you need to fertilize. You can make a soil test to determine which types of fertilizer are the most suitable.
Apply it from the trunk to the tree canopy’s edge, accounting for an area of four to six inches. And not that the process should only be done after flowering.
The ideal mulch layer should be from 3 to 5 inches as it will help convert water into soil and assist the roots against winter cold and summer heat. You can try some organic mulch, such as coconut mulch.
The ideal time for pruning is after the mature azaleas bloom.
However, if you see tall and lanky growth or injured leaves, you should remove them to protect the plants and maintain their beauty and healthy thrive.
The Bottom Lines
Knowing when to plant azaleas in Georgia is important so they can grow healthily and bloom properly. Early fall is the best time to do it; otherwise, you can proceed in the late spring.
Remember to follow my tips of growing and proper care above to have healthy, vigorous plants and colorful flowering shrubs to beautify your landscape.