Soon beautiful blooms will come forth from one of the great landscape shrubs that characterize the South. Blooms of many colors will be produced from the azalea. It will be a magnificent show as it is every spring. Annual pruning of azaleas must be very carefully timed to maximize bloom potential. Too early and this years blooms may be cut off, but too late and next years buds may be removed, which will become next years blooms. Therefore, pruning must be timed for the sweet spot on the calendar!
Azalea blooms are located on last years growth or one year old wood. This makes it very important to wait to prune until after the blooms have occurred in order to capture the colorful spring bloom that azalea gardeners prize. Though many get “Spring Fever” this time of year and cut everything in sight, restraint is in order to prevent bloom loss and not only get green foliage from this years’ azaleas.
Also it is very important to remember that since blooms are formed on one year old wood, azaleas must not pruned too late in the growing season. If pruned too late the plant will not have time to set flower buds on the new growth before fall begins. A good rule of thumb is to never prune an azalea after July 4th.
So when should our wonderful azaleas be pruned?
Never before flowering in the late winter and early spring
- After flowering as ended in the spring
- Before July 4th
Please see more information on the care of azaleas in the UF/IFAS publication, Azaleas at a Glance.