When to Fertilize Azaleas to Get the Best Blooms

Enjoy the sight of vibrant blooms when you fertilize your Azaleas properly. Learn the best time to fertilize Azaleas in various geographical locations to achieve beautiful blooms.

Sean Stratton | Updated March 8, 2023
flower of an azalea plant

An essential part of caring for azaleas is proper fertilization. The when is just as important as the how.

Read on to get the best azalea blooms.

When to Fertilize Azaleas

Spring is the best time to fertilize azaleas. Wait until new growth begins to emerge. This is when the plant prepares to produce new leaves and will most benefit from the added nutrients from fertilizer.

You can also fertilize azaleas again in the fall when the plant prepares for dormancy. It’s essential to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for azaleas and rhododendrons, and to follow the instructions on the package for the proper application rate.

Caution: Do not fertilize your azaleas immediately after planting or during their first year of growth. During this period, the plants need to establish their roots and develop a strong foundation. Fertilizing too early can actually harm the plants and stunt their growth.

Once your azaleas have been in the ground for a year or more, you can begin fertilizing them in the spring.

  • Wait until new growth emerges, and then apply the fertilizer evenly around the plant’s root zone.
  • Avoid fertilizing too close to the stem, which can burn the plant and cause damage.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Georgia

Georgia is in USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, azalea plants are pretty hardy to plant here. You can enjoy azalea blooms in April and May, and if you have different variants of azaleas, you may enjoy the bloom in fall again.

When it comes to fertilizing azaleas in Georgia, you should apply the fertilizers after your azaleas finish displaying their charming blooms. Don’t apply it when the blooming season is still remaining, and avoid the drought seasons too.

If you apply fertilizer in drought seasons, your plant will not get enough water to absorb, and ultimately the fertilizer won’t benefit your azaleas. That’s why you need to water your plants to make sure the soil remains moistened during the growing seasons.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Virginia

For azaleas in Virginia, you need to fertilize them after the blooming season. You should use a fertilizer for acidic soil-loving plants, for example, camellias, rhododendrons, etc. And you should keep the fertilizer light, do not over-fertilize them.

There is one thing common for fertilizing azaleas, no matter where you plant them – you should do a soil test before applying the fertilizer. This will help you to get precise ideas about the soil conditions, including acidity, and ultimately help you in finding the right type and amount of fertilizer for your plants.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Texas

In Texas, you should maintain acidic soils for your azaleas. If you can ensure acidic soils with a suitable pH like 5.5 and the roots get sufficient air, you can grow azaleas quickly. And if you are thinking about how you are going to maintain all of these at the same time, the perfect solution for you is pine barks.

They got everything your plant needs. That’s why this might even impact the amount of fertilizer you need to use on your plants. However, you can feed your azaleas with good-quality plant food for better results. No matter which brand you choose, make sure the fertilizer is balanced.

You can apply it from April to June and make gaps in July and August, then finally again in September.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Louisiana

In Louisiana, you need to apply fertilizer after the blooming cycle in spring. You need to apply the fertilizer one more time in late summer. You can also delay it to the beginning of the fall, but be careful about the time; you don’t want to be late.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Houston

The basic principle for the time of fertilization is the same here. The perfect time for fertilizing your azaleas in Houston is after their stunning bloom period, just like the other zones.

You need to choose a good-quality acid-forming plant food for your azaleas and apply it before June. Here is a fun fact: as azaleas are not heavy feeders, if you can plant them correctly, they won’t need fertilizer in the first year!

When to Fertilize Azaleas in NC (North Carolina)

If you live in the western parts of North Carolina, you should apply the fertilizer in spring but not before the blooming period. While fertilizing, make sure you use acid-forming plant food, which should also be controlled-released.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Zone 7

In zone 7, you need to apply the fertilizer after the blooming season; the principle is the same here too. The fertilizer application should be done at the right time because early fertilizing can result in leafy benefits, which are not what you expected. And in the cold season, if you somehow insulate the soil, you will also get bad results.

When to Fertilize Azaleas in Zone 8

If you are living in zone 8, the time to apply the fertilizer is from late Fall all the way to early Spring. However, you should not use the fertilizer after June so that your plants don’t get active growth before the frosty winter.

Written by Sean Stratton

Sean Stratton

Hi, I'm Sean, the senior editor here at Fertilizer Pick. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and have grown fruits, vegetables, and trees since childhood. While I no longer live on a farm today, I still enjoy spending time on my garden and sharing my knowledge with friends and fellow garden enthusiasts.