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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.

By
Sean Stratton | Updated January 21, 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.

Applying the fertilizer before you see the bloom might not work as expected because the time would be late winter or early spring. During that time, the soil will be comparatively colder, and the roots of your azaleas won’t take much water and nutrients from the soil. This will ultimately lead to less fertilizer absorption.

And if you specifically choose early spring to apply the fertilizer, it will benefit the new growth of your azaleas, but not the blooming. That’s why these two times will not be perfect for fertilizer application.

The best thing that azaleas can get from their owner is a slow-releasing fertilizer that will gradually provide vital nutrients during their growing season.

And keep in mind that you should not use fertilizers after mid-summer unless you want just the foliage to grow. And like late winter or the beginning of the spring, you should also not apply fertilizers in fall or winter. The reason is the same; your azaleas won’t absorb the fertilizer properly.

Pro tip: if the area where you planted the azaleas is exposed to plenty of rainfall and the growing season is long too, then the azaleas may need further fertilizer application in the middle of the summer or a little bit later in late summer. But one thing you should always maintain is to finish fertilizing before August.

When to Fertilize Encore Azaleas?

Azaleas need fertilization just once a year, but sometimes they need the fertilizer for a second time, but that’s not the general case. More fertilization on your azaleas can cause the opposite of benefits because they are sensitive to over-fertilization.

The second fertilization is only applicable if you feel your azaleas need the fertilizer one more time because of their current health conditions.

And for your encore azaleas, choose a good quality granular fertilizer. Plus, keep in mind that it should be slow-releasing and well-balanced as well. To identify good quality, well-balanced fertilizer, you should check if the Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) levels are the same or not, which you will find on the packaging of the fertilizer.

Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the fertilizer on the base according to those instructions and water properly after application.

Okay, now you know the basic fertilization time for azaleas. But there are different geographical locations where the fertilization time will be different. So, to get the accurate time for fertilizer application in your area, let’s check the fertilization time on different USDA plant hardiness zones.

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 Florida?

As soils in Florida are sandy, you may need to lightly fertilize your azaleas frequently. For these soils, use a fertilizer that forms acid, for example, a 15-5-15 or a 12-4-8 fertilizer. And you should apply the fertilizer during all four seasons. A single matured plant will need roughly ¼ pounds of fertilizer.

And for the specific time for fertilization: you need to feed your azaleas after their blooming season, spring. And for the fertilizer, you should use a good-quality granular fertilizer.

As for the second application, you should apply the fertilizer in late summer. You can also apply it at the beginning of the fall, but don’t be late. Also, don’t fertilize your azaleas after the end of September because this may cause the buds to fall even before opening.

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.

Conclusion

Now, you know the different times for fertilizing azaleas in different geographic locations. Follow the specific fertilizing time for your area and surprise your neighbors with irresistible azaleas in the upcoming bloom season.

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.