A spring garden in Middle Tennessee is not complete without azalea shrubs. Their bright, vibrant colors make a statement in any yard. Our residential landscaping experts know a thing or two about caring for these beautiful flowers. Here are our four steps to planting and caring for azaleas that are sure to make your garden pop.

Test the Soil

Different plants grow best in varying soil pH levels. Azaleas need soil with a pH range near 4.5 to 6.0 to survive. The easiest way to check the pH levels of your yard is with a soil testing kit.

A soil testing kit can be purchased at most neighborhood hardware or lawn stores. You’ll need to know the soil pH before purchasing a fertilizer or mulch so you can supply the bio-nutrients your lawn is lacking.

Related: Love Your Lawn: Prepping for Spring

Water Properly

Did you know these “acid-loving” plants have shallow roots? They only go about 4 inches deep, which makes them very susceptible to water damage. While azaleas can’t tolerate soggy soil, they still need to be kept evenly moist so they don’t dry out.

Based on the location in your yard and how much light touches them, watering requirements will vary:

  • Planted in the sun: water about once a week
  • Planted in the shade: water about 2 to 3 times a month

Make sure to water slowly and thoroughly around the base of the plant, giving the roots time to absorb it. Mornings are the ideal time to water so the sun can dry out any wet leaves. The last thing you want is the leaves to get a fungal disease from excess water.


If azalea shrubs are not mulched well, their roots will quickly dry out. Most mulches on the market help make the soil less acidic, so you need to be mindful when picking one out. Look for a mulch that consists of oak leaf mold, pine needles, sphagnum peat moss, and pine bark since they’re ideal for acidic soils. Use a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to help the soil retain moisture.

As a bonus, installing mulch around your plants will also keep your beds and gardens relatively weed-free.

Related: Your Landscape Maintenance Checklist


Azaleas can live a long time if they’re cared for properly. They don’t require hours of pruning and trimming, giving you more time back on your weekends. The only time they need a little TLC is after flowering in the spring, using a pair of pruners to snip any branches from weaker areas of the plant.

Be sure to follow the branch to the stem and make the cut from there. It encourages growth and keeps the exterior of your plant looking gorgeous and healthy.

Need help planting and maintaining your property’s colorful landscaping this year? Click the link below to schedule a free consult with the experts at the Greathouse Company. We’d love to hear from you.