Can Azalea Bushes Be Transplanted? How You Should Do It? (2022)

Have an established Azalea plant that has grown too big? Or perhaps you want to place it somewhere else where its beauty can be admired. What can you do in such situations? Basically, you should be asking the question; can Azalea bushes be transplanted?

Yes, you can transplant an azalea bush. But, it requires careful planning and care. You will have to carry out certain care actions before and after transplanting the azalea bush.

Transplanting any plant is not an overnight process and you shouldn’t think it is! If the appropriate steps are not taken before and after transplantation, your azalea will die.

Before we get to transplanting, let’s discuss when to transplant your azalea plants.

When To Transplant Azalea Bushes?

The success of azalea bush transplantation does depend greatly on the timing of the transplant. Doing it at the wrong season can be a fatal mistake!

Transplanting azaleas is best done in early spring or fall.

Also, the worst time to transplant these plants happens to be in the heat of summer or winter. So, what makes these seasons the best or worst time for transplantation? Let’s find out.

Summer is not ideal for moving an azalea to another spot because of the high risks of wilting, and yellowing. Both are symptoms of dehydration. Even if the soil is moist it does not matter because the atmosphere is hot.

Winter is not the most ideal time for transplanting either. This is because the new transplant will not be able to develop its root system and could succumb to the cold!

The best time of the day to transplant azaleas is in the early morning or late afternoon.

Reasons for this are

(Video) 🌿 Transplanting Our Established Azaleas (Part 1: Front Garden Bed Re-design) 🌿

  1. Sun intensity and exposure is minimal during these times.
  2. And, any attempts to move your plants should be avoided in extremely cold parts of the day.

Can Azalea Bushes Be Cut Back?

Pre-Transplantation Care

Prior to transplanting an azalea plant, there are certain activities that must be undertaken to assure your plants adapt and survive. Also, certain actions can work in your favor. They will assist in a smooth transition when moving your azaleas around the garden.

Two things you can’t ignore while transplanting your azalea plants are pruning and root pruning. If you want the process to be a success and easy, don’t forget to carry out both processes.


It doesn’t make much sense pruning an azalea only after you have transplanted it! It is better to do it before. This way the plant appears neater and smaller and it will take up less space than if you didn’t prune it.

Plus pruning your azalea in its old spot gives the plant time to adjust to missing some parts of it. You can carry out the pruning a few days before you plan to move the plants. This makes one less thing to do after you replant the azaleas.

You will be best off when pruning about ⅓ of the topmost growth. Also, shaping before transplanting will help the plant to grow in the right direction once moved.

Don’t know how to prune azaleas? Read our guide to pruning azalea plants.

Root Pruning

If regular Pre-transplantation pruning sounded unusual to you, this is going to sound even more odd. Well before transplantation, you should carry out root pruning! Now, you must be wondering what exactly is root pruning.

Root pruning is the activity of cutting or minimizing your plant’s roots. This is necessary if you are planning to transplant an azalea that is old with a large root system.

There are many benefits to doing this and doing it much in advance of the transplanting time. Many of the reasons actually work in your favor and will make the process of transplanting azaleas bushes smoother and faster!

Here are a few reasons why you should root prune your azalea bush prior to transplanting.

(Video) How to Move Azalea Plants

  1. Azalea plants that are old have an expansive root system. Uprooting the entire plant with all its roots will be time consuming. Not to mention all the energy required to completely uproot the entire plant and its roots.
  2. Root pruning helps to maintain root health. As time passes, old roots begin to dry up but they are still attached to the plant. This makes the root system lage even though not all the roots are alive and functioning. Pruning helps to keep the system compact with just the live roots.
  3. Have a measured area for your plant? Root pruning helps to contain your plant’s growth. If exceeding this space is not an option, turn to pruning and root pruning.
  4. Energy that would be used on keeping roots alive is rerouted to stimulating new growth in the plant. Overall this leads to better growth and appearance above-ground and below-ground as well.

How To Root Prune Azaleas?

People who are hearing about root pruning for the first time, may not know how to go about this activity.

  • Using a spade, cut a circular trench around your azalea plants. Make sure to apply pressure and sever any roots that come into your path.
  • As a measure, start at 8 to 12 inches from the trunk of the azalea.
  • Take all the soil out till about 6 inches wide and a foot deep.
  • Use loose suitable soil to refill the trench.
  • Because of the loose nature, any roots/root hairs that grow in this area will be easily pulled out.

NOTE: Azalea roots are more wide than deep. This means you should use more effort in widening the hole and deepening it.

Do Azaleas Have Deep Roots?

How To Transplant An Azalea Bush?

But, before you actually uproot your plant, you have to find a site to put it. Dig the hole before uprooting the plant. Remember, you will want your plant to spend as little time as possible out of the ground. The longer it stays out, the greater the chances of transplant shock.

  • Pick a site that receives weak sun. It can be a semi-sun location since azalea needs almost equal amounts of sun and shade to thrive and flower.
  • Dig a circle out, and pull out the root ball. A shovel/spade is the best tool for this. (root pruning will help with this step).
  • Slowly settle the plant and root ball into the new site which should be ready.
  • Fill the remaining space with soil that is suitable for your azalea plant.
  • Water the plant generously and add fertilizer if required. Just do this until the roots establish themselves and growth appears. (Shock symptoms recede). Be careful to avoid overwatering.

After this is done, it mostly cares about activities that are needed.

Find out if azaleas can grow in full sun.

Post-Transplantation Care

Managed to shift your plant’s location? Well, I wish I could say the job is done, but it’s not! Your azalea plant is still vulnerable and will need your help and protection to grow and adapt to its new surroundings.


Want your new transplant to live? Well then, you will have to take extra care to make sure you water these plants daily. This should persist for the first 2 weeks after transplanting. Slowly, watering can ease up.

To assist the absorption of water, you can make a depressed circle around the trunk of the plant.

This helps to avoid the water splashing out or running off the soil and into another area. Once the two weeks are up, adopt a weekly or when needed soaking.

Your watering efforts will have to be carefully planned out, even after a few months have passed by.

(Video) Transplanting Azaleas

The roots are shallow and at a high risk of drying out. But, at the same time, you will not want to keep the soil overly wet as this will suffocate the roots.

A Lot of this has to do with the type of soil you select. Clay soils will block out air and accumulate water. While excessively sandy soils will eliminate all water leaves a dry and nutrient-lacking growing medium.


Delaying and preventing ‘transplant shock’ (stress) requires you to make sure the new transplant can grow immediately. But how can you make the conditions suitable for instant growth?

The key is to make sure that the plants remain in a moist environment. Of course, growth requires nutrients as well. Actually, there is a way to make sure both are available at the same time. You can use mulch!

Mulch is an organic material that is usually rich in nutrients as well as capable of retaining large amounts of moisture.

You can use straws, pine needles, or something as common as hay. Make sure it is well rotted. Place a 3 to 6-inch layer of mulch over the soil where the roots are likely to be positioned. Make sure the mulch is at least 1 to 2 inches away from the trunk to avoid rotting.

The decomposed material in the mulch has to be acidic as azalea plants don’t thrive in acidic conditions.

Before applying mulch to azaleas, check the pH. You can use a readymade test kit available in retail stores or on an online store.

NOTE: Transplanted azalea plants mostly die due to underwatering and severe disease infections. You will have to guard against such issues if you want successful transplantation.

How Big Does Azalea Grow? Varieties and Sizes


Here is a sum-up of all the activities a healthy azalea bush transplantation requires.

(Video) Azalea rescue repot replant care & pruning tips #azalea #azaleas #repotting #transplant #azaleacare

Pre-Transplantation Care


No use in carrying excess weight! Prune off all dead or unwanted plant portions before you move the plant. This also makes moving the more compact plant easier.

Root Pruning

Carry out root pruning before transplanting to avoid facing struggles while removing the plant from the ground. This process actually helps to maintain root heath. It can also keep growth in check, particularly it helps to limit the growth of indoor plants.

Post-Transplantation Care


Provide your newly transplanted azalea plants with constant and regular watering.

Because azaleas have shallow (wide not deep) root systems, they are at increased risk of dehydration. Water them every day for the first 2 weeks. Then once weekly for the next few months.


Use a well-rotted mulch to cover the plants to retain moisture. Making sure it is well-rotted will ensure it keeps the soil acidic and still releases nutrients. Appropriate mulch options are pine needles, straw, or hay, and will do.


Did your azalea turn brown after transplanting? Find out why azaleas turn brown and how to solve it.

It is possible to successfully transplant Azalea bushes (even old ones). However, to make this possible you must take certain measures to ensure you receive the desired results.

(Video) Tips on transplanting Azalea bushes


When should you transplant Azalea plants?

It is best to transplant azalea plants in the Fall or early Spring season. Why these seasons? Because your plants have more chances of growing enough to survive winter and summer. Also, make sure your timing is right. Avoid transplanting in the heat of the day and wait for cooler temperatures.


Can you move an azalea? ›

Most rhododendrons and azaleas in the landscape, even large ones, can be moved using proper care. In favorable climates the transplanting can be done at almost any time when the plant is not in soft growth, except at the very hottest times. In cold climates early spring transplanting is recommended.

When Can azaleas be moved? ›

The best time for transplanting azaleas is late summer or early autumn. Instead of bringing possible frost damage, winter provides safe, mild temperatures for your roots to get nice and established before the harsh heat of summer.

Can azaleas be dug up and replanted? ›

Transplanting azaleas is no different. If it's an azalea, you're in luck because azaleas have shallow roots, are easy to dig up, and recover quickly from the stress of moving. Even mature azaleas can be moved if you are careful to minimize damage to the root systems.

What is the best time of year to transplant azaleas? ›

Transplanting Our Established Azaleas (Part 1: Front Garden Bed ...

This plant has shallow roots and is best kept in moist acidic soil in order to keep its nutrients and stay oxygenated.. Azalea bushes are easy plants to care for, and they recover quickly when transplanted because of their shallow roots.. The most important thing to do with an Azalea bush is to prune the roots at least a year before moving it.. Before you begin to move your Azalea bush, you will have to dig a hole for the new site.. After lifting the plant out, you’ll have to keep the root ball moist and transplant it to the new site as soon as possible.. If the pH is higher, it causes nutrient deficiencies and yellowing of the leaves in your Azalea bush.. Its best to fertilize in the spring for established plants.. This plant mostly blooms in the spring and fall with a staggering bloom.. This acid-loving plant is fairly easy to transplant, under the right preparation and conditions.. To move and transplant an Azalea bush, its best to prune the plant and its roots at least a year before to ensure it will continue its blooming and growth.. Direct sunlight is not a good choice because it will decrease the plants opportunity to stay oxygenated, in moist soil, and with a proper pH for nutrients.. Once the plant is transplanted, the Azalea bush should be properly cared for and watered especially until it is acclimated in the new site.

Generally, evergreen Azaleas are easier to transplant than deciduous Azaleas.. The one situation in which it may not be possible to move an Azalea is if it is well established amid trees or other shrubs, which would mean that the roots have grown intertwined with nearby plants.. Azaleas should be planted in:. Step 1: Prep the New Planting Hole After you dig it up, you’ll need to get your Azalea back in the ground again as quickly as possible (otherwise, it can dry out), so get your new planting hole ready beforehand.. The planting hole should be the same depth as the hole you dig the Azalea out of and twice as wide.. Step 2: Dig Up the Azalea Azaleas’ root systems are typically wider than their foliage but not very deep – usually a foot or less.. Step 4: Move the Azalea to its New Home Lift the Azalea by the root ball – don’t pull on the stems to lift it.. To move the Azalea to its new location, you can use a wheelbarrow or lie the Azalea on a tarp and drag it.. Place the root ball in the hole – making sure the Azalea is facing the right direction if you have a preference – and then fill in soil around it.. Finally, cover the soil with mulch (find more on the best mulch for Azaleas here ) and water the Azalea thoroughly.. Step 6: If Necessary, Prune the Azalea If you had to cut back a lot of roots to move the Azalea, you might need to prune the above-ground portion as well.

If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission.. If the plant appears withered, drench the plant’s soil with salt-free water.. If you don’t water and mulch azaleas during hot dry days, the leaves will scorch and the plant will begin to fade.. Therefore, care depends on the placement of the plant.. Watering the Plant: How you water your plant depends on the climate.. For example, white azaleas cannot withstand temperatures that soar above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.. If the plant becomes infected, prune away the fungus and get rid of the diseased branches or leaves without delay.

With all the varieties of azaleas to choose from, people who live further north can successfully grow azaleas in their gardens, as well ( azalea varieties range in hardiness from zones 5-9).. When, where, and how to plant. How to water, mulch, and fertilize. Consider planting a reblooming variety, like Monrovia’s exclusive Double Shot® Azaleas , to get blooms in the spring and then again in summer—all in one plant!. Almost everything about a rhododendron is typically bigger—their overall size, flowers, and leaves.. Although azaleas tend to bloom earlier, both rhododendrons and azaleas typically bloom in the spring, with some varieties blooming into summer and fall in some locations and climates.. Evergreen azaleas like Double Shot® Azaleas make for great hedges thanks to their dense growth habit and evergreen leaves.. But if they get too little sun, you may have a healthy -looking plant, but not so many flowers.. People who have naturally acidic soil will be able to grow azaleas quite easily.. This will give them enough time to produce flower buds for next year’s bloom.. That said, the first thing you want to make sure to do has nothing to do with pruning, but everything to do with choosing the right plant for the right space .. Are you looking for a hardy, compact azalea that blooms not once, but twice a year?

Prune azaleas just after blooming in spring.. Azalea bushes include many varieties with various sizes and flower colors. There is such a wide variety of azaleas that there is a type for almost every landscape.. To water a potted azalea shrub, pour water until it drains from the pot’s drainage hole.. Growing azalea plants in pots is ideal if you want to grow them indoors.

Yes, you can cut azalea bushes back.. Cutting back is a type of pruning but it is not the one everyone uses often!. Pruning is an essential activity for growing azalea plants and cutting back (radical pruning) is a type of pruning.. Choose the right time to cut back your azaleas plant to give them every chance of shooting back.. Where should azaleas be cut back?. If you want to cut back an azalea, avoid cutting back or cutting down all of the branches.. As for all the other stems, cut them as if you were just shaping the azalea plant.. How much can you cut back azaleas?

This may actually come as a surprise, but normally fertilizing azaleas is unnecessary unless the plants show signs of nutritional deficiency, such as smaller yellowing leaves or stunted growth.. Non-flowering could be a lack of phosphorus, especially if you’ve fed the plant a fertilizer high in nitrogen or if it’s in an area where runoff from a recently fertilized lawn tends to go.. Spring is a good time for feeding azalea shrubs.. Azaleas are early spring bloomers, generally, and should not be pruned later than early summer or you run the risk of cutting off next season’s buds.. Azaleas will typically regrow branches from right below wherever you cut.. Winter care for azaleas really depends on your region and timing of planting.. The first winter a plant goes through after being planted is always the most dangerous because it’s only marginally established and, sometimes, this can make it hard for them to survive the stress of winter, especially in cooler climates.. Lichen is especially attracted to plants that are unhealthy, so it is a symptom rather than a cause of a plant’s decline.. Lace bugs on azalea are a common problem when growing these shrubs.. Since lace bugs generally attack shrubs that are already weakened due to poor fertilizing or watering, make sure to care for the plants properly.. That said, if your azalea is already affected, insecticidal soap is usually effective in controlling lace bugs in late spring or fall.. Unlike most plant galls, which are normally insect related, leaf galls of azaleas are caused by fungus.. Also, try to keep the plant as healthy as possible, as this disease is attracted to plants that are weakened by other problems.. Azaleas are easily burned by fertilizer and may lead to leaf yellowing with subsequent leaf drop.. Azalea root systems are not too extensive and transplanting shrubs like this can be done successfully with proper care.

The question is, how to prune an azalea shrub, and when is the best time to prune azaleas?. When some branches are leggy; if you see some branches that grow too long and “spindly”, outreaching the size of your shrub, you will want to cut them.. When you see dry branches.. Unlike roses and other shrubs, azaleas don’t want and don’t need heavy pruning most of the time.. If you wish to thin your shrub, you don’t want them to grow new shoots.. Now you know when how and why you should prune your azalea shrubs.

When to plant azaleas?. As part of the Rhododendron genus, you can plant azaleas year-round if you live in an area with a mild climate.. While you can grow azaleas from seeds, most home gardeners choose not to.. These grow like small trees and won’t require pruning.. These evergreen azalea hybrids are perfect for spacious gardens.. Once you’ve picked a spot for your azaleas, check that the soil conditions match the requirements.. Next, dig a hole a little wider than the root ball but deep enough that you’re sure it will accommodate the roots and the bottom of the azalea.. Are watering and fertilizing the only things you have to do?. As long as the plant has a strong root system, it will come back bushy, healthy, and beautiful.. What’s great about them is that, given proper care, you can expect them to bloom and produce beautiful flowers year after year.

If the plants do not have mulch and are not watered on hot, dry days, the leaves will get burned and the plants may eventually die.. If the plants have droopy or dying leaves, they may be dehydrated.. Water the plants until the soil feels damp, but see to it that water does not flood the soil to avoid root rot.. If the soil is dry at that depth, water the plants with at least one gallon of water during the early morning.. Potted azaleas tend to suffer more nutrient deficiencies than those planted in the ground.. Root rot is characterized by droopy leaves that curl and turn brown, eventually falling off the stems.. Treat the plants with insecticide and prune off the infected leaves and branches to eradicate the pests.

The flower buds were pruned off Drought stress Freeze damage High pH. So, all azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.. Azaleas bloom in early spring, while rhododendrons bloom in late spring Azaleas have tubular flowers , while rhododendrons have shallow, bell-shaped flowers Azaleas have one stamen per lobe, while rhododendrons have two stamens per lobe Azaleas tend to have smaller, elliptical leaves while rhododendrons have larger, wider leaves. Pruning off flower buds Drought stress Freeze damage High pH. The most common reason azaleas stop blooming is because the flower buds have been pruned off.. Azaleas are sensitive to cold weather, and one of the most vulnerable parts of an azalea is the flower buds.. Gardeners who are not familiar with the unique requirements of azaleas tend to prune them at the same time as other landscape plants, which leads to accidentally removing flower buds.. Shrubs that have had flower buds removed divert energy into leaf and root production, so the plant may benefit from accidentally pruning out of season.. The flowers may be sparse, depending on how the shrub was pruned, but the flowers will indicate when it is time to repair any pruning damage done the previous year.. Do not remove more than 1/3rd of the total plant material Prune long, leggy branches back to the main trunk (thinning) Shape healthy branches and encourage lots of flower blooms by cutting back a few inches of each branch (heading) Remove dead and damaged branches (these do not count towards the 1/3rd rule) Use hand pruners, not hedge trimmers , and prune each branch individually (hedge trimmers tear branches and result in decreased blooms). As long as shrubs are pruned at the correct time, pruning should result in a shrub overflowing with blooms the following season.


1. Azalea Planting Tips - Season by Season Advice
(HortTube with Jim Putnam)
2. How to grow Azalea ,Grow azalea cuttings faster using this techniques and get 100% Success
(Gardening with Johnson Engleng)
3. Easy way to remove a bush! | Transplanting Azaleas 🌺
(Braulio de la Rosa)
4. How to Grow and Replant Azalea Plants
5. Transplanting A Large Established Shrub By Hand
(HortTube with Jim Putnam)
6. Azalea Bush Care | How to prune azalea | How to fertilize azalea
(The Plant Doctor)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated: 06/17/2022

Views: 5767

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.