Pruning Azalea Bushes

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Comments

  1. HOrton says

    Hey there… nice video… But
    Can I take my trimmings and root them or should i wait till more new growth appears later in the summer

    • Mike says

      Horton,

      You’re better off to wait until the new growth is long enough to use for cuttings and has hardened off a bit. The rule of thumb is take the cuttings about 6 to 8 weeks after the plants start growing in the spring.

    • Al Clarke says

      if you have a snippet bit of old wood at end of cutting they should root easily using mostly sharp sand with minor part peat moss, kep covered with plastic or with plastic jugs allowing for ventilation and shade
      4 weeks time usually

    • Mike says

      Linda,

      It’s always better to try and find plants in your local area. Just call around and ask for Exbury Azaleas or Exbury Mollis Azaleas.

      • Ric Ross says

        Mike,
        3 years ago, I ordered 3 of the deciduous (Orange) Azaleas that look a lot like the one in this video. I found them throuh a catalog that I found on the Internet. They seem to do better in sunny locations. They’re still in pots but I’m thinking about planting them in the ground in full sun in the front of the picket fence in my front yard. Would that be a good idea? BTW, I live in Summerville, SC, (AKA Flowertown). We had a beautiful Spring here. This town is very well known for it’s beautiful Azaleas, Dogwoods, Wisteria, bulb gardens, Carolina Jasmine, Cherry Trees and Japanese Magnolias.

  2. Dolly says

    Mike – I really enjoy your weekly e-mails, and now your video. I always find your advice helpful and applicable to my own gardening chores. Thank you for sharing and please continue.

  3. Carol H. says

    Hi Mike – great video – can you do one for roses? I have knockout roses and am not sure about cutting them back during blooming season.
    I did cut them down in March and they are nice and full now but they start to get out of shape. What do I do?

    • Mike says

      Carol,

      When your roses are blooming remove the spent rose blossoms by counting down five leaves from the bud then cut above the next leaf on the stem. This will help keep the roses in shape during the blooming season. If they are still too big just trim as needed, you won’t hurt them.

  4. Nancy says

    Thanks so much for this video, am saving to file for future — and getting outside now to prune my rhododendrons which have grown leggy and spare… I purchased some Azalea food the other day (“for acid loving plants”) and am, for the first time in 5 yrs, feeding them! I’m so proud of myself, har! I sure hope they show some improvement, they’re looking very sad. Thanks again! love your site.

  5. rebecca says

    Thanks Mike. I’m in N Central TX and bought a couple of the evergreen. I haven’t planted yet, so, I appreciate this “crash” course. I’m landscaping and will be able to plant this wkend. Have a GREAT week!

  6. Cheryl says

    Great video, Mike. I would love to see similar information about Daphne Odora. Mine is about 3 feet tall and seems to be leafless this year. I would love to prune it back and get it to fill out.

  7. maria says

    Hello Mike,

    I really enjoyed this short video on how to prune Azalea bushes.

    Thanks for all the hard work that you do for us.
    Maria

  8. NICK NICHOLAS says

    MIKE, I THINK YOU SHOULD STICK WITH GROWING PLANTS, NOT DOING VIDEO’S!! YOU COME ACROSS LIKE A OLD SOUTHERN VIRGINIA FARMER FROM WAY BACK IN THE WOODS!!

    • Mike says

      Well . . . . you might be right but we do get a lot of compliments on the videos. People appreciate the information but without a doubt the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Not to mention my getto productions. I do it because people appreciate the info.

    • Ric Ross says

      So, Nick, tell me. . . what is wrong with being “AN OLD SOUTHERN VIRGINIA FARMER FROM WAY BACK IN THE WOODS!!”

    • East Tennessee Mountain Man says

      Nick,
      Down here in Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia we don’t insult the gracious people who share their knowledge with us. We admire and respect them. I’m sure Mike has spent endless hours and money to produce these videos, and guess what, he gives all this to us for FREE! Mike, Thank you my friend and keep up the great work.

      • Mike says

        Mountain Man, I truly appreciate your support. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to edit your post but I did enjoy you sticking up for me.

    • vera says

      Nick, obviously you were never taught about manners where you came from. What have you done for FREE for anyone? I have been taking Mike’s advice for years, my yard looks fabulous, all thanks to Mike. If you can’t say something nice, nobody is interested in you judgemental and negative thoughts, keep them for yourself and you fortunate family who is living with you.

    • NICK says

      Well, aren’t you just too cool. When was the last time you did something for someone beside yourself. I think Mike comes across as an honest hard working man that is sharing what he has learned and I for one appreciate him. If you don’t have something nice to say “SHUT-UP”

    • David Thorne, Thornes Environmental Design says

      Young man, I think the point that you’re missing is that great folks from all over the country like very much that Mike is an average guy who goes out of his way…by making his videos to try to help people have fun, be less intimidated, and grow great plants. He is not a paid actor, for that matter he spends quit a bit of time as a volunteer making helpful videos. If in fact you had ever worked a callous onto your hands you would know that Mike’s bibs are form and function…see how he puts his prunner back into the chest pocket there. Have you ever made a video? I think not, as if you had you’d have realized that talking the talk is a heap easier then walking the walk.

  9. Mary Toole says

    I am very interested in your programs and am interested in rooting plants that you take about that is in your program. I live in FL where are the buyers and sellers that you provide these products to?
    Are these products easily sold after that rooting and how long from
    start to finish?

  10. Mabel Williams says

    I really wanted to watch your video on Azalea trimming, etc.; however, I am dial-up and cannot get the video to come in. It simply takes too long between sentences. Is there any other way I can get that information?

  11. Elizabeth says

    I enjoy your tips of the trade..you are informative and remind me of my dad !!! I do have a Magnolia Tree I bought last year and it looks dead but I scratched the bark and it’s green , but I have had no buds or leaves since when I got it…HELP!!

    • Mike says

      Elizabeth,

      If you scratch the bark and the tissue beneath the bark is still green and firm then the tree is alive. Why it has no leaves is a mystery, but my first guess is since you’ve only had it a year maybe it’s planted too deep, or planted in a wet area. When planting a tree or shrub it’s important to not plant it any deeper than it was growing in the nursery. In most cases the root ball should be one inch above grade, then mound soil over top of it. If you have really poor soil that does not drain well, then you should plant it extra high, leaving as much as 50% of the tree above grade. But make sure you cover the exposed area with soil. That’s why I am such an advocate for raised beds.

  12. Anonymous says

    I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I thoroughly enjoy your videos and the great information you have. After all my learning style is seeing and hands on (doing). I recently purchased a Golden Chain tree and planted it here. What would you suggest the best care for this tree?

    • Mike says

      Good soil that’s all. If you have the tree planted in good soil, not too deep, it should be fine. Fertilizer is dangerous. Too much and you can ruin your plant. Keep it watered, but not soggy all the time. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.

  13. jerzeejeff says

    Hi Mike!

    I’ve been a longtime subscriber to your news letter and I’m finally glad to see your videos. What are your tips for rooting pachysandra? I have a lot of it and the plants are several leaf groups high. It’s a beautiful low-maintenance ground cover, and most importantly (in North Jersey) deer resistant. Do I need to use Root-tone or some kind of rooting food/starter?

    Thanx! jerzeejeff

  14. Mary says

    Hey there!
    My question is, this year I have a lot of unwanted grass and weeds growing all around the plants I want to keep. Any suggestions on a chemical I can use that will kill what I don’t want and keep what I do? Of course, if I had money, I could hire a gardener to do it for me! Also my bleeding heart didn’t come up this year and is looking kinda broken and puny. Thanks!

    • Mike says

      Mary,

      The short answser is no. About the only chemical that will take care of the weeds and grass that you have is roundup, and it will kill your plants as well if you get it on the plants. Once a bed gets out of hand like that, it takes work and a consistent effort to keep it cleaned up.

    • Donna says

      Pull or dig up the weeds, lay down cardboard boxes or wet newspaper (10 pages thick) around each plant. Then cover with 2 – 3 inches of mulch. Grass cutting will do if nothing else is available. This keeps weeds from sprouting, cools the ground around each plant and compost down to feed your soil.

  15. Bonnie says

    I have some old rhododendrons (5years or more) that have not been pruned properly over the years. They are tall and spinally. I would really like them to be 18 to 24 inches shorter than they are. The limbs or stems are at least as big as your index finger at that point and there are no flowers there. If I can cut them back that dramatically where do I make the cut–above or below a junction?? I know I need to do this as soon as they quit blooming this summer. Then If they get new growth on them the following year in order to keep them at the same basic height do I cut them in the same places again or just clip the heads off. I want to maintain a specific height.

    • Mike says

      Bonnie,

      Make your cut right above where an new branch starts. I say cut away. Then in the future, each year after they bloom you can just keep them trimmed down with hedge shears. They will eventually fill in tightly and bloom like crazy.

  16. emt training says

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

    • Mike says

      You’re welcome and thank you for your kind comments. Keeping all of this going takes a lot of time, but when you know people appreciate it you don’t mind doing it. We have so much planned, so many videos to shoot. Stay tuned, for the first time ever I have help with getting all of this done.

  17. Melissa says

    Mike, Now that I have watched your video and read all the comments about pruning azaleas, could you please inform me as to when would be the best time to transplant or move the azalea? I have had one for about 2 1/2 years now. I recently built a garage and thought my azalea would be fine where it is but I really need to move it before it gets destroyed. By the way, I very much enjoy read your website. It is filled with tons of very useful information. I am in the process of building my homemade plant propagation system. I am also going to try to build the potting table i found from your website. GREAT INFORMATION!!!!!!!! I love it. i also wanted to tell you that I absolutely LOVE your landscaping. It is very beautiful! Keep up the great work and please continue to keep us (your fans) informed about gardening. THANK YOU!

    • Mike says

      Melissa,

      Thank for for the kind comments! It’s really best to transplant trees and shrubs when they are dormant. Here in zone 5 that happens around Thanksgiving and the plants remain dormant until about mid April. Moving things during the growing season can be traumatic to the plant.

  18. Jack says

    Hi Mike, great info as usual. What about pruning and cuttings for gardenias? I remember trimming some hedge size plants at a home I used to live at and watching them not flower like they used to? I am sure it was the wrong time but I trimmed after they blumed. But since they blume twice should you wait for late summer blume. I know these plants can be tricky but at least I am in north carolina where it is warmer. Thanks for your time

    • Mike says

      Jack, I’m not a gardenia expert, but if they bloom on the current years growth, then you should trim them in late fall or early spring. Just look at the plant and see if the flower buds are on older, hard wood, or new soft wood that just grew this spring.

  19. DOUG says

    AT WHAT STAGE OF THE GAME DO I MAKE CUTTING TO ROOT CREPE MYRTLE. BEFORE OR AFTER BLOOMING IS FINISHED? DO YOU DO SAME WITH AZALEAS?
    IS USING POTTING SOIL AND VERMICULITE 1/2 AND 1/2 OK TO USE. KEEP MOIST AND IN SUN OR SHADE?

    • Mike says

      Doug, I’d use more vermiculite and less potting soil. You want the medium to drain well. Don’t worry about the blooming, just take softwood cuttings now. The same with the azaleas.

  20. Marilyn says

    New gardener: I need any info on Bottle Brush and Saucer Magnolia Plants. I enjoy the good easy info you send out. Thanks!

  21. Donna says

    Mike,
    I hope I can ask this here………I planted a Chandelier Pear Tree at the cemetery where my son is laid to rest……..its been there now for 4 years…..it seems every year the leaves have these brown spots on them………someone told me a fungus……..what do you think it might be…..I bought the tree at a local nursery and it seemed to be doing well………now I am puzzeled……

    Thank you for any information…….
    Please know you are a blessing to us all…….oh, I live in Michigan……..

  22. AL says

    OFF THE COURSE HERE BUT AFTER MY CLIMATIS BLOOMS MAY I CUT THE DEAD BLOOMS OFF WILL IT HELP IT BLOOM AGAIN IT WAS HEAVY WITH BLOOM AND WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO PRUNE IT BACK, ALSO WHERE CAN I FIND SOME HONEY SUCKLE TO PLANT AROUND MY YARD IT SMELLS SO GOOD WHEN BLOOMING NEED SOME IN INDIANA LOL

  23. Sandra L Woerner says

    I love all the information you put out there for people like me. I am especially interested in topic due to the fact that I have 2 deciduous azealas that are orange. I have had them for over 13 years and this year is the 1st time they did not bloom. My husband cut them all the way back last fall and we got nothing but leaves this year. Most of the leaves have holes in them (spider mites?). I am lost as to what to do this fall. Any sugestions?

    • Mike says

      Sandra,

      You probably don’t have to do anything. They didn’t bloom because the buds were formed before they were pruned. Just leave them be and they will get back on schedule. You have to prune azaleas right after they bloom, before they start making buds for next year. The holes in the leaves are probably some other chewing insect, I wouldn’t be concerned, you’ll get new leaves in the spring.

  24. Carol H. says

    I really enjoy your videos and the ideas about replanting hydrangeas when and in regular potting soil and how much water? How about some kind of fertilizer?

  25. Anonymous says

    I can not get the video to play and I would love to watch it. Please tell me how to get it started.
    Thanks, Tammy

  26. R in Abbotsford BC says

    I really like Mike’s style; weve been growing for years, but every once in a while we learn some great stuff. I grow bonsai, and wonder if Mike has any profound stuff on that; ie. native North American trees. I live in BC Canada.

  27. Sandra says

    Mike thank- you for teaching me so much. Can you possibly discuss pruning and care of lavender and also Clematis. Should I be cutting it down every Fall? Same for my beloved honeysuckle that is yellow and pink and attracts beloved Hummingbirds? Cut way back in Fall?Thanks, Sandy

  28. JIM BORUCKI says

    MIKE HI! JIM HERE YOUR VIDEOS ARE QUITE HELPFUL TO THE NOVICE… I HAVE 35yrs EXSPERIENCE IN GARDENING NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR VIDEOS … HE PROBALEY CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERANCE BETWEEN A LILY AND A ROSE!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Janet Spoon says

    Mike, I need more information on pruning boxwoods. We have a lot, and some are growing over the walkways. When can we prune them? Several years ago (1998?) a nursery group cut 4-6 in tips off a lot of them in December, and ever since they’ve had a lot of ugly, bare branches. This past summer (2010) they have finally begun looking decent again, though not as lush as before. We are in western NC in Happy Valley of Caldwell County. Thanks.

  30. Cindy McClure says

    Great video, Mike. Seems like you are always full of good information. Loved the video on azaleas. I never heard of the deciduous kind .

  31. JoAnne says

    I need some advice. There is an azalea that I need to give a major trim to. It is seriously overgrown, and out of control. The house has been empty for a few years before we had moved in two years ago. I do not have a green thumb whatsoever, but I do try to keep the plants and shrubs looking good as best I can. The family will be selling the house sometime in the near future and I would like to make everything look it’s best. Thanks!

  32. ellen weber says

    Mike,all I can say is thank-you for all your wonderful vidieos and helpful advice, it has all worked wonderful for me.

  33. Barbara Ward says

    Crepe Myrtle got black disease. Pulled root balls up and tossed them. Now cannot get rid of the roots that were streaming down under. Have planted Camelia plants there but those Crepe Myrtle roots are strangling the Camelia plants. How do I get rid of the crepe myrtle roots to save the beautiful camelias. I live in Mytle Beach SC. Thanks.

  34. Lois Heimendinger says

    Mike,I could never thank you enough./ retirement isnt what its cracked up to be. I am a retired RN who only wanted to read.now, I dont. the LIBRARIAN SAID THAT i WAS HER BEST CUSTOMER. I discovered your program and have never been the same. this is fun. others give me “that” smile, my husband is mt best encourager. we are now knee deep in puttinmg it all together. my learning on the computertime is in the middle of the night, the actual Cutting and planting time is afTER 12 NOON. THANK YOU FOR SUCH A SPECIAL NEW life.

  35. Marlene says

    Mike, I know you’re talking about Azalea’s in this segment and I gained a lot of information about the ever green Azalea that I never knew, but I wonder if I could ask you a question about a hardy Hibiscus plant I have. It absolutely went crazy with blossoms this year. It’s in very rich soil. In the winter it seems to go down to the ground and starts all over again in the spring. I’m thinking it may need to be cut back at some point in time. When and how do I do this?
    Thank you,
    Marlene

    • Mike says

      Marlene, now, in the fall, is a good time to cut back your Hibiscus. They bloom on current years growth so you don’t want to prune between April and Fall. Any time over the winter or early spring would be good.

  36. Susan says

    Thanks for this information, Mike. I have 2 bonsai Satsuki azaleas that I had to re-pot when flowering had just started. So now they’ve got flowers here and there and also some new shoots but they’ve become extremely leggy. I don’t want to cut off all the branches after flowering is finished. Can you please provide some suggestions? These are spectacular trees but I’m not familiar enough with them to know what to do and I’m afraid to do anything without some expert advice.

    • Mike says

      Susan,

      Without seeing them I’d say if they need pruning to keep them nice then by all means prune after they finish blooming. If you don’t, next year they’ll put on more new growth at the ends of the branches that are there no. Regular pruning is what keeps all plants nice.

  37. Susan says

    Thanks Mike. That’s the basis of Bonsai – regular pruning of roots and foliage keeps trees healthy. The azaleas are spectacular but really do need pruning. Growth is all at the ends of the branches, although there are some side shoots further down on some branches. Would the best thing be to leave those and prune off the growth at the ends of the longer branches? I’m sure when I’ve had them long enough to see their growth pattern I’ll be okay but these are the first azaleas I’ve had.

  38. deborah maisonet says

    Hi Mike!

    I was wondering if I can take cuttings from my crepe myrtles, and if so when? They were transplanted to my yard two years ago, had been cut down to grow like tall hedges, so they’re only about 5ft tall and have at least 5-6 bottom trunks. They are pretty filled out with leaves, but have barely bloomed since I’ve had them. What do you suggest? I live in coastal NC and they grow well EVERYWHERE here.

    thanks!

  39. Vince says

    Mike,

    I have the orange azaleas but they seem to lose their flowers almost 2 weeks after they bloom. Can I bring the flowers back through the summer? Any tips would help. (Living in the Philly area.)

    • Mike says

      Vince,

      No you can’t. They bloom once a year then they are done. That’s why you have to use all kinds of other things to add year round color to your landscape. Coral Bells are a great choice for summer color.

  40. says

    I bought a new home in June. I asked the newly-hired lawn service to prune the azaleas because they look horrible. They’ve been untended for years and have become scraggly, stalky messes. However, when they came to do it, I caught them cutting the bushes off at the grown with a deer knife and stopped them (needless to say, I fired them) from ruining the landscape.

    So here’s my challenge. The bushes didn’t bloom in October as they should have because they were left unattended. Now it’s almost November and the scraggly plants cannot be pruned again until after the next bloom (which I’m sure they won’t do), right? How can I get these plants fit so that they WILL bloom in March?

    • Mike says

      Michelle,

      Forget about blooms for now and get the plants cut back to where they need to be. Once they start to fill out they will bloom on schedule, but maybe not as early as next spring, but the sooner you get them trimmed to where they should be they’ll know what to do from there.

  41. Martha Blevins says

    Oh my something has happened. I was getting the video’s and then suddenly things changed.
    I now get the e-mail as was before and then when I click the link I get a large box with nothing
    to view but a small x in the corner. I tried the print also pdf …nothing happens.
    I’m not happy can we do something because the good things you send out to us is like watching a good soap opera hehe.