How to prune azaleas

Pruning shears for plants

Azaleas are highly sought after plants due to their natural beauty. Of course, although it seems that its flowers grow spontaneously, we must take care of them and respect their needs so that they then give us all their beauty. The good news is that it is a resistant plant that adapts to different climatic conditions. Still, it is best to pay attention to several aspects, including pruning.

Depending on the characteristics of your plants and what you want to achieve with them, you should choose the right time to give them a hairdressing session. Let us know how to prune azaleas.

When should azaleas be pruned?

Azaleas are shrubs that produce very cheerful flowers

Our azaleas they are shrubs with which low hedges and incredible bonsai are made. In addition, as they do not grow much (normally they do not exceed one meter in height), they can be grown on balconies and terraces, as well as, of course, in small gardens. However, one of the things to do to keep them beautiful is to prune them.

Now, they cannot be pruned at any time or in any way. In fact, we have to know that there are three types of pruning:

  • Pinched: it is a very gentle pruning, consisting of simply trimming the stems a little to keep it in style. Because of this, it is done throughout the year, particularly from spring to late summer, as this is when they are growing.
  • Formation pruning: as its name suggests, it is the one that is made in order to give them a shape, a style. As for this sometimes it is necessary to cut entire branches and others, it is done at the end of winter.
  • Sanitation pruning: consists of removing dead and dry branches, as well as rinsing the crown if necessary. It is done at the same time as the training session.

How are they pruned?


Pinching is, as we said, a gentle pruning that is carried out throughout the year. The idea is remove dead or faded flowers. In addition, you can take advantage of and shape the azalea by cutting a little - no more than two centimeters - the long stems. It is important to make precise cuts so as not to damage the plant.

In this case, you must bear in mind that it is not advisable to prune them after three weeks from the moment you notice that the flowers have withered, as then you run the risk of eliminating developing buds. Remember that azaleas only bloom once a year.

Formation pruning

Formation pruning is a more drastic pruning. It should be done in late winter, before the plants resume their growth. To do this, what you have to do is the following:

  • Stay away from the azaleas a bit, so you can see them better.
  • Decide on their style: do you want them to be round and compact bushes or little trees? In the first case, at the beginning you will have to work the crown more, while in the second, you will work the trunk more.
  • Take pruning shears and cut those stems that are less than a centimeter thick and that have become too long, leaving the design you plan to give the plants.
  • Reduce the length of those that are well positioned, but are too long.
  • If you want to have them as a tree, leave the trunk without the low branches and start shaping the tops.

Sanitation pruning

The time to start pruning the azalea is also at the end of winter because then we leave the cold weather behind and it is time to recover the plant. There will be cutting dead or diseased stems and branches with pruning shears. Try to cut to the precise place where the damaged parts connect with the good wood. Make small but firm cuts so as not to leave large wounds and then lead to the proliferation of pests and diseases. On the other hand, it is recommended to clean the scissors with diluted household bleach between cuts to prevent diseases of the diseased branches from damaging the rest of the plant.

We hope it has been useful to you 🙂.

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  1.   deborah grassi da costa said

    At what time of the year does it cause formation pruning? just bet on flowering? My mother-in-law died, and since we are now residing in her house, I am about to organize her yadin as she always liked. There are two azalea plants in the yardin. They are tall, warped, and with infiltrated weed. Do I have to wait for flowering to fix it?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Deborah.

      Yes, after flowering is the best time to prune it. But if they need a drastic pruning, that is, if you have to reduce the length of the branches a lot, it is better to wait until the end of winter.


    2.    Sirley bonjour said

      Great !!, super clear !!

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Thank you very much Sirley 🙂

  2.   martha alice bouso said

    Very simple the explanation of this beautiful plant, thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thank you for your comment, Martha Alicia.

  3.   Juan said

    Very useful, thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi John.

      Perfect, thank you very much.

  4.   hirune said

    I think I have pruned the azalea too much, will the branches sprout? Thank you

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Hirune.

      You have to give it time. It is all that can be done for now.

      When a plant has had a hard time with drastic pruning, the branches turn brown, dry out, and die in a short period of time.

      Let's see if you are lucky and it sprouts again. You can help it if you fertilize it with a fertilizer for acid plants following the instructions on the package.