Our Azaleas Look Healthy But With Few Blooms

Q: This year our azaleas are green and healthy with beautiful foliage but few blooms. The blooms that do appear are in the middle of the plants. We pruned them severely after they bloomed last spring. 

A: I think the severe pruning could explain what happened. After an azalea is pruned deeply, it puts on lots of new growth. These new twigs are characterized as “juvenile growth” and it does not produce many flowers. It takes about a year for the juvenile branches to mature and be capable of making flower buds. If you don’t have flowers or any unopened buds on the top half of your azaleas, it would be fine to prune them by hand to a foot or so lower than where you want blooms to appear next year.

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