Asked on Aug 4, 2013


Vickie GCheryl BlanchetteKathy


I have a question about my azelieas. I planted these in the summer of 2011. They did good that year and grew nicely the summer of 2012. This year we had a slow start to spring, cold and wet. Now, early Aug., they seem healthy but they have alot of branches that never bloomed. They do have buds now, too. And they just aren't growing as tall as I had hoped. My question: am I supposed to cut them back in spring or fall or are they supposed to rebloom on the existing branches? Help, I really love these bushes but I need them to cover that fenceline. Thanks so much.
This is the worst one.
This is the best one.
9 answers
  • R.V.R. Farris
    on Aug 4, 2013

    What type of azalea are these? They look unfamiliar to me. They look like altheas, or rose of Sharon.

  • I believe they are Rose of Sharon (or Althea) which should start blooming for you soon if there are buds. I would just cut out dead wood now. You prune these for shape in early winter and they really do not like to be pruned. In your zone they can get up to 8' tall. Here in the south~VA mine is well over 9' now and loaded with blooms after 5 years. They love sun and heat and are late summer and fall bloomers. Now another rule of thumb is the 3rd year it will grow. 2nd year it has hopefully set roots and will grow and bloom a little bit. 1st year when you plant it will usually do nothing but sit there.

  • Vickie G
    on Aug 5, 2013

    Yes they are Rose of Sharon..they bloomed in '11 and '12 and are getting ready to bloom soon. I am just concerned cuz they didn't leaf till late spring and some of the branches never did. So, you think I should cut off the 'dead' wood now and then trim late in fall? Do I cut these down all the way in fall or spring or do I just shape? Bushes are new to me so I want to do it right. Thanks so much.

  • Only cut the dead wood out. Only prune if you want to shape because pruning often times cuts down on blooms. However, from the pics I would not prune at all for several years and do not worry it will start growing next season!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 5, 2013

    And Rose of Sharon is always late to leaf out, so you'll just have to get used to that.

  • Leona G
    on Aug 6, 2013

    I would prune out the dead but wait till spring to do any hard pruning and then if you have a hard winter you can prune the damage branches as well as shape the bush. Pruning to hard now would make the brush flush and have possible more winter damage. Good luck

  • Kathy
    on Aug 6, 2013

    You mat also want to feed them. Coffee grounds work great.

  • Cheryl Blanchette
    on Aug 6, 2013

    Rose of Sharon are heavy feeders, Black cow or some other manure would be great. Don't let the dogs eat it though.

  • Vickie G
    on Aug 7, 2013

    Thank you, everyone for your input. I tend to be an impatient and worry gardener. Noticed yesterday that one is now starting to bloom. Soo excited. I love these bushes, that's why I was so worried. Thanks again.

    , My first bloom
    • @The Garden Frog with C Renee I found this somewhere 4 years ago as a small twig and today is probably over 10' and I do nothing with it~it was not my intention to let it lean or get this big but it was not a priority so I let it be. I have seen them taller here in VA.

      , the deck is roughly 3 1 2 off the ground plus the poles are 8 ft So just imagine if I would have fertilized it
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