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How Long Does It Take For Azaleas To Grow? Help Them Grow Faster

Azaleas can be fast-growing. If you are wondering how long to grow azaleas, it varies a lot. Take the Southern Indian azalea as an example, it grows fast. But, the George Franc azalea on the other end of the spectrum is slow! 

Azaleas can grow fast or slow. Various factors will decide how long azalea growth takes. Examples include azalea type, season, soil, watering, planting technique, mulching & pruning, and age of azalea.

How Big Do Azaleas Grow? 

A common question to have about azaleas when planting them is how long to grow them takes.

But, before you ask that question you should know their size. This helps you to prepare for planting space and care to be given to these plants.

Azaleas vary in size based on type and species. But, generally, they reach a height between 1 and 12 feet. There is variation and categorization in this as well.

Azaleas can be separated based on the size differences. There are dwarf azaleas and large azaleas.

  • Dwarf azalea varieties grow to a height of 1 foot to 3 feet (0.3 meters to 0.6 meters). 
  • Large azalea varieties can grow to a size of 12 feet (3.7 meters)!

The width of azaleas spans from 1 to 5 feet. 

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How Long Does It Take For Azaleas To Grow?

How many weeks or months will it take for your azalea to grow? Unfortunately, there is no specific timeline.

The time it takes for your azalea to grow varies based on various factors. Besides, any stipulated time is based on perfectly ideal conditions and care. 

Generally, it takes azaleas 3 years to grow to their full mature size. 

But, in the real world, gardeners know this can be completely up to the individual plant! Of course, this counts as do several other factors. Want to know what influences the rate at which your azaleas grow? 

Read on to find out which factors count and what their weightage is. 

Factors Affecting Azalea Growth Rate

Azaleas won’t just grow and grow fast because you want them to! Certain conditions must be made to suit them. While some aspects are uncontrollable. Some certainly are in your control. You must make all efforts to make these count. 

Type of Azalea

Azaleas are usually of two types: Deciduous and Evergreen. How fast an azalea grows does have something to do with azalea type. Certain azaleas are dwarf, medium, or large.

As a rule of thumb, smaller variants (dwarf azaleas) grow slower since their mature size is small. This means your large azalea variants could grow faster because their mature size is very large!

Some azaleas are known for growing very fast. An example of this is the Southern Indian azalea. Mind you this is a dwarf azalea that grows to be quite small even at a mature age. 

On the other end of the size chart, you have slow-growing azaleas. A somewhat rare cultivar that is slow-growing is the George Franc azalea. It’s described as compact and low-growing with above-average flower size. 

Season

Take note of when you plant your azaleas. Each season has a different effect on your plants. Some have good effects while some have bad effects on the plants.

Azaleas will grow rapidly in some seasons such as spring and summer. While in others they will be dormant and trying to survive! 

Don’t expect fast growth if you happen to plant your azaleas in winter or the fall. Plants will save their resources.

They will only start to shoot when temperatures start to increase. This happens usually towards the end of winter towards the spring start. 

Transplanting or planting during this time can put your plants in an undesirable spot.

You may inhibit their ability to grow. As a result, they could grow to be below their species standards. This usually appears as poorly growing azaleas that are stunted.

Azaleas that are planted in the wrong season won’t grow much. Or they will take very long to grow and reach their mature size. They may never do so if careful planning is not taken on when to plant your azaleas.

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Soil

Azaleas have a strict liking and requirement for acidic soil that you cannot deviate from. Garden soil may naturally have an alkaline quality to it.

This is unacceptable if you wish to have azaleas blooming let alone growing in your garden. 

Alkaline and neutral soil will extend how long to grow azaleas takes. Acidic soil will decrease the amount of time it takes. This is simply because of the vast difference between desirable and undesirable conditions.  

Decreasing soil pH to make it acidic is possible. However, we warn you it is not a 1 or 2-day fix!

You will have to amend soil well in advance and way before planting. It is difficult to do after you plant the azalea. 

Substances you can use to increase the acidic nature (to decrease pH value) of soil are:

  • Aluminum Sulfate
  • Elemental Sulfur
  • Straw
  • Pine Needles
  • Well-Rotted Compost (1 year old)

Watering 

Watering your azaleas may seem easy. But, there is so much that remains unnoticed when it comes to water! 

For instance, hard water has a high amount of the material Sodium Bicarbonate (limestone). Too much hard water can increase soil pH. This is not good for your azaleas and you will have to test your water.

Instead, use mineral or bottled water. These are unlikely to negatively impact soil. The best water to help azaleas with how long they take to grow is rainwater. Azaleas generally thrive with this type of water. 

Another point to ponder is watering efforts. Are you watering your azaleas properly? Their appearance could be telling!

Any discoloration could be a sign watering attempts are not in sync with your azalea’s requirements.  

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Depending on the season you will have to water accordingly. More water in summer and less in winter. Or you can increase the frequency of watering in hot seasons. Decrease frequency of watering in colder seasons. 

Planting Technique 

When planting or transplanting azaleas there are two important conditions your planting process must satisfy. 

  • Keep the azalea plants out of soil for as short a time as possible.
  • Plant the azaleas with as many roots and soil as you can. The root volume you take is usually called the root ball. 

But, failure to abide by these two rules could set your azaleas up for a slow start. You could be adding an unnecessary few weeks on. This makes your azaleas take longer to grow and become established in their new environment.

You must plant/transplant properly to avoid your azaleas taking long to grow. Use a poor method and you could have possibly killed the plants before even planting them! 

Don’t feel shy when it comes to planting. Approach a profession or search the internet if you need help planting your azaleas.

Pruning and Mulching- Important For Growth 

Planting azaleas in appropriate spots and expecting them to do well in a short amount of time is an unreasonable request.

That’s not all that these plants need. They need some motivation! This comes in the form of care from its owner. 

Two activities that come under the category of care are pruning and mulching. 

Pruning is important since it promotes growth and provides some form of shape to the plants. Plus, pruning may stimulate better flowering. Deadheading is the removal of dying flowers. It helps to route energy back to the plant instead of these flowers. 

Mulching acts as a way to hydrate and fertilize plants naturally. It works by placing a layer of well-rotted material over and around the azaleas. The gradual leaching of nutrients into the soil will feed the plants. Also, it helps to lock in moisture for summer. 

NOTE: You must make sure that the mulch is acidic and maintains the soil’s pH (4.5 to 5.5) profile. 

Age

Another factor people rarely remember when asking how long it will take their azalea to grow is age.

The azaleas you buy at a nursery are not always young seedlings! This is especially not the case if you buy an azalea bonsai!

Young healthy azaleas may take a short time to grow. This is compared to older azaleas which will naturally grow less as they age. Old azaleas will eventually stop growing altogether! 

Also, that said, age affects how long to grow for azaleas that have recently undergone transplantation. Older azalea will take longer to grow than a healthier, much younger azalea plant. 

An old azalea grows less than 12 inches a year. 

Tips to Help Azaleas Grow

Want to grow azaleas in the least possible time? Follow these tips to get your azaleas growing and blooming in no time at all! 

  • Plant azaleas with as many roots and original soil as possible.
  • Keep the plant out of the soil for the shortest amount of time. 
  • Water immediately after planting or transplanting. This is to assure the plant’s roots establish fast and the plant doesn’t dry out. 
  • Make sure the soil is acidic before planting. Amending soil pH can take long and cannot be done while the azalea is in the soil.
  • Constant pruning will help azaleas grow fast. It may also help to promote growth of flowering shoots.
  • Throughout growth, adjust watering efforts to suit the season. Never leave azaleas in wet soil, the soil should only be moist. 
  • Azaleas require winter protection. Doing this can help them to grow faster after winter ends, in spring. 
  • Remove dying flowers (deadhead) from your azaleas to promote shooting. This happens because energy is given to the plant instead of the dying flowers.
  • Mulching provides nutrients for growth and provides moisture in summer. Just provide an acidic mulch so that soil pH is not altered in the process.

Follow the above tips to create the best care and environment for azalea plant growth. We know they are quite a few but it is worth it! 

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Conclusion

Azaleas can take a short time to grow. But, it all depends on a handful of factors that must be positively present.

Unhappy azaleas won’t be growing fast until conditions are improved to accommodate them. 

The various factors deciding how long to grow azaleas take are:

  1. Type of azalea
  2. Season
  3. Soil
  4. Watering
  5. Planting technique
  6. Mulching and pruning
  7. Age of the azalea

So, even with all the best care and conditions, your azalea may not grow fast because of conditions out of your hands.

This is due to the azalea type being a slow-growing one! But don’t worry, patience pays off. 

FAQs

Is Azalea hard to grow?

Azaleas are not that hard to grow as long as you provide the right conditions and care to them. Soil, water, season, and planting technique are important steps to take. Azaleas aren’t exactly high-maintenance plants. 

What is the average size of an Azalea?

Azaleas come in various sizes and there is no one fixed size. But, generally, they grow to between 1 and 12 feet in height. They spread to a distance of 1 to 5 feet. Ultimately, azalea size depends on azalea type and each plant differs from the next.