How Do You Prune Azaleas?

prune-azaleas Credit: DKAR Images/Getty Images

Prune azalea plants in mid-summer by trimming off thin branches and damaged growth at the point where the stems join the main trunk or other branches. Follow a severe pruning with lighter shoot trimming after new growth appears.

  1. Choose when to prune

    Azalea bushes set next year's blooms during the current season, so late-season pruning can hinder new buds. Prune the plants shortly after they stop blooming, preferably by the middle of June.

  2. Prune leggy and damaged branches

    Azalea plants with too many thin, leggy branches do not receive adequate sunlight. Locate branches that extend past the canopy, follow them back to where they join the main trunk or a larger branch, and prune at this point. Repeat the process for any branches that are damaged or diseased. In late summer, check again for dead branches, and trim those back until you reach white, uninfected wood.

  3. Prune overgrowth

    Overgrown azalea plants that are too large for their current space need severe pruning. Cut the overgrown plant's branches to 6 to 12 inches above the ground.

  4. Prune the tips

    After a severe pruning, trim off the tips of the shoots once they are 6 to 12 inches long. This produces additional branching and more blooms.