How to Plant Container Azaleas and Other Shrubs

The best time to plant azaleas is in the late spring or early fall.
Follow these tips when planting container-grown azalea bushes in your yard:

  1. Dig a hole three times as wide and as deep as the container.
  2. Dig the hole a bit deeper, except in the center where the plant will sit.
  3. Remove the plant from the pot.
  4. Position the plant in the hole with the best side facing out.
  5. Add 1 to 2 shovels of soil conditioner to the dirt.
  6. Fill the hole back in with dirt.
  7. Apply mulch around the plant.
  8. Water the plant regularly until established.

Watch this video to learn more.

Further Information

Julie Day Jones: This azalea likes to be about one inch above the soil line when you plant it.

Danny Lipford: Hmm.

Julie Day Jones: So to keep it from sinking, we just dug down to right here, left that nice and compacted, so the plant can sit on that little mound. But then we loosened up the dirt around it deeper, so the roots have a place to go, instead of digging out the middle.

Danny Lipford: Is there a general rule of thumb on how much larger that hole should be than the actual plant?

Julie Day Jones: I say three times as wide and at least as deep.

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Julie Day Jones: And if you take the time to make this little mound, then, later, you don’t have to worry about when you water it the thing sinking and being too low. It keeps it up at the right height.

Danny Lipford: Here, I can help you finish it up. What’s next?

Julie Day Jones: That sounds good. Well, let’s put this plant in the ground. We’ve got the nice hole ready for it. We’re just going to gently pull it out of the pot. It’s got good roots. Doesn’t look like it’s root-bound.

Danny Lipford: And I guess when you position something you need to be conscious of if it’s full in one direction or the other in terms of how it will be viewed.

Julie Day Jones: You do. You want it to look good when you plant it.

Danny Lipford: See, I’m catching on to this.

Julie Day Jones: Let’s turn this a little bit. This side is nice and full. We’ll have it facing out.

Danny Lipford: And that’s deep enough, huh?

Julie Day Jones: Yeah. Plenty deep. I’ve got some soil conditioner here that’s going to just improve the soil some around it.

Danny Lipford: So you what, just kind of sprinkle that along with it?

Julie Day Jones: Yeah, not too much. We want this plant to grow out into the roots out into the yard.

Danny Lipford: I get you.

Julie Day Jones: So we don’t need to put too much right here around it. But just a little bit, since it’s fall and winter’s coming. And, really, with this stuff just about a shovel full or two per plant is all you need.

Danny Lipford: Oh, really? I get you.

Julie Day Jones: It just helps keep it from getting too compacted.

Danny Lipford: I think even I can finish this simple little task because I know you have something you’re going to help Storey with.

Julie Day Jones: Okay.


  1. I’m considering an azalea as a foundation planting in the front of our house. When it grows too big we will need to keep it cut back. Will it survive these trimmings ?

  2. Where should the plant be planted in/out sunlight ? I’ve been wanting this plant for years, now I’m retired my front land acre lots of sun very full of Sunlight, I really need to know What kind of plant I can get less maintenance but beautiful flower shrubs?? Please help me something that color on my land that will bring out the Green plain land, Sincerely Hopeless

  3. Hello all!
    I’m in South Florida (Tampa) and we want to plant some shrubs in the backyard.
    While digging a hole 2-3 times the container size, I ran into clay in the bottom of the hole. I don’t want to drown the plants/roots with no natural drainage. I’m looking for a solution. Should I dig the hole deeper and fill the bottom partially with small stones?
    Suggestions, please!
    Many thanks!
    Michael Brown


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