Return to the California Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

Posted by frank_o z9 Sunset21 CA (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 5, 11 at 13:58

Hi, we've let our garden go for a few years, but lately I've been getting interested in working on it.

We have some azaleas and Chinese bells outside our front door that are blooming, but appear leggy and fairly weak. Is this an okay time of year to prune and/or feed them?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

Usually it is better to wait until after bloom, but I don't think you would do any damage if done now. Mine were also out of hand and I cut them back about two months ago. Al

RE: Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

Thanks. I have to be honest and say I haven't watched them that closely to see when they start and stop blooming in our climate. Can I expect to see them stop sometime toward the latter part of spring, even June?

Also, are there times of year when they benefit most from feeding?

RE: Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

I only compost my garden with my own compost made entirely from my own garden waste, usually spring and fall as part of the garden cleanup. Our soil is about 6 and a half PH naturally all my ornamentals are happy with it. Al

RE: Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

I like to remove the full branches that are out of scale after blooming or else cut back generally here and there after the flowers fall. I don't really like the hard clipped shapes myself. If you can visit Nuccio's above Pasadena sometime, they are the masters of all things azalea and camellia. They got me to feed my azaleas cottonseed meal and it has made a great difference in the plants. Mulch works wonders too. Anything acidic like oak leaf or pine straw that holds the moisture in the soil they like. If you use a prepared azalea food, use it half stregnth and be sure to watch for iron deficiency. I saw a grower using a weak solution of fish emulsion on azaleas just before blooms opened. Mine get mostly compost, cottonseed meal and one feeding of commercial azalea food just after flowering.

RE: Pruning azaleas and Chinese bells

July is getting late to prune most azaleas. They don't need fertilizer unless your soil test shows a deficiency, mulch is fine as above. As you have given no details on the Abutilon, no advice can be given. As always, prune properly and no hedge shears.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the California Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here