How to Prune Overgrown Azaleas

Azaleas are garden shrubs that bloom in a wide variety of colours including purple, pink, white and red. Depending on the variety of azalea bush, it will bloom in the spring or fall. Azaleas can grow from 12 inches to 10 feet in height. Pruning azaleas at the wrong time can leave the shrub vulnerable to disease and reduce the number of blooms it produces. Azaleas that are overgrown should be pruned in mid-March, 3 to 4 weeks before the shrub flowers. Pruning your overgrown azalea will allow the shrub to become fuller and produce more blooms for years to come.

Remove dead or diseased branches on the outside of the overgrown azalea with a pair of sharp hand pruners. Cut dead branches where the dead branch meets another branch of the azalea.

Use the loppers to cut off dead or diseased branches that extend to the stem of the overgrown azalea bush. Trim azalea branches 6 inches into the healthy part of the branch.

Clean your hand shears and pruning loppers by sterilising them with alcohol or 1 1/2 cups of bleach with 2 gallons of water. Sterilising your pruning tools will prevent the spread of disease to other bushes and trees.

Cut back severely overgrown azaleas to 6 to 12 inches in height from the ground. Leave the healthiest branches to encourage new growth when your azalea bush blooms again.


Hand shears and loppers should be very sharp when pruning an overgrown azalea. Dull shears and loppers will crush and tear the branches and damage the azalea. Hand shears are good for pruning branches smaller than 1/2 inch thick. Loppers are good for pruning branches 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Loppers are typically used to prune the inner branches and the top of an overgrown azalea.


Always disinfect your pruning shears and loppers before cutting a healthy branch or before using them on another tree or bush. Disinfecting your tools will prevent the spread of disease to other trees and bushes in your yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand shears
  • Pruning loppers or saw
  • Rubbing alcohol or bleach
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About the Author

Marie Louise is passionate about her writing, bringing personal knowledge and experience on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, chronic pain conditions, parenting, research, alternative medicine and animals. Her work appears on several different websites.