Azaleas are flowering shrubs that are part of the rhododendron family. With beautiful evergreen leaves and showy spring flowers, azaleas make a lovely addition to your home landscape or container garden. Their demand for acidic, well-draining soil makes azaleas an ideal choice for planting in containers. Most varieties of azaleas can be grown outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. You can also bring your azaleas inside during the winter if you live in a cold climate. Just don't forget to set them back outside in the spring.
Choosing a Container
When choosing a container for your azaleas, select a container made of ceramic, wood, plastic or metal. The container you select should be a bit larger than appears necessary; azaleas like to have plenty of room to spread out their roots. Turn the container over and examine the bottom to see if there are adequate holes for drainage. If the container does not provide adequate drainage holes, you can use a drill to make additional drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
Potting Your Azaleas
Good drainage is essential for growing healthy azaleas; that's why the potting soil mixture you plant your azaleas in is so important. For best results, mix equal parts potting soil, coarse sand, perlite and peat moss to create a planting medium specially tailored to the needs of your azaleas. Add enough planting mixture to the bottom of the container so that, when planted, the crown of your azaleas sits approximately 1/2 inch higher than the surface of the potting soil mixture. Pack down the surface of the soil mixture to secure your azaleas in their container.
Most varieties of azaleas grow best when they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. However, if you want to keep the flowers from fading so quickly, select a location for your azaleas that receives plenty of morning sunlight, but offers partial, or indirect, sunlight in the afternoon. Thirsty flowers, azaleas will quickly drop their leaves if their soil is allowed to dry out. Check the soil moisture of your azaleas every two to three days and water, as necessary, to keep the soil moist to the touch. Azaleas also require regular fertilisation to produce healthy growth. Fertilise your azaleas in the spring, while they're blooming, and once per month until August. For best results, use a fertiliser that is specially formulated for acid-loving flowers like azaleas and rhododendrons.