How to Split Azalea Bushes

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More than 10,000 different azalea plants have been registered, according to the Azalea Society of North America. Generally easy to care for, the flowering plant is available is a wide selection of colors, including white and various shades of red. Yellow is the only color not available for native North America plants. Azaleas are propagated by various means, including seed, stem cutting and splitting. The best time to split azalea roots is in the fall after the bush has bloomed.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  1. Inspect the azalea plant to determine if it has two central stems. Plants with only one central stem cannot be split.

  2. Dig up the Azalea bush by starting 1 foot away from the trunk and working in a circle around the plant approximately 1 foot deep. Azalea bushes do not have a deep root system, so 1 foot is generally deep enough to dig.

  3. Lay the bush on its side and use the shovel blade to split the root ball between the two central stems.

  4. Dig holes twice as wide and deep as the root balls of the split azaleas.

  5. Place 1 to 2 inches of compost into each hole. Center the azalea bush in the hole and cover with removed soil.

  6. Tamp the soil down around the newly planted azaleas and water each bush with 3 to 5 gallons of water to remove air pockets around the roots.

  7. Spread mulch up to 2 inches deep around the plants.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prune azalea bushes in the early spring before they begin to put on new growth.

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