Can azaleas tolerate frost?

Asked By: Rea Bokholt | Last Updated: 5th May, 2020
Category: home and garden landscaping
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Although azaleas are hardy plants, able to withstand freezing temperatures, measures still should be taken to protect them from frost. The plants need help adjusting to cold temperatures as autumn turns to winter. An unexpected frost late in spring, after blooms form, also can hurt azalea bushes.

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Similarly one may ask, how cold can azaleas take?

Certain rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas can survive temperatures as low as -35°F (-37°C). It is normal for some rhododendrons to exhibit leaf droop and curl at around 32°F (0°C).; the lower the temperature the tighter the curl.

Also, what plants need to be covered during a freeze? Frost protection is especially important for tender plants such as geraniums, begonias, impatiens, peppers, and tomatoes. In the spring, use row covers if you have tender vegetable seedlings and transplants in the spring. Row covers or garden fleece can also be used to help create a warmer environment beneath them.

Hereof, do I need to cover azaleas Frost?

Many shrubs will withstand freezing temperatures, and unless temperatures are expected to drop into the low 20s or teens, few cover these shrubs. Some gardeners cover azaleas, especially when in bloom, during a hard freeze. The plants will survive covered or not, but frost will ruin any flowers.

Do rhododendrons need to be covered in winter?

Rhododendron, if the proper cultivar for our area and planted correctly, should not need to be covered for winter protection. However, rhododendrons and azaleas should be planted in a somewhat protected area so they are not subjected to the brutal north wind and harsh winter sun.

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Do rhododendrons need frost protection?

Preventing Rhododendron Cold Damage
Rhododendrons attempt to protect themselves from winter dehydration by curling their leaves, allowing them to hang down. Four inches of an organic mulch, like wood chips or pine needles, is often adequate protection from the cold.

How do I bring my azaleas back to life?

Drench the soil around the azalea with cool, salt-free water to wash out accumulated salts and excess fertilizer that is trapped below the root system. If the azalea is a container plant, fill the pot to the surface and allow to drain freely. Repeat this several times in one day.

What do you do with rhododendrons in the winter?

These plants should be mulched at the base with 3-4″ of compost, bark or straw. Add winter protection for this plant in late November and remove it in mid April. Watering in late fall is very important for the winter health of any evergreen and should be done to young plants every year in early November.

Where is the best place to plant azaleas?

Plant them in dense shade and they won't bloom. A good location is where they receive either dappled sun all day or sun in the morning and light shade in the afternoon. Good places might include spots under trees, or along the north side of your house.

What do rhododendrons need to survive?


Rhododendrons are acid loving plants. As such they perform best when the soil is acidic (with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0). They need well-draining soil with an abundance of organic matter. Rhododendron and azalea roots also need oxygen for healthy growth.

Why do my azaleas keep dying?

A: Azaleas drop old leaves, but also can drop leaves if the plants are stressed. Fungal diseases can strike azaleas and cause browning leaf margins and other symptoms. Dieback, a fungal disease triggered by stress, causes foliage to wilt and yellow and twigs and branches to die.

How do you winterize hydrangeas?

A good way to start winterizing hydrangeas is to lay down a thick layer of mulch over their root area. Straw works well for this. For even greater protection, cover the shrub with a wire cage, or build a cage around it with strong stakes and chicken wire. Wrap burlap or insulation cloth around the cage.

Should you cover plants in freezing rain?

If you are only expecting a light freeze, you may be able to protect plants in a freeze simply by covering them with a sheet or a blanket. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant. The warmth may be enough to keep a plant from freezing during a short cold snap.

Do Azalea leaves fall off in winter?

Deciduous azaleas drop all of their leaves in the fall. Their leaves then grow back in the spring.In warmer climates or unusually warm winters, deciduous azaleas may retain some of their leaves through the winter. Evergreen azaleas also drop their leaves.

How do you cover a rhododendron for winter?


  1. Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the rhododendron to protect the roots.
  2. Cover the rhododendron plant with an anti-desiccant spray before the first frost arrives.
  3. Install a snow shelter, a small structure that look like a tepee, over the rhododendron to keep snow accumulation off the plant.

Why are my azaleas Brown?

The dieback fungus causes leaves and branches to turn brown and die completely even though other branches may appear healthy. Your azaleas are especially subject to dieback if you haven't watered enough, especially during a heat spell, or if the plant experiences a heavy frost.

What should I feed my azaleas?

A month after planting, begin feeding azaleas with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food. In addition to the main plant nutrients, this fertilizer also includes micronutrients such as iron, manganese, and zinc, which are vital for growing azaleas (and other acidic soil-loving plants).

Should you mulch around azaleas?

The recommended amount of mulch is 2 to 3 inches. In this case, more is not better. Just as standing water will oxygen starve plant roots; a thick stack of mulch may also prevent the roots from breathing. Location is also key when mulching your Encore® Azaleas.

What is the difference between deciduous and evergreen azaleas?

Deciduous azaleas typically have large leaves that may be up to 6 inches long. Evergreen azaleas rarely have leaves that are longer than 2 inches. Evergreen azaleas typically keep most of their foliage year round, but deciduous plants lose all of their leaves in the fall, with new growth forming in the spring.

Do I need to cover my plants tonight?


* Cover plants at night. Covers vary in their insulation characteristics, but they can generally add 3 to 5 degrees to the ambient air temperature, helping to protect plants against freezing temperatures. * Keep plant leaves from coming in direct contact with plastic, as this can cause the leaves to freeze.

Do rhododendron lose leaves in winter?

All Rhododendrons are evergreen which means that they will hold leaves all winter long. Azaleas typically have nice fall as well and many will lose their leaves later in the season.

Do you cut azaleas back?

Prune azaleas soon after they bloom in the spring or early summer. The perfect time is when spent flowers begin to discolor and shrivel. Cutting them back in late summer, fall, or winter will remove flowerbuds and keep them from blooming.