Azaleas Indoors and Outdoors – How Often and Much To Water Them

Last Updated on November 16, 2022 by Stephanie

Azalea plants are grown across the globe, so the amount of water required for them is dependent on the climate you live in as well as the soil condition. It is therefore difficult to determine the precise amount of water to your azaleas in order to keep them healthy.

Azaleas have shallow roots therefore the aim is keeping the soil wet to the same time, but not completely saturated. This can be achieved through proper soil preparation and the application in organic mulch.

A generous amount of watering encourages the roots to grow and may improve the resistance of azaleas to drought.

This table provides an overview of the best way to water azaleas in the various conditions.

Read on for more information and the best ways to water Azaleas in accordance with your circumstances and the reasons why it is essential to water your azaleas using rainwater instead of the tap…

Watering Outdoor Azaleas

How much water you should drink and how often you can water your azaleas is contingent on:

  • How well is the soil ready prior to hand?
  • The use of a organic mulch that retains water like leaf mould
  • How fast does the soil drain?
  • The climate and the conditions
  • How much shade or sun the azalea gets per day?


Azaleas require an equilibrium of constant water in the soil to ensure that the plant is hydrated, but the soil is not able to be completely too saturated, as this can trigger the fungal disease known as root decay ( Phytophthora) .

The art of watering azaleas effectively is about making sure that the soil is moist during the growing season, and then altering the conditions to encourage the retention of moisture in conjunction (such as mulching) and additional watering to ensure the proper balance.

It is essential that you prepare your soil prior to planting by using water-retaining materials like leaf mould. (Read my blog post on the best way to make the soil for Azaleas).

Leaf mould is able to absorb water, so that roots draw on the moisture when they require, however it also has an underlying structure that allows excess water to evaporate to ensure that the roots dont get over-watered.

In addition, the mulch (composed from leaf mould, or even compost) can help save water as well as keep the roots cool during summer.

The soil that is prepared prior to planting, and regular mulching can reduce the amount of water your azaleas until you will only have to water during periods of drought.

In slow or quick draining soils, you must adjust the timing of watering according to the amount of moisture in the soil.

Fast draining soils naturally require lots of water. The azaleas should be watered twice a week during the season of growth if the soil has sandy. Be sure to apply mulch to increase the soils capacity to keep an equilibrium of water and improve the soils structure.

Slow draining soils are will require less watering and be more susceptible to root rot. When the soil appears regularly overly saturated or boggy instead of just damp, it is essential to take the azalea out and place it in a place with better drainage, or maybe an elevated bed or pot to help it get out of the soil that is saturated.

In dry climates or when azaleas are that are planted in full sun, it is essential to be vigilant in your schedule of watering. I suggest that you water your plants at minimum twice a week, using at minimum 4 litres or a gallon of water, and regularly examine the soil around your plants for water.

The generous amount of water you give them helps stimulate roots to grow The azaleas have shallow roots by nature. However, when the plant doesnt get enough water, its roots will grow closer to the surface and can access rainwater, making the azalea more vulnerable to drought.

Potential Problems- Tree Roots Stealing Moisture

Azaleas of all kinds prefer some shade, rather than the full sun. This is among reasons behind the popularity of azaleas as well as Rhododendrons since they thrive and bloom spectacularly in shaded or under tree zones of the garden.

However, tree roots, especially ones with weak roots like pines beech spruce, etc. could be problematic since trees are able to draw up water. This puts them directly in competition with your Azalea, which has an extremely shallow root system.

The best way to do this is to provide your azalea with a advantage in the market by watering it every once or twice a week (or more often if you require, to allow the soil to remain damp) and then apply mulch to reduce evaporation and enhance the soils structure, so that the water can penetrate into the root system of the Azalea.

Pots to water Azaleas

Azaleas are very adaptable in pots, but they require more maintenance in terms of the amount of time they are watered.

Pots are naturally better draining than most garden boarders Therefore, the need for watering is increased.

In the majority of cases when the soil is properly prepared and is made up of organic matter, then Azaleas that are in containers or pots in partial shade will only require watering every once or twice every week.

In times of high temperatures and not much rainfall, it is recommended that the amount of irrigation could be increased to maybe once every two days.

If youve used the right potting mix for azaleas, this will allow you to keep the soils moisture during times of drought and high temperatures. For the complete guide, check out my post on the best soil mix to use for azaleas that are potted.

Watering a Newly Planted Azalea

Azaleas that are newly planted require frequent watering because their roots need time to adapt and get accustomed with the soil.

This is why the planting of fall flowers is usually suggested because evaporation tends be less at this time of year , and the soil remains warm from the summer, but Azaleas can be planted any time of the year, except for Winter.

Newly planted or transplanted Azaleas at least two times every week, with approximately 4 one litre or a gallon of water. It is essential that the soil is kept humid and well-watered for about a month while the plant adapts to its new soil.

Dont over-water by soaking the plant each day, as this can result in the development of root rot.

Apply a mulch made of organic matter that is rich after planting to ensure the proper balance of moisture that an azalea plant newly planted needs as it attempts to establish itself.

Watering Azaleas Indoors

The frequency of watering will be based on several variables, including:

  • If the climate you live in is dry, warm or desert
  • The pots size (due to the quantity of soil it will hold)
  • The soil for potting (whether it holds moisture or drains too fast)

If an azalea grows outside or indoors, the aim when watering is keeping the soil moist, without getting boggy.

In dry climates, it is possible that youll have to water your azalea twice or three times every week. In humid climates, the azalea might require watering only once a week.

In the indoors, you must also consider the effects of heating and air conditioning which can affect how often you have to water your Azalea.

Air conditioning can be extremely dry, and it can be extremely hot during certain seasons. Therefore, make sure to keep your plants directly within the firing line of dry areas. However, if it is necessary, be sure to be sure to check soil moisture frequently and make sure to water it regularly before the soil begins to dry out.

A smaller pot that you use for your azalea, the less soil itll hold that means theres only a small amount of water within the soil. In addition, small pots tend to dry out faster in hot weather, so opt to get a bigger pot, but keep in mind that you can change to a larger pot when the azalea gets bigger.

The most crucial element is the soil used for potting. The compost and leaf mould are an excellent combination since they naturally retain moisture, which is especially beneficial for homes that live in dry climates. For more information you can read my article about the best potting mix for Azaleas.

Beware of this error!

One of the most common mistakes made by household plants of all types is to water the plant using an under-water drip tray or in the pot (which must have a drainage hole at the base) could be put in larger decorative pot that doesnt allow drainage.

This eventually results in the soil becoming saturated and creates conditions that encourage root rot, which could cause the plant to die.

Make sure that the water drains from the bottom in the container. The most effective method to do that is move your plant into maybe the garden or even the sink for a half-hour to ensure that any excess water is drained away.

How do you determine whether your Azalea requires watering

Azaleas are naturally thin and fibrous root system, so when they experience dry or drought-like weather, they often stressed before other plants.

The most obvious indication that stress has occurred is change in appearance and the leaf curving slightly.

In this situation, it is vital to apply water as fast as you can to bring back the plant. If the appearance of wilting is dealt with quickly, then there shouldnt be any permanent damage to the plant.

If the plant suffers dry conditions in the spring, it could impede the new development of the Azalea to some degree during the summer and may hinder the flowering process.

It is recommended to check the soil regularly to prevent the azalea from suffering from drought. The most effective method to test this is to just put your finger in the soil around the flowering azalea. If it is moist, but not saturated, this is the ideal balance that azaleas need.

If you notice the soil becoming dry to the point of a finger it is a sign that the azalea requires watering. 4 one litre or a gallon of water.

The soil must be aerated and soft to allow you to easily test it using your fingers instead of a hard baked soil. To attain the soils structure, you have to prepare the soil prior to planting and, most importantly, keep adding composted mulch at least once a year during the spring.

Adding Mulch to Conserve Water

The addition of mulch around your azaleas plant is essential step to ensure that your plant is getting sufficient water.

The ideal time to apply mulch is in spring because it will increase the nutrients in the soil and help retain moisture prior to the hottest season in the season.

Spread a 1 inch thick layer of soil, around the root of the azalea, on the top of the soil, but leave an area of about a few inches in between the mulches and the azaleas wood because the wood above ground is not a fan of being near water.

In areas that receive significant rainfall the mulch can help conserve the water your azalea requires without any additional irrigation.

The most effective mulch material is organic matter, such as:

  • Leaf mold
  • Compost
  • Manure that has been well rotted

Each of these three materials have the ability to retain moisture, but also maintain the structure to allow excess water to be able to drain away. In addition, they can soften the surface of the soil, that will allow rainwater and other waterways to penetrate the soil more efficiently, instead of escaping the surface.

Leaf mould made of beech and oak leaves is particularly beneficial as they retain a lot of moisture and are acidic, so they help maintain the azaleas preferential pH that is acidic, which is 4 to 6.

In addition to preserving moisture and enhancing soil structure, mulch can benefit your azalea in lots of ways, including:

  • Reduces the rate of soil evaporation
  • To stop the growth of weeds
  • Include nutrients in the soil
  • Improves the infiltration of water
  • Enhances soil ecology

Rain Water Water that is Water from the Rain Not tap Water

Azaleas favor soil that is acidic to grow in. It should have pH between 4-6. (7 is neutral, and higher than 7 is considered to be alkaline). Azaleas cannot thrive in alkaline soils since they will not absorb certain nutrients when the soil isnt acidic.

Tap water is usually pH neutral, and may also be considered alkaline in some areas. The watering of azaleas, rhododendrons camellias, and rhododendrons with tap water could in time alter the pH of the soil, causing it to be more neutral than acidic.

This could lead to issues like yellow leaves that could indicate an iron deficiency, and can slow the growth of the plant. (Read my article about the best solution for Azaleas that have green leaf).

The best solution is to water your azaleas using rainwater as it tends to be more acidic, with an acidity that is 5.6 which puts it within the optimal range for azaleas preferred soil pH.

Rainwater can help maintain the health of your azalea and will ensure that the roots are able to access the nutrients they require.

The most efficient method to collect rainwater is to use an water butt attached to the draining on your roof of your house or garage. This is the simplest and most efficient method to capture rainwater and ensure you have plenty of water to water your plants.

Key Takeaways:

  • How often and how much your azaleas need watering is contingent on a variety of circumstances. The goal should be to keep the soil moist but not completely saturated. you must alter your frequency of watering to achieve this balance.
  • The soil should be prepared prior to planting azaleas using organic matter that holds the moisture, but allows excess water to go away from the roots is vital to ensure the health of the plant.
  • Outdoor azaleas that are well-groomed soil, with some shade, with a spring application of mulch might require watering only in periods of drought, whereas the azaleas that are in soil that drains quickly with plenty of sunlight require regular watering during the summer.
  • Azaleas that are potted, regardless of whether they are outdoor or indoors, are more likely to require attention since pots tend to drain faster than the soil in the garden. A weekly watering schedule of twice a week during the summer will ensure that the plant is healthy.
  • Azaleas which have been transplanted or planted require a lot of irrigation for the first month , as well as an mulching application to hold in the water. Azaleas are the most susceptible to drought-related effects shortly after planting, so be sure to it is recommended to water the azalea on a regular basis every day during the first month, until the roots are established.
  • Apply mulch around the azaleas at the beginning of spring to help retain the soils moisture and improve its structure.
  • Always drink rainwater whenever possible since rain water is often slightly acidic, whereas tap water is acidic or neutral. Azaleas require an acidic soil pH in order for them to absorb nutrients.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)