Q: Is there a best or worst time to prune azaleas? I’ve already cut them back twice since early summer and they’re still going strong.
A: The major pruning of azaleas is best done shortly after the flowers begin to fade in late spring. Major pruning after June will interfere with flowering the following spring. Azaleas produce their flower buds during late summer and fall, which open the following spring. You can find the flower buds now tucked away in the leaves at the tip end of the shoots.
Removal of a few unusually long branches to improve the plant’s appearance is okay now. But shearing or severely pruning azaleas after now will significantly reduce next spring’s flower production.