Both crepe myrtles and azaleas will impress with their beautiful flowers, blooming abundantly.
With long-lasting displays on both plants, you’ll have azaleas blooming in the spring and crepe myrtles following shortly after in the summer. The question is whether or not you can plant them together in the same space.
You can plant azaleas under crape myrtles as long as they are a smaller variety and are provided with bountiful space. Be sure to take all considerations, like nutrients, water, and sun exposure for both species, into your planting plan since they will compete for these necessities.
To learn how to utilize the space under your crepe myrtle trees by planting azaleas, continue reading!
Whether you have questions about their growing conditions, the benefits of growing azaleas under the tree, or considerations that are important to think about, this article has everything you need!
To find the best matches for your Crepe Myrtle, check out my article on Crepe Myrtle companion plants.
Azaleas Under Crepe Myrtles – What To Know
When planting any type of garden, it’s important to plan ahead and be familiar with the plants you will be growing.
The Appeal of Azaleas
Azaleas are a type of perennial shrub that belongs to the Rhododendron family.
They bloom bountifully with pink, purple, red, white, and yellow flowers and have a bloom period that lasts about 3 to 4 weeks, adding color during the spring and summer seasons.
They’re considered one of the most loved landscape shrubs, and I think it’s easy to see why!
Crepe Myrtle Growing Conditions
Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) can be grown as a tree or shrub and are a part of the Lythraceae family. They have an extremely long bloom period from early summer through the fall.
Holding their flowers for months, they bring amazing color to the garden, and compared to most other flowing plants, they are quite tolerant of drought.
Requiring minimal space since they don’t grow extremely large, crepe myrtles prefer full sun. If provided 1-2 inches of water per week, they’ll thrive, but once mature, they are a hardy and tolerant species.
Fertilizing them in the spring can help to promote bountiful blooms and strong growth.
Azalea Growing Conditions
Preferring full sun or part shade, azaleas need to receive 4 hours of direct light per day to thrive. This makes them great for understory planting.
Acidic soil is necessary for bountiful blooms and a healthy plant, so be sure to fertilize with appropriate nutrients (this fertilizer is perfect), or get a soil pH test to find out how acidic your soil is and if azaleas can grow there.
Benefits of Planting Azaleas Under Crepe Myrtles
Utilizing the area under a tree can make all the difference in your garden’s appearance. Since azaleas prefer partial shade, they make ideal candidates for the planting area.
It is also nice because both crepe myrtles and azaleas will provide color during the spring and summer and carry on into the fall!
While planting in the space under your crepe myrtle, there are some considerations to remember. See the notes below to ensure you keep both plants thriving and happy.
- Crepe myrtles have shallow roots, and planting near the tree will disturb these roots, possibly leading to decline. They will also grow into the azalea’s roots to compete for nutrients. It is essential to fertilize both species to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need.
- If allowed to grow without pruning, azaleas can grow large and begin to overtake the area under the tree. Pruning them back seasonally or planting dwarf varieties will help avoid this issue.
- Add supplemental watering so the two plants don’t need to compete for water.
- Never plant within 2 feet of the trunk of the tree. This area is incredibly important to the tree’s health, and it should be reserved for the crepe myrtle only.
- Plant azaleas where they will still receive sunlight. Sometimes no sunlight will penetrate the canopy, and the azaleas will decline or die. Thining the crepe myrtle’s canopy can help to allow light in.
Best Azalea Varieties
All azaleas bloom beautifully, and many have the same growing considerations, but here are a few of the best dwarf varieties to plant under a crepe myrtle tree.
- Autumn Majesty – An evergreen variety with bright purple/magenta flowers
- Bollywood – A semi-evergreen variety with bright solid pink flowers
- Coastal – A deciduous variety with light pink and white flowers
- Delaware Valley White– A evergreen variety with white flowers
Companion Planting Ideas
While azaleas make a great choice, there are plenty of other plants that you can plant along with them under your crepe myrtle.
Look for varieties that prefer the same water, soil pH, and other considerations to make the plants thrive with one another.
Also making sure that they won’t shade one another or out-compete one another is a large consideration. Check out this list of plants for varieties that make ideal companion plantings.
- Blueberries – They’re in the same family as azaleas but also produce fruit!
- Hydrangeas – They prefer acid soil as azaleas do, so caring for them is a breeze.
- Barberry – They are easy to care for and get along with most other landscape plants.
- Holly – Most are evergreen, so they pair well with deciduous azalea varieties to keep green in your garden all year.
- Spotted Dead Nettle – Growing lower than most azaleas, they will fill in the empty spaces nearby.
- Plantain Lilly – They require the same growing conditions and add a pop of red to your garden!
- Hosta – Low-growing and easy to care for, hostas pair well with both azaleas and crepe myrtles.
Do Azaleas Shed Their Leaves?
There are both evergreen and deciduous varieties of azaleas. The evergreen varieties will not lose their leaves; however, the deciduous varieties will.
Do Azaleas Have Deep Roots?
Azaleas do not have deep roots. Most roots will be found in the first ½ to 1 inch of the soil. This makes them easily affected by drought since they can’t access water held deep in the ground.
Azaleas are beloved, and so are crape myrtles, both for their flowers! Plant them together, and you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood for the long-lasting colors throughout the year.
Use the ideas provided here, but always feel free to experiment on your own. Do some research, or try something yourself — it’s all part of the fun when gardening!
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