Azaleas are part of the rhododendron family and thrive in woodland-type environments. The shrubs need acidic soil and grow well in dappled shade. Flower size ranges from 1/2 inch up to 3 inches. Azaleas are widespread worldwide, and up to 10,000 different azalea types have been documented. The best mulch for azaleas depends on whether you need to increase acidity levels in the soil.
Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous and bear striking flowers in a variety of colors, in late spring. Deciduous azaleas are native to America and colors range from white to purple, red or orange. Evergreen azaleas are usually native to Japan. On average, azaleas grow to between 3 and 6 feet in height. It is fairly easy to propagate azaleas from cuttings.
Acid Soil Requirements
Azaleas need fairly acidic soil. Test the acid levels of your garden soil with a home soil-testing kit or a probe meter. You can raise soil acidity by adding garden compost to your soil, if necessary.
Best Azalea Mulches
The best azalea mulches will feed the shrubs, retain moisture levels in soil and add acidity to soil levels. Ideal mulches are rotting oak leaves, pine needles, pine bark or wood chips. Established azalea plants do not need fertilizing but do prefer moist roots.