Both types of azaleas, deciduous and evergreen, bloom on old wood, meaning the flowers appear before the new growth. This means it is very important to wait until after flowering to do any pruning, otherwise you will be removing the next crop of flowers. Pruning should be done selectively, only removing certain branches to improve the shape of the shrub, increase air flow within the interior, or remove disease. Shearing is not recommended.
The most important factor for successful cultivation of azaleas is proper site selection. Azaleas are shallow rooted, so choosing a site with proper soil is critical. Excessive soil moisture will cause root rot, so the soil should be well-drained. Azaleas prefer acidic soils, and will grow well under pine trees. Because of their shallow root systems which can dry out easily, they must be kept watered until they are well-established. They do not grow well under maple, ash, and shallow-rooted oak trees where there is too much competition for water and nutrients. They will not grow well in full sun or intense afternoon sun; morning sun or filtered light throughout the day is best. If they receive too much sunlight, it will stress the plant, and they will be susceptible to infestations of lace bugs. For this reason, do not use azaleas as a foundation plant along the south or west sides of a building.