How to Grow and Care for Azara

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Azara is a genus of shrubs with ten recognized species. Native to South America, this plant commonly grows in woodland and lakeside locations. 

This perennial is an evergreen shrub and some species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

The saw tooth azara produces brilliant golden clusters of flowers in late spring, followed by impressive white berries if summers are hot.

The box-leaf azara can be grown as either a large shrub or a small tree. Although its flowers are small, they are deep yellow and vanilla-scented.  

Plant Facts

Scientific nameAzara serrata
Azara microphylla
Azara integrifolia
Azara lanceolata
Common namesSaw-toothed azara
Box-leaf azara
Lance-leaf azara
Height2 – 5 m
Width2 – 5 m
USDA Plant Hardiness ZoneUSDA zones 8 to 10
Native toSouth America
Blooming seasonMay to June
Flower colorsGolden yellow
Plant specific featuresclusters of white berries in hot summers

How to Plant and Grow an Azara Bush

Where to Plant

The saw-toothed Azara is an evergreen plant. It is only able to survive occasional low temperatures of -10C, so it is a good idea to plant it against a warm, south-facing wall where it will be sheltered from the cold.

Other species of azara are more tolerant of the cold, so choose your species with care dependent upon your climate.

When to Plant

Azara shrubs should be planted in the spring or fall; the Spring is ideal, as the plant can establish before the heat of the summer. 

Azara Shrub Care and Maintenance


The soil needs to be both well-drained and moist. An Azara will grow in almost any soil type, from acidic and boggy to light and chalky.  


When planted, keep the shrub well-watered until it establishes a strong root system.


Fertilizer is not really needed, but the azara does like a humus-rich soil in which to grow. An annual application of thick organic mulch will be beneficial.


A.serrata will do well in either full or partial sunlight. All Azaras benefit from at least a partially sunny location.

Pruning and Repotting

Because the azara is a shrub that blooms (and fruits) on old wood, it is essential that if you need to prune, you do so immediately after the flowers have finished. This will avoid losing flowers the following year.


All azaras can be propagated by taking semi-ripe cuttings in summer. They are easy to propagate successfully from the current season’s growth. Sometimes known as semi-hardwood cuttings, the base of the cutting should be hard and woody but the tip should be soft.

Pests and diseases

The azara is a shrub that is generally free from pests and diseases.

Temperature and Humidity

The saw-toothed Azara is frost-hardy. However, new growth can be damaged by late frosts in the spring.

Other Uses for Azara

Azara serrata will attract butterflies, bees, and other insects to the garden. Birds will also be attracted by the nectar-rich flowers of this shrub. It is a safe plant to include in a mixed border since it has no known toxic effects on humans, domestic animals, or livestock.

Types of You Can Grow

The types of azara which you can grow depend on whether you have a temperate or colder climate. Some species are not very hardy but can often survive winters if they are grown against a south-facing wall. 

A.lanceolata is an azara that is not very hardy. If not pruned, it will grow to around 5 m (16 feet) so it needs a high wall against which to grow!

There is a variegated form of the A.microphylla (box-leaf azara) available to give additional garden interest. 

This species, in both its variegated and non-variegated form, has yellow flowers with a strong vanilla scent. It will grow to around 3 m (12 feet) tall.

Another species, which is available either in a variegated or non-variegated form, is A.integrifolia. This shrub has an early flowering period and large leaves. It will not grow more than about 2.5 m (8 feet) in height. 

The saw-toothed azara is a large shrub and has lovely glossy, serrated leaves coupled with yellow, fragrant Spring flowers. This evergreen plant can grow to 5 m (16 feet).


The Azara genus contains species of unusual evergreen shrubs that have brilliant yellow and often fragrant flowers in the spring.

They are not grown commonly in gardens. This is partly due to their lack of hardiness. It is a shame that they are not more widely included in garden plantings because they provide a bright, colorful display early in the year and keep their leaves during the winter.  

*image by PantherMediaSeller/depositphotos

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