Azaleas are flowering shrubs with blooms of white, shades of pink and purple, and even red. The plants are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to complement any garden.
Evergreen azaleas have small leaves, usually 2 to 3 inches long, and they remain on the plant all year. Deciduous azaleas have larger leaves that are shed in the winter. Both varieties can have single or double blooms, with flat, wavy or ruffled petals.
Azaleas prefer acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6. They grow best in shade or partial shade, such as under large trees. Azaleas grow in Zones 6 to 8, and can withstand temperatures as low as --12.2 degrees C.
According to the Azalea Society of America, azaleas should be fertilised in late winter or early spring. Prune plants soon after flowering, but no later then July 1 to avoid removing next year's buds. To control petal blight, use a fungicidal spray in spring as soon as buds show colour.
Azaleas can be used as border plants, in mass plantings, in woodland gardens and as specimen plants.
When choosing an azalea, read the plant label for information on the type of plant it is, as well as its size and colour. For more information read American Azaleas by L. Clarence Towe or visit one of the Resource websites below.