Azalea Plant: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Azalea Plant Description
These shade-loving plants may brighten up the spring landscape in a variety of ways. Heirloom cultivars can reach a height of twelve feet and provide beautiful spring blooms.
The colour palette is stunning, ranging from white to soft pink to a variety of reds and purples. The majority of azaleas bloom in mid-spring, from mid-to-late April, but others bloom earlier or later, and it’s simple to pick a variety to suit your design demands.
The thick leaves of the azalea, like those of their bigger cousins, the Rhododendron ferrugineum, can stay evergreen, but most types produced in the United States are deciduous.
The terms “azalea” and “rhododendron” are frequently interchanged in the horticulture business, and that can be confusing.
The size and form of the blooms are one way to tell them apart at first glance: classic rhododendrons have enormous circular clusters of flowers, whereas azalea blooms are more evenly dispersed throughout the entire bush.
The leaves of rhododendrons are also bigger, fleshier, and deeper green than those of azaleas. There are several varieties, so do some study before purchasing to ensure you acquire the plant that is most suited to your requirements.
Some types, for example, are more cold-tolerant than others. Several azalea-rhododendron hybrids are now available, resulting in exceptionally hardy plants with a wide range of flower colours and a more accessible size.
The flowers are usually white, pink, red, or orange in colour and are seen in Asia, Europe, and North America. The blooming period for these plants is usually early to late spring, and the type of soil they require is acidic, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. They can grow up to 3 to 12 feet.
How To Care Azalea?
The key to success with these long-lived plants is proper planting. To guarantee a healthy start, amend the soil with peat moss and compost, which you can combine with some decent soil. When planting, water well, and then every day for the first week until the plant is established.
How To Grow Azalea?
Azaleas thrive in gloomy areas, but they also appreciate a little sun. A few hours of morning sun is ideal, so the flowers don’t wilt if it gets too hot in the spring. With the exception of rain or wind damage from a storm, most azaleas bloom for around two weeks.
Azaleas prefer acidic soil, which is why peat moss is commonly used as a planting medium for planted nursery plants. Azaleas thrive best with an organic mulch such as pine bark mulch, and the soil should have good drainage and fertility with lots of organic materials such as compost, minced leaves, and so on.
Azaleas require water to blossom, which is frequently provided by spring rainfall. If the spring is particularly dry, though, additional watering may be useful.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
The hardiness of azaleas spans from 3 to 9, with the majority of plants having a narrower range on one end or the other. With such limited ranges, it’s critical to pick your plant and planting location wisely.
If it’s too cold, buds won’t form; if it’s too hot, blooms will burn the faces of people who are exposed. Azaleas can suffer from mildew, so make sure they have enough air and don’t put them too close to other big shrubs.
Best Way To Garden Azalea Plant
Azaleas look lovely at the rear of a border or behind trees. They can also be used as specimen plants in a convenient position near an entryway or patio.
Because the flowers are so eye-catching, you want your azaleas to bloom when your yard is in desperate need of some spring colour.
Maybe when your early-blooming daffodils have faded and the peonies have bloomed? Tulip plants might also be coordinated for beautiful colour mixes.
Consider pairing orange tulips with pink azaleas, such as the April-blooming “Orange Emperor,” or purple tulips with white or red azaleas, such as “Passionale” or “Negrita.”
It’s best to have many azalea varieties blooming at the same time in the spring. Some reblooming cultivars will provide flowers from early spring through late summer.
Azalea Plant Varieties
It’s impossible to go through a garden catalogue without coming across a new azalea variety. Here are a few tried-and-proven options, as well as several newer hybrids.
“Rosy Lights” is a small (4′ to 6′) deciduous cold hardy (USDA 3 to 7) shrub with a lively flower in a rosy red colour with coral and pink tints that blooms in late spring. This is one of the azalea-rhododendron hybrids known as “Northern Lights.” The blooms are borne in “trusses,” which are not as spherical as rhododendrons but not as dispersed as azaleas.
“Windbeam” is a popular cultivar that has smaller leaves and a neat habit (3′ to 4′), with brilliant pale pink blooms and olive green foliage that becomes bronze in the autumn. It may require protection from brutal winter winds, although it is more sun and heat resistant than some other azaleas. The spring show is magnificent, starting off white and gradually becoming pink with small red freckles on the dorsal lobes.
“Golden Lights”: This “Northern Lights” cultivar’s vivid golden-orange blossoms add a splash of colour to the spring landscape. The flower trusses are flatter and hold ten blooms in hues varying from butter yellow to orange with salmon pink accents, and they are cold hardy (USDA 3 to 7) and compact (3′ to 6′).
“Fragrant Star” has a rich, spicy aroma to the pure white blooms on this tiny (3′ to 4′) mid-spring blooming. The leaves are a lovely blue green colour. It is heat resistant but not as cold hardy as other species (USDA 5 to 9), but it may endure temperatures as low as -20F if protected from strong winds.
“Gibraltar” is a famous azalea with frilly, mildly scented, bright orange blooms emerging from red buds. It grows to a medium height (4′ to 5′) and is cold resistant (USDA 5 to 8). This cultivar is also resistant to mildew.
Mild pruning is beneficial to azaleas. Because they begin to generate buds in the summer, the optimum time to prune is after the blooms have faded in late April.
Azaleas can also benefit from fertiliser. A simple 15-15-15 fertiliser comprising equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium is your best choice if you don’t know the nutrients in your soil.
However, there are azalea-specific solutions available, such as Espoma’s “Azalea-Tone.” Fertilize a little later than the last week of March in late winter or early spring.