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Discover the Power of Azaleas

These old-time shrubs pack a punch in spring. Find out how to use them in the landscape, in pots, or in arrangements. Then meet 10 great varieties for your yard.

azalea by steps

Long a favorite in Southern gardens, azaleas are popular in other parts of the country as well. Many varieties are hardy in Zones 5-9, requiring little more than good drainage, ample moisture, and partial shade. Preferring slightly acidic soil, azaleas are easy to grow. An array of colors — white, pink, red, purple, yellow, and orange — ensures a dazzling show.

azaleas by house

Foundation Plants

Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) steal your heart in more ways than one. Group them as colorful and well-behaved foundation plants. They do particularly well on the east side of a house, where they receive afternoon shade.

hedge of azaleas by house

Massed for Effect

When grouped into a hedge, blooming azaleas bring new meaning to the term “spring spectacular.” After that, they still look attractive with glossy, dark green foliage. Some even turn color in fall.

azaleas under tree

Seasonal Color

In garden beds, azaleas can be chameleons. They’re a natural focal point when in bloom. Afterward, they are easygoing companions for other plants, requiring little more than moist organic soil and some protection from the hot afternoon sun.

group of potted azaleas

Portable Color

In pots, azaleas offer portable spring color wherever a seasonal pick-me-up is needed. When flowers are spent, remove the dead blooms and use the shrubs as a backdrop for annuals. Or try a reblooming variety such as Bloom-A-Thon (see “10 Azaleas You Should Meet”).

pot and vase of azaleas by white chair

Flower Arrangements

In bouquets, azalea blooms add a vibrant note to both indoor and outdoor table settings. A single-color arrangement works nicely, but you can create an alluring mosaic with multicolor clusters.

azalea by steps

Easy-Care Landscape Plants

Azaleas are easy to grow. Place them in an area with good drainage and either dappled or partial shade. Mulch with shredded oak leaves or pine needles, and fertilize with a granular slow-release fertilizer in spring. Keep the plants well watered if rain is scarce.

10 Azaleas You Should Meet