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With an abundance of bright blooms in spring, azalea is a spectacular shrub for shady areas that need to increase their color quotient.

azalea flowering shrubs

Azaleas have a lot going for them. Bold clusters of trumpet-shape flowers cover the plants in spring—and some cultivars follow that up with colorful fall foliage color as well. Their glossy leaves and usually compact shape make them a welcome addition to the garden in other seasons as well. There are many species and hybrids of azalea. With a range of colors and sizes, azaleas can be used in many ways, from containers and foundation plantings to shrub borders and woodland gardens.

Although classified as rhododendrons, azaleas usually have smaller, narrower, and more flexible leaves than rhododendrons. Also, the flowers are borne along the sides and tips of stems, while rhododendron flowers are in large clusters at the tops of branches.

Good companions include: dogwood, rhododendron, camellia, hosta, ferns, epimedium, holly, mountain laurel.

Azaleas in bloom

Plant Type: Shrub

Zones: 5–9

Height: 2–10 ft

Width: 2–10 ft

Light Exposure: Partial Sun, Full Shade

Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow

Bloom Time: Early Spring, Mid Spring, Late Spring

Foilage Color: Green

Special Features: Attracts Butterflies, Fragrant Flowers, Low Maintenance

Uses: Container Plant, Cut Flowers, Screen/Privacy, Foundation Plant, Informal Hedge


Growing Azaleas

Azaleas prefer more sun in the North and more shade in the South. A good situation in either case is dappled shade throughout the day or morning sun with afternoon shade. Ample moisture and good drainage are essential. A slightly acidic pH is preferred. Keep the shallow roots protected from drying out with a layer of mulch, preferably leaf litter, compost, pine chips, or pine straw. Shelter from wind, which can desiccate leaves. Plant multiple cultivars to extend the bloom season.


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