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 (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.
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.
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.
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”).
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.
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
The shell-pink flowers are abundant and stand out against the dark green foliage. Grows 2-4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Deep rose-pink flowers have a slightly ruffled appearance. Grows 4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Shell-pink blooms resemble the shape of a classic rose. Grows 2-4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
The crimson flowers have deeper red throats. Grows 2-4 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
The lavender flowers are showstoppers in spring. Foliage turns a mix of orange, red, and burgundy in late fall. Grows 3-4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
This series of cold-tolerant azaleas includes shrubs with orange (shown), pink, red, white, or yellow flowers in midspring. Grows 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 3–7.
Bright white flowers pop against this azalea’s dark-green foliage. Grows 2-3 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Available with lavender, red, white, and pink blooms, Bloom-A-Thon is a reblooming azalea. Enjoy the large flowers in early spring, then watch new ones appear in midsummer through the fall. Grows 4-5 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
‘Girard’s Renee Michelle’
Appearing in late spring, the large, ruffled pink flowers have a deep-pink spotted throat. Grows 2-3 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
‘Girard’s Hot Shot’
Covered in orange-red blooms, this early bloomer also boasts burgundy to red fall color. Grows 2-3 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.