Plants of the Month – Azaleas
Azaleas are just coming into bloom and now is a great time to pick your favorite color and plant it!
Formosa azaleas are the best performers with large flowers that bloom in masses for the next 4-6weeks. Colors range from GG Gerbing white, George Tabor light pink with a dark pink throat, Red Formosa wine red, Southern Charm pink-purple and the favorite, Lavender Formosa with hot fuchsia-purple flowers. We also have Prize, a bright deep pink, and Pink Ruffles that blooms in heavy medium pink flower clusters. Semi-dwarfs like Fashion, Vivid, and Red Ruffles are smaller growing azaleas.
The azalea per se is hard to describe, as it may be a tiny 8″ spreading groundcover, or a 20′ shrub. There are, in fact, more than 3000 different species, hybrids and cultivars of Rhododendron grown in the U.S. alone. In any case, the azaleas are woody stemmed shrubs, prized for their characteristic, usually prolific, often fragrant, trumpet shaped flowers. These may be only 1/2″, or more than 4″ across. They come usually in shades of pink, white, purple, orange and red, and may be freckled, variegated, single or double. Many azalea varieties cultivated for landscape use are evergreen, but there are plenty of deciduous ones too. Azaleas are rhododendrons, but all rhododendrons are not azaleas. The common names are often interchanged, but some would restrict “azalea” to those species whose flowers have 5 stamens and use “rhododendron” for the species with 10 or more stamens. Most gardeners use “azalea” for those plants with deciduous leaves and funnel shaped flowers, and “rhododendron” for those with evergreen foliage and larger, bell shaped flowers. Needless to say, the distinctions are not always reliable.
Learn more about the different varieties by clicking on the links below!
- Vivi Red
- George L. Taber
- Duc de Rhon
- Duchess of Cypress
- Red Ruffle
- Little John
- Mrs. G. G. Gerbing