The name azalea, which is not a technical term, refers to those popular shrubs that are part of the enormous Rhododendron genus. They generally have smaller, less leathery leaves than other rhododendron and have flowers spread evenly all over the bush, rather than in trusses. Sizes range from under a foot to six or more feet tall. Flowers bloom in spring in jewel colors of pink, red, rose, purple, magenta, and white. Some types are deciduous, some evergreen.
How to grow: Plant azaleas in rich, well-drained, highly acidic soil in full sun or partial shade. Blooming will be more generous in sun. Prune for shape after flowers have finished blooming. Remove seedpods to direct energy back to the plant and away from seed formation.
Uses: Used mainly in shrub borders and as foundation plantings, azaleas also make good potted plants.
Related varieties: Azaleas come in a great variety of sizes, shapes, and levels of hardiness. Check local suppliers for types that do well in your region.
Scientific name: Rhododendron species
If you love the azalea's even spread of flowers but don't have an outdoor garden, consider growing it as a house plant. We'll show you how in the next section.
Want more information? Try these:
- Landscape Shrubs: Define your space and showcase your favorite plants with these versatile shrubs. They're organized by type and season.
- Evergreen Shrubs: As the name suggests, these plants stay green all year long, which can brighten many a winter garden, especially in northern climates.
- Types of Shrubs: Shrubs help to create lines and boundaries in your garden, and provide both privacy and protection. Review all your shrub options here.