If you are looking up Azaleas in your gardening books or perhaps on the internet you may not find any listed unless you look under Rhododendron as this group of plants actually belong to that particular plant genus. As the gardening public and horticulturists have known them as Azaleas for so long that tends to be what they are more commonly called and as we don't wish to add to the confusion we'll stick with Azalea as well.
Azaleas can be either deciduous or evergreen and the two are really very different.
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Evergreen Azaleas are really like very small compact Rhododendrons and enjoy similar growing conditions i.e. rich soil that has an acid ph and perhaps a nice leafy layer of mulch. Most prefer a little afternoon shade but this is not absolutely essential as long as the surface roots don't dry out. There are mainly 2 groups of evergreen Azaleas grown in New Zealand. Azalea indica which has large showy flowers in single or double forms and the brightest of shades. Azalea kurume is not quite as bold and brassy as A. indica and has small rounded leaves and dainty little single blooms. The size of the blooms is more than made up for in quantity. This Azalea is very long flowering and the blooms are produced in absolute profusion. A. Kurume is more cold tolerant as well. Both varieties are invaluable for winter display and mass planting.
If you want something a little more dramatic then it would be worth considering deciduous Azaleas. These come in very hot shades of orange, yellow and gold along with quieter pastels. Many are strongly perfumed. Extremely hardy to cold yet tolerant of quite a lot of sun. Grow them in the same soil conditions as other Rhododendron/Azalea forms, mulch regularly and they will be hapy. The large flowers apear in spring and are simply breath-taking. The new foliage often has an attractive bronze undertone but eventually turns green. In autumn the foliage changes again and provides an excellent colourful display.
So no matter if an Azalea is really a Rhododendron, when the debate about the name ends their beauty will still endure.
A medium ball shaped truss of a soft but rich salmon-apricot orange with deeper salmon markings, usually with a doubled centre. A very popular colour
and a smaller growing compact plant. Prefers part shade or full sun, mulch well. Too much shade will have a detrimental affect on flowering.
Colour: Orange Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 1.2m
Peachy pink buds open to rounded trusses of creamy white flowers with a pink blush around the edges an a yellow flare in the centre. Compact
rounded plant. Prefers part shade or full sun, mulch well. Too much shade will have a detrimental affect on flowering. Deciduous
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Compact rounded Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 1.2m
Beautiful frilled blooms in shades of orange and red will light up the garden in late spring. The blooms are delightfully fragrant and are followed by fresh green summer foliage. Plant in sun or semi-shade in acid soil for best results. Avoid Lime. Deciduous.
Colour: Orange / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.2m
Large, frilly, double pink flowers with a gorgeous perfume will delight you when they emerge in spring. The fresh green summer foliage puts on a spectacular autumn display prior to leaf fall. Easy to grow in sun or part shade and quite hardy. Plant in deep acid soil for best results. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Brighten up your spring garden with the large, bright pink flowers of this lovely deciduous Azalea. Carmine rose pink flowers in masses of loose trusses totally smother the plant. Nice in containers. Deciduous. Plant in slightly acid soil plant. Prefers semi-shade.
Colour: Pink / Orange Habit: Rounded Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.8m
Set the spring garden on fire with the glowing coppery red blooms of this showy deciduous Azalea. The blooms are large, rounded and frilled and carry a delicate scent. Plant in sun or part shade in well drained acid soil. Fresh green summer foliage with autumn tones prior to leaf fall. Deciduous.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Very fragrant and very beautiful soft pink flowers flushed with a deeper pink tone and highlighted with an orange flare. Easily grown in sun to part shade and acid soil. Prune, if required, after flowering in spring. 'Delicatissima' means "most charming" and indeed it is. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink / Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.2m
Set your early spring garden alight with this gorgeous deciduous Azalea. The spring blooms are a delicious deep red and carry a nice light perfume. Compact habit with bronze-green summer foliage with autumn tones of scarlet and orange prior to leaf fall. Plant in acid soil for best results. Deciduous
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.2m
In early spring this deciduous Azalea really shows off with sumptuous balls of pure white flowers highlighted with a yellow flare. Quite hardy but prefers a sheltered position in sun or part shade and deep acid soil to do well.
Colour: White / Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.2m
Fragrant and exceptionally hardy providing a massive display of brilliant, golden yellow single blooms with salmon pink highlights in late spring after opening from red-orange buds. Lush, bright green foliage, excellent for massing in shrub borders and perennial beds, or as a vibrant flowering foundation plant. Deciduous.
Colour: Yellow / Orange Habit: Mounding Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.6m x 1.6m