Driving through the neighborhood from winter to spring, you may have noticed the blaze of glorious flowers in rich pink, white, purple or red! Azaleas are hard to beat when it comes to converting barren ground into a mass of blooms. And if you set them in the right conditions, they require little ongoing care. Got a little time? They look wonderful as low hedges – in Japanese gardens they are often pruned into perfectly rounded buns.
Azaleas belong to the rhododendron family but they are relatively small in size compared to other tree-like members of the genus. Grown in a temperate climate, azaleas tend to bloom from late winter to spring but are also suited to sub-tropical regions.
There are both deciduous and evergreen varieties though deciduous forms will often flower successfully in cold climate zones. The foliage of azaleas is thick and leathery in appearance, often deep green in colour and extremely luscious.
- It’s especially important to choose the right location to plant. They thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5–6.0 and most prefer some filtered shade overhear, under trees is ideal.
- Azaleas have a shallow root system and require loose, well-aerated soil with plenty of humus to retain moisture.