Azaleas are part of the rhododendron group. Although there are deciduous azaleas that are popular in cold climate gardens, the azaleas seen in temperate and subtropical gardens are evergreen shrubs grown for their beautiful flowers, which are pink, red, purple, white, apricot or bicolour and may be single, ruffled or double. Azaleas flower in late winter to early spring and may spot flower in autumn and early winter.
Azaleas are grown as a flowering shrub for their massed displays of early spring flowers. They can also be grown as an evergreen hedge, potted plant, or as topiary specimens.
Large evergreen azaleas are often referred to as indica hybrids. There are also small-flowered kurume hybrids that are good garden or potted azaleas.
Aspect Azaleas need a lightly shaded to sunny location. Ideally, they prefer morning sun with afternoon shade, especially in hot climates and will grow under the dappled shade of trees.
Soil Azaleas grow best in a slightly acid soil pH (around 5.5-6) that is ideally deep and moisture retentive. To improve the soil before planting add home-made compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost. In areas with alkaline soil, grow azaleas in large containers with a premium potting such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix.
Climate Although most evergreen azaleas are temperate plants, they grow in all climates. In cold areas, they need protection from cold winds, frosts and snow and are best in full sun. Frosts can damage flowers.