Azalea shrubs like rhododendrons are an dazzling show of colours in the spring. They exude vibrant, electrifying burst into a new season with a win for colour presentation. They are not afraid to come out running letting you know that the seasonal changes are happening.
- Azaleas are in the genus of rhododendron and are either species or hybrids. Hybrids are crosses between other species, and will not grow from true from seed. Azaleas have been hybridized for many years and over 10,000 azalea plants have been named.
- The majority of the azaleas originating from North America are deciduous (drop their leaves in the fall) with flower colours ranging from white to purple, pink, red, orange and yellow. Evergreen azaleas are primarily Japanese and their flowers range from white to various shades of purple, pink, red and reddish orange, but not yellow. Azaleas, unlike rhododendrons colours include single colours and bicolour as well as stripes and flecks.
Azalea flower types also differ from rhododendron ranging from single, (5 petals) hose in hose (10-12 petals), double (variable amount of petals) and double hose in hose (30 or more petals). Different varieties will also have different petal shapes extending from narrow petals through triangular petals, overlapping petals rounded petals. Petal edges may differ as well, from flat, recurved, wavy or ruffled.
- Other different characteristics of azaleas is the length of the leaves which can range from as little as ¼ inch to more than 6 inches. Deciduous azaleas will have large leaves, while evergreen azalea leaves are less likely to be less than 1-2 inches. Leaves of the majority of azaleas are dark green.
- Azaleas will also have different range of growing habits, from stiffy upright to broad spreading, to irregular. Plant height is about 3-6ft for many of the azalea varieties, and some will be under a foot, all the way up to 15ft for others.
Most azaleas will bloom from mid-April to mid-May depending on location. Blooms will typically last for about one or two weeks, and if the weather is unseasonably warm, the blooms may last into fall.