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The Complete Guide To Growing Azaleas
Azaleas may well be the perfect landscape plant. Their evergreen foliage is useful for any number of applications from foundation plantings to natural settings. Plant them in drifts to fill large spaces or individually for a pop of color. Choose from shade tolerant or sun loving varieties.
Red Blooming Topiary Azalea is a special treat for any flower lover. Gift wrapped and full of blooms, it makes a gorgeous presentation that may be kept indoors or out. If planted outdoors, a filtered sun location is ideal.
Encore Azaleas are the most popular line of repeat blooming azaleas. These beauties show their true colors from spring through fall. Encores are great for sunny or filtered sun locations.
Delaware Valley White is a traditional spring blooming azalea, with superior cold tolerance. The large snow-white blooms show late each spring for several weeks. Plant in filtered sun or shade.
Choosing Azaleas For Your Landscape
In the north or the south, hardiness may be the best starting point for choosing azaleas. The red blooming topiary, though considered a gift, makes a nice patio container plant that may be left outdoors year round in zones 8 and warmer. Encore azaleas are hardy in zones 6-10, and offer the choice of red, purple, white, salmon or pink blooms. Delaware Valley White is the cold hardiest of the bunch, withstanding zone 5 winters and summers through zone 8.
Another point to consider is bloom color. Some azaleas have strong flower colors and others are fairly neutral. A good strategy here is to blend with the neutrals if you already have lots of strong colors in your landscape; or to accent with the stronger colors if you need to add a little zing. Mixing multiple colors can work very well also.
How To Plant Azaleas
Azaleas require slightly acidic, moist, well drained soil to thrive. Dig a wide, shallow hole and plant the azalea with the top of its root ball slightly above the surrounding grade. Backfill the hole with a mixture of native soil and organic planting mix. Firm the soil around the roots and water well. Finally, apply a two to three inch layer of mulch. Do not fertilize at the time of planting; instead, wait four to six weeks and then apply a granular fertilizer for acid loving plants.
Azaleas require little pruning, as they generally keep a nicely rounded shape naturally. If needed, lightly prune to shape after the spring flowers have finished. Damaged branches may be removed at any time.
Using Azaleas In The Landscape
As foundation plants, azaleas are most effective near entries and walkways where they may be appreciated for both appearance and fragrance when they are in bloom. In shrub borders or natural areas, drifts of individual varieties work very nicely. The most effective ways to add multiple colors include layering groupings of individual colors, and separating the colors into different views throughout the landscape.