In Bloom: Azaleas

Azaleas perform a disappearing act for much of the year, fading into the background as shapely, leafy shrubs that serve as a standalone green feature or act as a foil for other, later blooming flowering shrubs. But when they have their moment? Wowza! Covered from top to bottom in masses of ruffly blooms in brilliant shades of red, pink, purple, orange, and clean, pure white.

Right now, in late winter, when they’re budding-up, is the time to buy azaleas. This helps guarantee you get the exact color you want, and in the quantity you need. Azaleas have the most dramatic impact when they’re massed in a single hue for sweeps of color.

Here are a few we love chosen for a useful feature. (You can view the entire collection here.) If you need recommendations for your particular zone or garden style, please leave a note in the comments section.

(The one above has you feeling the love? It’s Red Ruffles Azalea, an evergreen, spring bloomer.)

Autumn Moon Azalea

What: Huge white blooms bordered in deep, rich purple; compact size, ideal for low hedge. Zone: 7 – 9

When:  Spring

Best Feature: Handles a little more sun than most azaleas.

Girard’s Rose Azalea

What: Profuse single, deep rose-red blooms; beautiful massed in shady spot or along walkway. Zone: 6 – 9

When: Mid-spring

Best Feature: Thrives in colder climates!

Golden Flare Azalea

What: Loads of vivid yellow single blooms with a reddish-orange blotch. Underplant with purple violas! Zone: 5 – 9

When: Late spring

Best Feature: Extremely hardy.

Kimono™ May Snow Azalea

What: Petite and compact; ideal for pots or surprising groundcover. Zone: 6 – 9

When: Late spring to early summer.

Best Feature: Dwarf size and late bloom.

Red Sunset Azalea

What: Excellent where you need a tall, mounding shrub with a bolt of fiery color such as a foundation. Zone: 5 – 8

When: Late spring

Best Feature: Long bloom season.

Bloom-A-Thon® Pink Double Reblooming Azalea

What: Large, double pink flowers; sized for large pots.

When: April, July to hard frost

Best Feature: Blooms twice a year!

Keeping Azaleas Happy:

  • Not all azaleas are low-growing shrubs.They can range in size from about 2 ft. tall container cuties to 10 ft. tall border-fillers. Consider mature size when selecting.
  • Azaleas prefer morning light or dappled shade (where there is a mixture of sun and shade, generally because a deciduous tree is nearby) and do poorly in full, hot sun.
  • Provide rich, acidic, well-drained soil.
  • Keep roots cool with a layer of mulch.
  • Feed with an acid fertilizer after bloom.
  • Prune in spring after flowering.
  • (Much more info here.)

What Grows with Azaleas?  

Let’s make a bed!  Here are plants that pair-up perfectly with azaleas.

  • Japanese Maple
  • Gardenia
  • Bush Lily (Clivia)
  • Hydrangea
  • Camellia
  • Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia)

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