Azalea is a shrub from the genus of Rhododendron, which is part of the Ericaceae family of plants. It blooms in spring-like Rhododendrons but usually a bit later. Unlike Rhododendrons, the flowers are single rather than in clumps and they last a long time. Azalea is shade tolerant and thrives planted under shades of trees or other plants.
Azaleas have been cultivated for hundreds of years and there are numerous cultivars probably over 10,000. Azaleas are slow-growing plants. Azalea is native to Asia, Europe, and North America.
There are both deciduous and evergreen Azaleas. Evergreen variety is the Japanese variety, Tsutsuji, which grows to about 30″ tall. The deciduous variety, Penthantera can grow to almost 10′.
How to grow Azaleas:
Grow Azaleas in the shade or partial shade but not in dry shades of trees. Full sun can burn the leaves. Grow them in rich and fertile soil that is acidic and well-drained. Though you can propagate them through seeds, the best way is to do cuttings. Azalea does benefit from fertilizers during the growing season, especially if the soil is low on nitrogen.
Azaleas are generally disease-free and pest-free. Watch out for lace bugs, spider mites, leaf spots, petal blight, or root rot. Trim Azaleas after flowering to shape them and make them bushier.
Azaleas are toxic. Both leaves and the nectar contain adromedotoxins. In Turkey, they make honey called Mad Honey. It is made by exposing bees to Azalea flowers. It is a mind-altering food product.