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Azara - Growing Guide
Azara are tall growing (10-15ft) evergreen shrubs coming mainly from Chile and Argentina which are grown for their fragrant, petalless flowers which create an impressive display. A. microphylla particularly has vanilla scented flowers which can readily be enjoyed 20 to 30 yards away from the bush itself. In the wild or in milder Cornish climates A. microphylla and A. lanceolata can readily develop into small trees and both A. dentata and A. serrata can be used to create an unusual hedge in a sheltered position.
A. dentata has an arching habit and toothed dark green leaves 1.5in in length. The fragrant flowers appear in late spring in clusters of dark yellow corymbs.
A. microphylla has a more upright habit and smaller leaves. It flowers from January through to March which is a major attribute. Its flower clusters are small and acacia like. The variegated form of A. integrifolia has attractive white variegated leaves.
A. lanceolata, as its name implies, has narrow bright green leaves and small fragrant, mustard yellow flowers in April or May.
A. serrata has leaves quite similar to A. lanceolata but they are more ovate and serrated. The flowers consist of globular clusters and appear in May to June from the old wood.
A. uruguayensis has oblong entire leaves 2-3in long and bronzy when young. The flowers appear in drooping spikes from the leaf axils in March to April.
Azara require a moist humus rich soil and seem to do best with us in dappled shade in a woodland context. In colder areas they make attractive wall shrubs set against a warm wall. In colder winters they can sometimes lose quite a lot of leaves but still grow on perfectly well next season after the upset.
They do flower well as small plants in pots but are really too tall growing to keep indoors in a greenhouse for long.
Propagation is best from semi-ripe cuttings in the summer.