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AZALEA - DECIDUOUS
A botanical section within the genus Rhododendron.
They have smaller, thinner leaves than evergreen rhododendrons and are generally medium-sized shrubs with smaller flowers that usually have 5 stamens whereas rhododendrons have 10.
Further divided into subgroups they commonly bear a profusion of small to large trusses of funnel-shaped flowers, some pleasantly scented. Most provide foliage colour in reds, oranges and yellows before leaf-fall and they can be pruned to keep them in check.
Contains R. luteum, still known by the old name Azalea ponticum, possibly the most wonderfully scented of all but invasive and should be confined within the garden boundary.
Good to know - although prone to many pests/diseases, generally trouble free when grown well. Within the Rhododendron family. Shallow planting is essential as all are surface rooting. Mulch annually with leaf mould.
Pests & Diseases - vine weevil, rhododendron and azalea whiteflies, leafhoppers, lacebugs, scale insects, caterpillars, aphids, powdery mildew, bud blast, honey fungus, rust, leaf gall, petal blight, silver leaf, phytophthora root rot, lime-induced chlorosis (if soil is not sufficiently acid).
Place of Origin - mainly hybrids with complex origins in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, particularly south western China, Tibet, Burma, northern India, New Guinea.
Medium shrub - Typically grow to around 4-6 feet in height
Acid loving - pH 4.5-5.5 is the ideal.
Fertile moist well-drained soil - leafy, humus-rich.
Partial shade - will tolerate more open conditions if sheltered from cold, dry winds.