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AZALEA - EVERGREEN
A botanical section within the genus Rhododendron.
Further divided into subgroups they commonly bear a profusion of small to large trusses of small single, semi-double or frilled, unscented, trumpet-shaped flowers.
Well-grown specimens appear as a solid mound of colour and are breathtaking as massed plantings.
Good to know - although prone to many pests and diseases, when grown well these shrubs are generally trouble-free. The pot azaleas seen at Christmas are Indica hybrids from central and southern China, developed in Belgium. Many evergreen azaleas are particularly effective planted in groups. They are surface-rooting and will not tolerate deep planting.
Pests & Diseases - vine weevil, rhododendron and azalea whiteflies, leafhoppers, lacebugs, scale insects, caterpillars, aphids, powdery mildew, bud blast, honey fungus, rust, leafy gall, petal blight, silver leaf, phytophthora root rot, lime-induced chlorosis(if soil is not sufficiently acid).
Place of Origin - Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, particularly south western China, Tibet, Burma, northern India, New Guinea.
Dwarf shrub - Typically only grows to a maximum of one or two feet in height but there will be some exceptions.
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.
Full sun - shelter from strong early-morning sun.