All About Azaleas
There’s no plant more iconic in the springtime than azaleas. Their bright, colorful blooms are exactly what we need to welcome the warm weather after a dreary winter.
You may hear the terms native and evergreen thrown around when talking about azaleas. Native azaleas originated in the United States, while most evergreen azaleas generally have ties to Asia.
Native azaleas are commonly found in many Mississippi landscapes. When in bloom, they almost resemble honeysuckle and look like small trees instead of shrubs. All native azaleas are deciduous, meaning they are often out of sight, out of mind until they bloom because they lose their leaves in the winter. Native plants are great to have around the house because they often do not require watering, fertilization, or maintenance. They grow naturally in the region and adapt well to the overall climate and soil conditions.
Many Mississippians have evergreen azaleas planted in their landscape. Most are native to Asia and are a true showstopper with their bountiful, colorful blooms. Evergreens keep their green leaves intact year-round. Varieties such as Southern indica, Kurume, Satsuki, and Glenn Dale are all great selections that will grow beautifully in your landscape. You’ll find azaleas in your local garden center potted in containers. Always be sure to inspect the roots before purchasing a container-grown azalea to make sure the plant isn’t root-bound.
Where to Plant Azaleas
If you want to plant azaleas, its best to plant them in partly shady areas. Consider planting in wooded areas or on the north side of the house. Azaleas need to be planted in well-drained, acidic soil. You can plant them any time of year, but fall and spring are generally best to ensure root establishment.
Extension Publication 3705, “Azaleas for the Landscape,” offers great advice on how to grow and maintain beautiful azalea shrubs. It also provides information on azalea varieties to help you select the perfect azalea for your space.
If you want more information on how to choose plants for your landscape, reach out to your local Extension agent for more resources!
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