Growing Azaleas - How to Grow these Hardy Flowering Perennials that last for Years
Easy to grow, beautiful perennial flowers
There's nothing more beautiful in early spring than an azalea bush (or several) so full of flowers that you can barely see the foliage underneath. Unfortunately, they don't do well across the whole United States, but in the warmer, more southern climates, these hearty plants are a staple.
They are surprisingly easy to grow and maintain, and continue to flower brilliantly year after year. While most varieties flower once a year for a few weeks in the spring, there are varieties, Encore in particular, that flower up to 3 times a year, although the strongest blooms still occur in the spring.
The flower colors range from white, multiple shades of pink, and darker varieties that are almost red and purple. The flower shapes also vary. Unlike many other flowering perrenials, the foliage on this beautiful shrub sticks around all year long. The leaves range from a bright, almost lime, green, to a dark burgundy. A solid mass of all the same variety creates a strong backdrop or focal point for a garden. Mixing and matching a variety of styles and colors adds interest and can elongate the flowering season as the different types bloom.
As mentioned above, azaleas don't really need a lot of extra care. They do best protected from harsh afternoon sun. Morning sun and quite a bit of shade help them to fourish. (A row of Hostas in front of the azaleas makes for a beautiful shade garden.) As long as they have several hours of shade, they don't need a lot of water. But they will start to die out if they get too dry. Based on the soil type in your area, an occasional dose of fertilizer may be warranted. Keep stray runners trimmed after the blooms have gone and that's about all the upkeep they will require to present you with years of lovely blooms.