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Keep Your Azalea Garden Blooming for 8 Months


As a plant lover with 15 beautiful acres in the woods, I have come to appreciate the challenges of landscaping in the shade. Over my 40 year lifetime, my passion for plants and awareness of their behaviors in different conditions has taught me that there are hundreds of possibilities for landscaping in the shade, where most think it is so difficult.


Azaleas are just 1 type of shade loving plant that can literally put on the most brilliant show for a large majority of the year when done properly. Here in the south, azaleas need partial shade to protect them from extreme temperatures but grow well where there is full shade. The opposite is true in the North, as azaleas can handle full sun better than full shade.


The four most common types of azaleas, when planted and maintained properly, can keep your garden exploding with color for 8 months of the year. These 4 types include Kurume, Indica, Satsuki and Encore azaleas. Let’s discuss each type.



Kurume Azaleas


Kurume azaleas are usually the first azaleas to bloom in the late winter to early spring. These plants typically grow 3 to 4 feet tall with some exceptions. They usually display their stunning flower show on March 1st here in Georgia and continue into April. Some popular cultivars of Kurume azaleas include Snow (white), Coral Bells (pinkish coral), Tradition (pink) and Hinodegiri (red). These azaleas are considered early bloomers and flowers often cover the entire bush, making it nearly impossible to see the leaves. This amazing plant is hardy in zones 6 to 9.


Hinodegiri azalea


H.H. Hume azalea


Coral Bells azalea


Hino Crimson azalea


Tradition azalea



Snow azalea


Indica azaleas


Also called Southern Indian azaleas, these beauties grow up to 8 feet tall and do it quicker than most other azaleas. This plant was designed to flourish in the south and is not hardy much further north than Georgia.  Indicas often have larger, lighter green leaves and bloom in March into April. Some popular cultivars include Mrs. G.G. Gerbing (white), Formosa (deep magenta-purple), George L. Taber (light pink). This azalea is considered a mid-bloomer and need plenty of room to grow in the filtered sun and acidic soil. Most varieties are hardy from zones 7 to 11.



Formosa azalea


Happy Days azalea


Mrs. G.G. Gerbing azalea


George L. Taber azalea


Judge Solomon azalea


Pride of Mobile azalea


Southern Charm azalea


Satsuki azaleas


As most azaleas come from Japan and surrounding areas, it would make sense that Satsuki in Japanese means “fifth month” on the Japanese lunar calendar. Satsuki azaleas bloom in May, June and into July, once other azaleas have stopped blooming. Satsuki is a popular bonsai plant in japan partially due to its multiple color combinations on the same plant, its slower growth rate and the fact that the Satsuki’s flowers can be from 1 to 5 inches wide. Some popular cultivars include Wakaebisu (pink), Gumpo white and Gumpo pink. Satsuki’s and other azaleas require some winter chilling temperatures in order to bloom in the spring. Satsuki’s are hardy in zones 7 through 9 and prefer the shelter of shade due to the demands put on the plant to bloom closer to summer. This plant is considered a late bloomer.



Pink Gumpo azalea


White Gumpo azalea




Encore azaleas


Encore azaleas are what keeps the party going. This variety is much younger than the others and its ability to withstand full sun as well as its multiple bloom times makes it a must have when it comes to your landscape and azalea garden. With 30 varieties to choose from, there is certainly the color that you are looking for. Although these amazing plants can take full sun, filtered sun and afternoon shade is optimal. Encore azaleas bloom first in April and May but unlike others, they bloom back out in August and continue blooming through october.


Because of its brilliance in autumn, the name of each Encore starts with “Autumn”. If you are looking for a stunning pink variety for your garden, you are in luck, with 13 choices to choose from. There are also purples, reds, whites and multiple colored to choose from. An azalea garden without these beauties is simply a 4 month Azalea garden. Keep the party going twice as long by incorporating these beauties among the others.


Autumn Sunset Encore azalea



Autumn Royalty Encore azalea



Autumn Coral Encore azalea



Autumn Moonlight Encore Azalea



Autumn Fire Encore azalea

Encore Azalea 3 Gal. Autumn Fire


Choosing the proper sight for your Azalea garden is important. Azaleas are not only shade lovers but they are also acidic soil loving as well. Filtered sun beneath a thicket of pine trees is an ideal setting for your garden. Pine trees are known for creating very acidic soil with its pine needles and sap. Azaleas prefer an acidic soil that ranges from 4.5 to 6. Perhaps you have a dense canopy of hardwoods that will not allow anything to grow. That too is a fine place to grow azaleas. They handle the shade better than most other plants and they can fight for nutrients like a heavy-weight champ against the massive, fibrous roots of the mighty oak tree. There are also some great fertilizers for azaleas specifically that will help acidify the soil.


 Vigoro 3.5 lb. Azalea Camellia and Rhododendron Plant Food




Other Related Articles:


Boston Plant of the Week: The Azalea


Pruning Azaleas: Advise From a Garden Expert


Encore Azalea


Indica Azalea


11 Shade Loving Shrubs

When to Fertilize Azaleas


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Posted 2016-03-24T12:47:10+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL