Native azaleas are some of the most spectacular native plants, yet seldom seen in gardens. Some sources say that these azaleas and their precursors have been around for 50 million years, slowly evolving and adapting to their local habitats. It’s never too late to add one to your garden.
When planning for these shrubs, toss out your ‘standard’ azalea image of a low, mounding, evergreen foundation plant. Native azaleas are flowering shrubs that can reach airy heights of 6’-8’. They can be used in hedgerows or shrub borders, as the background to a perennial garden, or as a specimen plant.
Native azaleas are woodland plants, and do well in light or dappled shade, plentiful moisture with good drainage, and humus-rich acidic soil. The swamp azalea can be planted in moist to wet areas, and tolerates extreme cold well. Azaleas do not need pruning (except for broken branches) and are moderately slow growers. Avoid clay soils for all but the swamp azalea.
Their blooms vary from whites to pinks to orange; some bloom early spring while others bloom in summer. Some are quite fragrant. Their flowers are tubular and showy with flaring petals and long stamens. The native azaleas have exceptional fall color before their leaves drop for the winter. Some bloom before the leaves re-emerge, and stand out brightly against the backdrop of a landscape slowly waking up from winter.
Plant several kinds of azaleas for a season long display of blooms and color through the fall. Never collect plants from the wild. Always buy nursery propagated plants.
Please note we do not have all species at all times. Start small for best success and adaptation to your soil. We do NOT have R. vaseyi.
Sweet Azalea (R. arborescens): Blooms white June into Early July. Fragrant clove –like scent. Fall color orange to crimson.