Because the azalea shrub is in the same genus as the rhododendron, they are often confused. However, a quick inspection of the leaves will help you to tell them apart. Generally, the leaves of the azalea are thinner and more pointed than the rhododendron and they have long, straight hairs on the back sides of the leaves. However, once you’ve discovered the azalea shrub, you’ll find yourself completely dedicated to this beautiful blooming plant.
There are many different varieties of the azalea shrub and you’ll find they are easy to tell apart by the colors of their flowers. For example, the evergreen variety will have flowers of white, purple and red and once in awhile you will be able to find them with orange colored flowers. The deciduous azaleas, or those that lose their leaves in the cold season, will product flowers of white and pink to yellow, orange and red. Therefore, you can tell the variety by whether they shed their leaves and also by what color the flowers are. You will find, however, that certain varieties will also produce a flower of bicolor, meaning the flower will have two different colors on it and perhaps even in a pattern.
You will find that the blooming time for the azalea shrub will vary for each type. Some bloom as early as March and others bloom from June until September. Each variety seems to have a different time and, of course, the weather is also a factor. If you are lucky and live in the warm south, you may find that your azalea shrub will bloom twice each season. Most varieties will bloom and their flowers will last a couple of weeks before shedding.
If you find that you do not have a lot of flowers on your azalea shrub, you will want to research to figure out why as most will produce a huge number of flowers. You will find that the buds for the next season bloom form just a short time after their blooming period. If you prune after these buds appear, you’ll find yourself shortchanged of flowers during the next season. You’ll also find that a freeze may kill buds or if they did not get enough water during the summer, it may reduce the number of buds you get on your azalea shrub. Make certain your azalea is taken care of and you’ll find the flowers to be abundant.
Many people tend to plant several azaleas in their yards as they are a beautiful plant and do well either alone or together in a hedge-like area. The fact is the azalea shrub is very easy to maintain and you’ll find yourself enjoying the beauty it brings to your landscape. Simply make sure the soil is fertile enough for your plant, make sure it gets enough water during the hot spring and summer months, and choose the azalea shrub variety that will thrive in your zone and you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful plant for many years to come.