Developed and released by the University of Minnesota, the Lights Series of hardy, deciduous azaleas are excellent choices for Iowa landscapes. In 2005, the University of Minnesota released 2 new cultivars in this series.
Candy Lights™ is a new pink flowering cultivar. 'Pink Lights,' a 1984 release, was difficult to propagate and not widely sold. Candy Lights™ grows 5 to 6 feet tall and has a similar spread. Plants bloom in May. Flowers are clear light pink with pale yellow streaks on the upper corolla lobe. The flowers are strongly fragrant. Foliage is medium to dark green.
Lilac Lights™ is an improved version of 'Orchid Lights.' Lilac Lights™ grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. Flowers appear in May and are pinkish purple with darker speckles on the upper corolla lobes. The flowers are not fragrant. Foliage is medium green.
These new additions to the Lights Series of azaleas should be showing up in garden centers and nurseries in 2006. Information on selecting, planting, and caring for rhododendrons and azaleas can be found in RG 704: Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas in Iowa.