Encyclopedia Article

Azalea (Rhododendron schlippenbachii)


Azaleas are all included in the genus Rhododendron.  There are no clear cut lines for distinguishing all Azaleas from all Rhododendrons, but there are some distinctions.  True Rhododendrons are evergreen, but Azaleas are generally deciduous.  Rhododendrons have 10 or more stamens and leaves that are scaly or have small dots on their undersurface, but Azaleas have 5 stamens and no scales or dots on their leaves.  Rhododendron flowers are funnel-form, while Azalea flowers are more bell-shaped.  There are over 900 species within Rhododendron, and an infinite number of cultivars due to the ability of the species to freely hybridize.

Hardiness- Zone 4 to 6.  Does best in colder climates

Growth Rate- slow

Mature shape-  Upright, rounded, deciduous shrub

Height-  6 to 8 feet

Width- 6 to 8 feet

Site Requirements- Seems to do better on high pH soils

Features- One of the finest Azaleas, with pale to rose-pink flowers that open just as the leaves are expanding.  Great for northern gardens. Bloom in early to mid-May.