The azalea, a subgenus of the genus Rhododendron, is a flowering shrub that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. With several varieties and a selection of heights, blossom sizes and leaf lengths, then there’s an azalea that fits your landscaping needs. The plants commonly referred to as azalea and rhododendron, though both at the genus Rhododendron, are distinctly different plants. The classification of the azalea may cause some confusion if you aren’t familiar with the size and characteristics of the shrub.
Azalea shrubs can be found in a number of varieties and a range of sizes. The height may reach up to 10 feet or as low as a 12-inch-high ground cover. Environmental conditions like water availability, soil and sunlight nutrition can impact the mature size of azalea shrubs. Seasonal pruning maintains a desirable shrub height and prevents the shrub from overgrowth. According to the Azalea Society of America, the shrubs may develop 2 to 10 inches taller annually. An azalea’s width is similar to its own height.
Azaleas produce funnel-shaped blooms in sizes which depend on the variety. The flowers range in size from 2 to 4 inches long with five stamens on each. Varieties can be found with multilayered petals on open flowers for a complete look or with small, delicate blooms. Tall-growing varieties tend to have larger flowers than shrubs of a compact dimension.
Azalea shrubs have lush leaf growth in a medium-green to dark-green color. Some varieties have variegated leaves with white or yellow stripes. The leaves range in dimension from 1 to 6 inches long, depending on the range. Evergreen varieties often have shorter leaves than those of deciduous varieties. The leaves have a soccer form and may be narrow or broad.
The size of the planting hole leads to the proper increase of this azalea. Azaleas have a shallow root system and a wide spread. Place the shrub in a planting hole that is deep enough so the cover of the root ball is even with the bottom level or just above ground level. When you plant at least two azalea shrubs at the same area, the space between them is a significant consideration. Calculate their planting spaces by adding together the mature spread of this shrubs and dividing this value by the total number of shrubs, to give them room to develop to their entire display.