Part of the rhododendron family, azaleas bring bright bold colors to gardens during the springtime blooming season. They need rich, well-drained soil with moderate climates, and love humidity. There are several varieties of azaleas under the two basic types: deciduous and evergreen.
Evergreen azaleas grow naturally in Asian countries and bear flowers of about 2 inches across. Evergreen azalea colors include red, pink, orange, white and purple. The plant has two sets of leaves, with one set dropping during the fall and the other in the spring. The type of variety you get depends on the color. For example, The Glen Dale azalea has chartreuse, orange, pink and red colors, while the Indica (or Indian) azalea has white, red and pink colors.
Deciduous azaleas can grow large with large leaves and will grow naturally in North America and Asia. They aren't as common as evergreen azaleas. During the fall season the leaves fall off, but during blooming season in spring the colors range from orange to magenta, yellow and white.
Species and Hybrids
Evergreen and deciduous azaleas are either species azaleas or hybrid azaleas. Species azaleas mean that it was interbred and isolated from other plants during production, whereas hybrid azaleas are a mixture of azaleas and other plant species. Species azaleas grow from seedlings from their parent plants, and hybrid azaleas must be grown from cuttings of a mother plant clone.