The azalea is a large shrub that thrives in shady locations and the acidic soils usually found in the eastern and southern US. Azaleas produce colorful blooms in early spring before other plants show their leaves. To make a dramatic statement in the garden, plant shrubs and small trees that prefer the same growing conditions and bloom at the same time.
The camellia is a slow growing evergreen shrub that blooms during the winter before the azalea blooms appear. However, the dark green foliage creates a nice backdrop for the colorful azalea bushes when they bloom in the spring. Camellias allow you to create a colorful display in the winter that continues through early spring when the azaleas bloom.
Hydrangeas give you the ability to extend the flower display under deciduous shade trees through early summer because they produce big and colorful pink, white, or blue flowers long after the azalea blooms have faded.
The star magnolia is a small magnolia that loses its leaves in the winter and grows to 15 feet. Large colorful pink or white blooms appear in early spring before the leaves are produced. A star magnolia located around the early blooming azalea plants creates a stunning display in the spring garden. The star magnolia helps shade the azaleas during the hottest part of the summer.
Dogwood trees grow to 25 feet and provide the classic southern woodland show when they bloom in spring along with the azaleas. They provide much needed shade to the azalea bushes in the summer. Dogwoods also have colorful foliage in the fall and are attractive to wildlife.
Eastern Redbud Tree
Eastern redbud trees prefer the same acidic soil as azaleas. They grow to 25 feet and shade the azaleas in the summer with broad heart-shaped leaves. They produce large amounts of pink or magenta flowers along the bare stems in the spring when the azaleas are blooming. For colorful foliage try the "Forest Pansy" variety.