Ideas for Azaleas

Hobbyists and professional landscapers know azaleas as flowering shrubs that do well in shady spots and prominently display their blooms in springtime. Their sizes vary greatly; some specimens only measure as tall as 12 inches and may be used for ground cover, while other cultivars can grow to a height of 12 feet and above. Due to azaleas' toxicity, they are not recommended around children's play equipment or near areas where livestock animals may forage. Of course, there are a number of other ideas for azaleas that allow you to incorporate them in your landscape.

Containers

Consider planting the Autumn Twist Encore Azalea (Rhododendron 'Conlep') in containers surrounding your patio. These plants thrive in well drained soil and grow to a height of about 4.5 feet with a spread of four feet across. Whitish-purple blooms measure approximately three inches in diameter. This azalea prefers full sun but does well in light shade and attracts butterflies to the patio garden.

Raised Flower Beds

Homeowners looking for attractive occupants for their raised flower beds should look to the Coral Bell Azalea (Rhododendron 'Coral Bell'). This evergreen azalea grows to a height and width of six feet and produces pink blooms in March. The plants require an acidic soil pH of 5.5 and cannot do well unless the drainage of the raised flower beds is excellent.

Spring Eye Catchers

Plant the Flame Azalea (Rhododendron Austrinum) in a sandy soil flowerbed with summer and fall blooming flora. Its brick and gold colored blooms show between March and April and present a point of interest in an otherwise predominantly green landscape. This azalea is native to Florida, where it grows along river terraces. It can grow to a height of about 12 feet; keep this in mind looking for a flowerbed where it will complement differently sized flora.

Hedges

Gardeners living in planting zones four to nine may look to the Poukhanense Azalea (Rhododendron Yedoense 'Poukhanense') that is also known as Korean Azalea as a hedge shrub. It does best in partial to full shade and blooms between April and May with purplish flowers. Since it grows to a height of three to six feet---but spreads to about six to 12 feet---it is an ideal choice for smaller to midsized hedges. An added benefit is its evergreen appearance in zones with milder winters. That being said, in fall the plant foliage changes colors and turns your hedge into a color mix of orange and red, which heightens the visual appeal of the area.

Keywords: Azalea, blooms, plants

About this Author

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.