The Best Azalea Plants for Zone 9

Zone 9 on the USDA hardiness zone map is the area of Florida and southernmost Texas. These areas need very heat tolerant plants and the hardiest of azaleas. Azaleas are a great shrub to accent a yard or lawn with its vibrant colors. The best azalea plants for zone 9 are those that thrive in heat, humidity and full sun.

Florida Flame Azalea

The Florida flame azalea (Rhododendron austrinum) is a fragrant shrub good for shade and for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. It can get 6 to 8 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Flowers are yellow with a red or peach tone, trumpet-shaped, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Oval medium-green leaves are 2 to 5 inches long. The shrub smells like honeysuckle. Flowers come in spring. Grow a Florida flame azalea in part sun or shade with regular watering. Propagate via clump division or by seed.

Pinxter Azalea

The Pinxter azalea or piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is a fragrant shrub good for shady spots, wetlands, and for attracting butterflies. It can get 6 to 15 feet tall and the same in width. Flowers come in spring with fragrant pink flowers 2 to 3 inches long. Leaves are hairy and 1 to 3 inches long. Grow a Pinxter azalea in moist acidic soil in any sun, full sun for a bushier shrub. Propagate via cutting or by clump division

Chapman's Azalea

The Chapman's azalea (Rhododendron chapmanii) is an evergreen shrub. It can get 4 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 10 feet wide. Leaves are leathery, dark green, and 1 to 2 inches long. Flowers come in the spring, are funnel shaped, and are rosy pink. Flowers are in clusters and 2 inches in width. Grow a Chapman's azalea in filtered sunlight in moist acidic soil. Propagate via stem cuttings in spring or summer seed sowing.

Pruneleaf Azalea

The pruneleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) is a deciduous shrub. It will get 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Flowers are funnel shaped, 2 inches long, and in clusters. Colors are typically red, pink, or orange. Leaves are hairless and 2 to 4 inches long. Grow a pruneleaf azalea in moist acidic soil with morning sun and afternoon shade. Propagate via semi-ripe cuttings in fall, and by seed or stem cuttings in spring.

Keywords: heat tolerant plants, hardiest of azaleas, best azalea plants for zone 9

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.